Come join our weekly book club in the DIVA Community!
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
If you haven’t already joined the DIVA Community, now is the perfect time. It’s our very own digital hangout space created by us as a way of bringing the lez/bi community closer together during these difficult days in lockdown.
We’ve lined up a whole host of book readings from a wonderful variety of LGBQTI authors for you literature lovers. There’ll be something for everyone.
This week we’re joined by Carolyn Robertson who is reading to us from her children’s book, Two Mums And A Menagerie, from her home during lockdown. We caught up with Carolyn to find out how she’s faring being a mum, a home-school teacher and an author, all at the same time.
DIVA: What motivated to write your books?
CAROLYN ROBERTSON: When we first adopted our eldest son I was aware of the dearth of books around for our types of families. There were literally only a handful of books with two Mum families around. I was a primary school teacher for many years and had a good idea of the types of books children enjoyed. Whilst on adoption leave from teaching I got a little bored at home and decided to have a go at writing books I knew I would enjoy reading to my son.
How important is it to have representation of LGBTQI families in children’s books?
Enormously important. Our children need to see themselves and their families depicted in books, on T.V, in advertising etc. It is hugely affirming for our kids that we have representation. Books involving same sex families shouldn’t be niche or specialist. My aim is to get books reflecting different types of families into the mainstream, to normalise our types of families.
What is your lockdown daily routine?
I wish there was a routine! I’m teacher to two boys, cleaner, cook, snack maker, nurse, referee, skivvy, emotional punchbag… We try and get through school work, get out for a walk and play lots of games, bake, make etc. Mostly I’m keeping the boys away from my wife who is desperately trying to work at the top of the house.
How are you finding home schooling during this time?
It has been incredibly challenging. Both our children have different needs and our youngest was in specialist educational provision pre lockdown. I realised pretty early on the the only way to survive was to dial down all expectations of any semblance of a normal school day. I try and teach via stealth; getting our youngest to read and measure doing cooking, writing out shopping lists, making up instructions for building things etc. Both boys have access to on line learning which has been hit and miss but useful.
Is it difficult to fit your own work around it?
It is impossible. My wife is the main breadwinner so I’m left holding the babies! I have barely a minute to myself and haven’t put pen to paper in weeks. Unfortunately our youngest doesn’t really do screens which makes life doubly difficult as he needs constant entertainment.
What are you most looking forward to when we’re out of lockdown?
A rest… and head space to get creative again. I’ve been working on an adult comedy novel about a lesbian football team ‘The Studs’ which was really getting going before lockdown. I can’t wait to get back to my former routine of a dog walk followed by my favourite kind of coffee (where no one talks to me whilst I’m drinking it), then a day of writing until kids are home from school.
What’s your advice to other parent’s out there right now that might be struggling?
My advice is to be as kind to yourself as you possibly can and go easy on the home schooling. Some days I don’t bother doing any schooling if I can sense the boys are struggling. This is an extraordinary epoch and a stressful time. The most important thing is that we stay in relationship with our kids and give them lots of love, reassurance and some good memories of being stuck indoors. I also advocate NERF wars as a stress reliever! Me and my wife get tooled up with blasters and ambush the kids, they plot their revenge. Oh and wine, it’s as important as the milk delivery in our house.
We’ve got plenty more book-based fun planned over the coming weeks, so don’t miss out! Grab yourself a cup of tea and curl up on the sofa for our weekly book club.
Join the DIVA community for weekly book readings and more right here.
Like many businesses, DIVA has been hit hard by the economic impact of coronavirus and we need your help to keep the presses rolling throughout the pandemic. Visit our PayPal fundraising page and give what you can. Your support means the world.