The Quarantine Diaries #39: On having the kids at home

Since my last Quarantine Diary entry, I’ve been rather busy. We’ve moved house as a family and gone through the rigmarole of enrolling the children in their brand new school and nursery. In Slovenia, schools and nurseries re-opened this week for all ages up to third grade. My eldest son was given an extra week off due to the move. Just as we had everything set for them to go back next week, the government announced that schools were closing again due to rising covid infection rates in certain areas. Sounds just about as chaotic as the situation in my native UK.

Homeschooling and family fun and games

When lockdown 3.0 was announced in the UK, many parents went into panic mode, just as I had when lockdown 2.0 was announced in Slovenia. It was interesting to see this happening from my perspective, 12 weeks in to the home-school-work-family-madness routine. Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Some people have high-powered, high-salaried jobs with steep targets and tight deadlines. Other people are writers. Some people are home-makers, others have been forced out of work. We all have difficulties to face. As a writer, my difficulty is often finding 5 minutes’ peace and quiet in which to write. Another difficulty is finding balance.

Striving for balance

There’s rarely a dull moment in our lockdown household. Obviously, the poor kids are not designed to be cooped up in the house 24/7, so when the weather’s bad and we don’t make it out they start to literally climb the walls. Then we have to consider schooling, the respective jobs of the two adults of the house, and the constant flow of dirty dishes, laundry and rubbish. This really got me thinking about our carbon footprint: sometimes we just seem like weapons of massive consumption. I’m working to improve this by reusing and recycling as much as possible, and not buying any crap that I don’t need.

Genuine gratitude

With all the noise and bluster, I often have to shut myself away in a room to write (as I am doing now). But when I do get an hour or two to myself, I am almost deafened by the silence. I miss the children’s laughter. Part of me was dreading their return to school, even though I know it’s best for them. Then I realise what a privilege it is to see them growing up, to share in their lives every single day. When I find myself getting frustrated, I put myself back into my childhood shoes, when everything was new and exciting, and nothing was impossible. I am so grateful to be able to share in that adventure.

I try not to place too many expectations on myself or any other member of the household. We are in an unprecedented situation and there’s no manual to tell us how to make it through. I’m happy to go with the flow, hoping we will all learn something worthwhile along the way. Perhaps we have become so obsessed with our children’s education that we fail to realise what we can also learn from them.

25 thoughts on “The Quarantine Diaries #39: On having the kids at home

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      1. I think if I only had one it would be exactly the same (Benji was an only child for nearly 5 years) as it is, it’s a bit of a madhouse 🤪

  1. Talking about our carvon footprint, I read an idea in Australia, sinply to make bin bags see-trhough. Thw=en we would see exactly what we are throwing away. I think it is a very good idea.

    1. Yes, a little thing like that can make a big difference, just to make us aware of our impact. I’ve really cut down the amount we send to landfill by getting more careful with the recycling.

  2. Such a beautiful way of saying it, Ingrid. The moments are such a privilege to see (speaking as a cat mom or something, my little guy adores me being home nearly 24/7. I think once things settle down, he’ll be having anxiety attacks if I’m not home all the time at this rate lol).

    I find it, though, somewhat humorous that with lockdowns, some families have grown closer while some want to kill each other by now. 😁

    Still, a sucky circumstance all around but it’s the little things that are really the big things in life. ❤️❤️

    1. Sometimes it’s a fine line between the two extremes and you need to learn how to walk it 😅

      I am hoping to become a cat mom again soon…😻

  3. So glad you are getting settled and finding some respite moments amidst the chaos and changes Ingrid and locking your self away for 5 minutes and the hour you deserve at times. It’s such a wonderful time of firsts and it’s precious you love the moments with them. I rememeber when they started all day kindergarden for my last child and I was appalled. I took it to the board with books such as the hurried child etc and I actually won the battle. They gave options. I was the only one that kept mine home as most are ready to hurry theirs out the door. We don’t get time back. When they left for college I cried so but honestly, I’ve never had a true empty nest. Good you are going with the flow and not expecting too much out of all of you. Lovely insights. ❤️🤗

    1. Thanks so much Cindy! I was horrified when they said Ollie would be in nursery until 4:30 every day. No way would I keep him in that long when Benji finishes at
      2pm! Need to have as much little munchkin love as possible while it lasts 😍 I’m pleased your nest isn’t empty and hope your Harry is doing ok xxx

      1. You’re so welcome!!! Oh man tht’s ridiculous and good for you that you stood your ground. Yes, you sure do!! It’s nice now when they come and go.❤️. Harry’s week has been a good one!! 🤗❤️Thanks for asking!

  4. Love that you are finding some balance in your writing and personal live and discovering new perspectives of thought as you go along! Thank you for sharing, Ingrid. 🙂

  5. I agree with your remarks about school. All this obsession about it. If we are literate and expose our children to lots of things and encourage their curiosity–they will be fine, no matter how “good” their school is. On the other hand, they need to get out of the house and be with other children. I admire your ability to find any balance. My girls and I have talked about how we would have managed this situation when they were young. Not well we think. (K)

    1. I try my best but I don’t always succeed! But I think for education to be successful you need to foster a love of learning…I’m trying to do that because some target-driven schools fail at this miserably.

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