And here we are again, still home-schooling, social distancing, and doing our thing – me and 4 children. However, this week the brick wall of lockdown has truly descended. My emotions change by the minute from overwhelmed to enthusiastic about our ‘new normal’.  

It suddenly feels like everywhere I look people are having an amazing time – from transforming their garden and homes into palaces to creating artworks with their children or baking batches of perfectly formed and iced cakes. However, I am not one of these Mum’s. The house is slowly descending into chaos, and home schooling is not happening this week, although I was pleased to see even an Ofsted inspector has rated himself as atrocious with attendance not happening every day on a fake Ofsted report of his own teaching. I know this may not be the reality, but it doesn’t help the feelings of guilt that I too am not creating these amazing things with my 4 children. If the kids have brushed teeth, are fed and we are still sane by the end of the day we are winning in my book.

As for learning a new skill during lockdown, well I enthusiastically thought this would be a good idea on Week 1 and ordered a book on crochet, my chosen new skill. Who was I kidding? The book has been placed on the side in the kitchen and remained untouched. How on earth did I think this was going to be possible? I have two under 5’s so as you know going to the toilet solo would actually be newsworthy, how did I think I was going to master a new skill. Anyone else fool for this level of optimism too?  

Even my enthusiasm for Joe Wicks’ daily PE lesson has become now frustration, the kids more unwilling every day and quite frankly I’m beginning to feel sick at the mere sight of him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad man who is doing a wonderful thing and he’s certainly lovely to look at (I’ve been a single mum for some time!) But his relentlessness every day, being so enthusiastic about squats and leg thrusts has left me quite literally weak at the knees.  

Although I have been a single Mum now for quire a few years, I did get an offer this week from my 10 year old… “Mum if I give you a fun time with angles and algebra can I go on my computer?” This is the only type of offer I get these days, so I made the most of it and got stuck into solving the angle/algebra problems with my son, whilst having my 2 year old repeatedly demand juice and snacks every 10 minutes and my 4 year announces “you know that lady from the greatest showman (and he means the bearded lady) – she looks like you Mummy”. This is hugely distracting whilst trying to work out what x should equal in a diagram of overlapping triangles, but nonetheless we completed the algebra and even got some of the answers right. I’m not sure it was fun… but I was certainly proud of us for completing it.  

I’m slightly worried that my 10 year old thinks this is what I do for fun… but then having effectively spent my last few years in lockdown past 6 in the evening with the kids I’m not sure what my idea of fun these days. It’s certainly not facetime, trying to zoom or facetime with small kids is just dangerous… the camera is inevitably pointed at the messiest part of your house by a child at some point, one child always needs help with the toilet during it and you can barely hear yourself think above the noise of a 4 and 2 year old who have realised now you are distracted and this is their moment to run around screaming and climb the furniture.  

I have hit a brick wall in comprehending how the World has changed and how the ‘new normal’ should look, at 4 he has less ability to comprehend it – of course he’s struggling. The disturbances in the night take their toll though and leave me in a worse place to start home school from the next day… it’s a cycle we need to break. So this week home schooling is having a rest in the formal sense of completing school work… it’s Italian week with more creative work rather than maths and English work. I’m not sure if this idea is genius or absolute crazy…

This week the realisation is setting in … this is the ‘new normal’. A few weeks ago we thought it might be fun to learn something new and delighted in the thought of home schooling – it’s only short -term after all – where we optimistically ordered a tonne of crafting stuff and giant bubble making wands (yep they were a disaster as soon as the kids got hold of them and promptly emptied the bubble juice out instantly!). Now the reality is settling in, social distancing is here to stay, its not a few weeks and then we get to have a party and carry on. This is our ‘new normal’, and it wasn’t a normal I had even considered until a few weeks ago. There will be bad days and good days and we just have to hope the good outnumber the bad. Be kind to yourself, it’s a ‘new normal’ and none of us know what that should look like.