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Making the most of a tough situation....

Like many of yo at the beginning of this year the looming of back to school time after Christmas was here and I had to decide whether to send my boys back to school or not as the government has insisted the schools were safe and would remain open. After a lot of inner debating and self critizing I decided the best things for me and family was to keep them at home where I was in control of who and what they saw. This decision wasn't easy for me giving my struggling mental health and cherishing my break I had when the boys would be at school. however I knew I would suffer more if I sent them. Luckily this decision was soon taken out my hands the government then, one day before my kids went back to school, decided schools were in fact not safe and would be closing all schools, except for vulnerable and key worker children. Now although this is what I had originally wanted I wasn't expecting to have them home for 7 weeks or longer. This new lockdown sparked fear and despair for me as I had braced myself to have the kids for a week or maybe 2 and could send them back when I wanted but to have the option taking away and the expectation of home-schooling 3 boys at separate levels was overwhelming beyond my ability to control it. I then spent the next 2 weeks with high anxiety and overwhelm wondering how I was going to cope with this and not loose all control over my mental health and runaway thoughts.

However somehow I managed to gain control and started to embrace this new opportunity. Whilst at the time this experience was distressing I reminded myself that I had already done this for most of the previous year and succeeded. I took things back to basics and worked through what was overwhelming me and why. I realised it was the thought of peoples expectation and opinions on what I should and shouldn't be doing during this time in regards to home schooling and my boys was making me feel this way. So instead I decided to let go of the should do's and decided each day what I would do depending on how I felt and the boys. If me or the boys needed a quiet day, we would or if I wanted to do some of my onw work I would or if the boys wanted to do something we would, no stressing or forcing.

I know from speaking to other parents they also feel the pressure of home schooling and subsequent stress, so I would like to remind you that as parents we need to focus on our mental health to also be able to support our children's mental health. This for me is what I will be focussing on. We have been given the gift of time with our loved ones but also the gift of time to meet ourselves again and rediscover what are our interests are outside of being a parent or work. There is more to lockdown than just school work, so get baking, go for a walk and maybe start something new. What is one thing you have rediscovered about yourself or your family ?

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