“While parents all over social media try to trump each other with the ‘best home-schooling methods’, I’ll stick with what’s within my limits – survival!”

BY KATY ROBSON-MALONE

Well… this isn’t exactly what I had in mind for my maternity leave. Rather, I’d imagined going out walking the tiniest human in her buggy in the sunshine while the bigger girls were at school and nursery. Maybe I’d partake in some exercise classes where you can take your baby along. Maybe even a little bit of baby massage or socialising with friends – after all this is my last ever chance at maternity leave. But then Coronavirus happened, the children finished school and nursery for the foreseeable future and suddenly – my plans were scuppered. Good job they’re so cute!

As our crazy mid kid left the classroom, she greeted us with her usual sunshine smile beaming from ear to ear saying, “Happy holidays!” And that right there is the moment I want to treasure and remind myself of when things get hard. This is the world seen through the eyes of a four-year-old. So positive and so simple. I know I can learn a lot from that, right there.

She’s just excited to spend time at home and with us and I don’t want her to feel otherwise. What I wasn’t over the moon with was being handed a caterpillar when I picked her up. A real life caterpillar. Not only was I expected to look after four children and a wife, I now also have a bug to keep alive. A bug named Elizabeth, at that.

While parents all over social media try to trump each other with the best “home schooling methods”, I will stick only with what’s within my limits and capabilities – survival! If that involves screen time, a lack of schedule, beige food and pyjama days then so be it. This time is stressful enough with concerns about Lynz’s job in the aviation industry, illness near and far, friends businesses barely surviving and what the future looks like for us all. We all need to do whatever it takes to get by.

I am, however, excited about spending more time with the girls and hopefully making some amazing memories as a family. What I’m concerned about is the lack of adult interaction. Since I’m not working, I’ll struggle to get my fix of human contact that isn’t my family. I love spending time with my friends. It keeps me sane and, like I’ve said before, it gives me perspective as I can talk things through with them. I’m not a big telephone person either so, I guess that will need to change drastically…

When Lynz and I were chatting about the girls being home and my plans to fill the days she was very encouraging and said: “If anybody is built for this it’s you,” and, I guess she’s right – this would drive her nuts. That lifted my spirits after I’d spent the whole day inside watching the news. (Don’t do that by the way). I’m better off in my own bubble where I’m praising the good that is coming out of this, including the community spirit where people are helping each other and looking out for each other. I’ve spoken with all of my neighbours this week and some of them I’d never even said hello to. This is what will get us through – along with hope in abundance. We lit our candle of hope tonight…

Talking about hope, in the back of my mind there’s still a glimmer of hope that, by the summer, the girls will be back in school and I will still enjoy a few days of the maternity leave I envisaged at the start. That is where I’m going to go when I am having a tough day and need something to hold on to. Stay safe everybody x

#WhichOneIsMummy

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