I’m sitting down to write this and I’m really not sure what I want to write about. I have a list of possible blog topics, but somehow none of them seem relevant right now. This is a weird time, for everyone, where the norms are not normal. Where there is an overarching dread of an invisible thing. The sun shines and the flowers bloom, and yet we are all staying in our houses, keeping our distance from others. Our usual touchpoints of routine have transformed online, or dissolved into nothingness along with human contact. I guess in that respect I am lucky to be living with my family and to have three amazing people I can spend time with. But their constant presence is also wearing. I need my alone time, to reset and loose all the irritations. But I am now not getting enough of it.
I feel like I am trying and failing at both parenting and working. My edits are not getting done as fast or as well as I’d like. (NB every book goes through a phase where the author thinks it is rubbish, this has no bearing on the quality of the book or the author.) And I am not giving the children as much attention as they’d like. This fun novel thing of doing school work at home is now just as boring and frustrating and difficult as school work at school was. So the shine is coming off it for them as well. Added to the fact we have no idea when this will end. At the moment we are due to go back to school on May 11th, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is extended beyond that. Some people are talking about schools being closed until the summer holiday. That would mean the children would be full time at home for five months. And not just the children, but us as well.
We were meant to be in the UK last week, celebrating my sister-in-law’s birthday, but that trip has had to be delayed. Our plans for the school holidays at the end of April are probably not going to go ahead, although we haven’t cancelled them yet. And we are questioning whether we will be able to go on our planned trip over the summer. And I know we aren’t the only ones. As much as we love our new house and garden there is also a benefit to going to new places and just being able to go out for a day. Even when we have spent school holidays here I have made sure that we went out to different places, made use of our museum cards, visited play areas and parks, travelled round. But none of that is possible. Given we will still be spending most of our time at home even when there is no school work to do, how can I make the non school weeks different for the children to the school days? No school work to do is one thing, but is that enough?
I feel both overwhelmed with the quantity of messages from school and other places with activities and ideas of things to do, and also struggling to fill their time. And how can I be both? So many organisations and groups are now putting stuff online and running sessions online that it is difficult to keep up and keep track of what is of interest to us.
I am just trying to keep my head down and worry about the things that are going on in my house, and not think about anything further than that. Which works for a time. But there are enough things here I can worry about too.
I know that I am asking too much of myself; that I can’t add in teaching the children and keep the same level of work related output that I was doing before. I know that this situation will have an impact on me, and yet I still feel like I’m failing. I am floundering to find my routine. The homeschooling structure I created for the children is working well. The school work gets done in the mornings, then afternoon is for crafts and free play. They work with that and know what they’re doing next now. The problem is how I fit my work around that. I am struggling to do my editing at the same time as they are doing schoolwork, as I can’t focus on it enough with needing to help them. Fine, I can use that time to do other work related activities, there are enough things I need to do. But then fitting editing into the afternoons is also tricky as I am tired. And even more tired by the evenings.
My resolution for this year was to write first every day, so that I did the most important task first and then followed it with everything else I needed to do once that was finished. And that was working really well so far this year. But I am no longer able to do that. And now I am struggling to fit it in at all.
So, I’ve started knitting. I’m making myself a scarf as something to do to stop myself from thinking so much. And it’s working. I pick it up and do a couple of rows and the repetitive action is calming. It might not be helping with anything else, but I can use it to keep me warm in the winter. Unless one of the children claims it as their own. Though they keep asking me to make various much more complicated knitted things next, and are fairly bemused when I say that I’m sticking to rectangular things. Because of course mummy can do everything. No wonder I’m so drained!