In empathy, in sympathy, in solidarity in need of time, space, a moment to breathe, a change of pace, a quiet place, one of the Scentered team summarises the misery of the school/work balance and a message to convey our huge respect for all the Dads and Mums currently doing this impossible juggle. I do not use the word impossible lightly….
The morning rise routine
My alarm is usually set for 6am and I try to fit in the previous day’s Jo Wicks workout I missed before the kids wake up - but, some days are a challenge as I’m not sleeping well with the lovely anxiety dreams that have started since covid. Or there’s not time for I wake to hear footsteps on the landing, my youngest shoots up and joins me in bed wanting breakfast and a cuddle.
Feeding time at the zoo
I start work at 7, barricaded in the ‘office’ (room where everything gets dumped, the husband feeds and waters the kids where you have to juggle the shouting/muting zoom calls and questions about what we actually have left for breakfast as food is being devoured at an incredible rate by all family members. This is usually where I would apply Scentered Focus balm on my wrists and take a few deep breaths before an important meeting or task.
Changing of the guard
I then finish daily work at 10am to swap with my husband who starts work and I begin homeschooling. I try to shift my mood and cut off the flow of work in my brain to focus on my eldest’s home lessons - this is one of the most stressful points of the day, so lighting an Escape candle fills the room with a little sense of peace.
Work doesn’t just finish at 10am, emails keep coming in, everyone is working different shifts, meetings still need to happen, so this is the struggle - trying to respond to urgent emails and requests whilst a little person is asking for a snack or getting stressed with their homework and saying ‘Mummy I need you’.
A test of patients
Throughout the day I’m trying to keep calm with the homeschooling, trying not to feel the pressure of doing everything that is set on the same day with work and trying to be patient with my daughter and not let my stress show with her. I will try to encourage her to sit down and do the work with a bit of independence but not rush just to get it done. I’m often biting my hand when she makes errors or doesn’t do ‘projects the way I would’ because she has to learn and be herself and well, she is 7 and I’m 41….(recite ‘do not take over, do not give the answers to hurry this along.’)
Attention in all directions
Whilst doing home schooling with my daughter it’s tough managing the need for attention and precious time from my 4 year old with snacks and play time - he’s not keen on sitting next to us and doing crafts at the table, well maybe for 5 minutes but he wants to be outside - fair enough, I can relate to this.
The up-side to being awake at 3am - no really I’ve found one
Every now and then I will pick up on my constant internal voice going ‘look at this place, it’s a tip, no one else seems to notice’ - I need to put a load of washing on, clean the house, amend the food shopping list that I managed to write down when I was awake at 3am, that’s one plus side of not sleeping I guess.
Throwing together lunch
Lunch! How to recreate in a different way the same lunches we have been having every day? Put a bit of cucumber on the side, a tick for greenery too.
Afternoon trials and tribulations
After lunch I try and get the children back outside - so thankful we have a garden. I juggle afternoon meetings and childcare with my husband and try not to let the kids have too much TV or mother guilt kicks in. Stop the fighting, try not to get stressed that every time you leave the children outside to play on their own for a minute there is an argument. I often feel overstretched and feel the plates starting to topple - time for a top up of Focus balm!
What to cook today? Both children like different foods and when they arrive at the table they say they ‘don’t like it’ before even picking up a fork.
A lovely, quiet pamper evening to myself (not)
During the course of the evening we try and package the kids off to bed, my eldest is struggling to sleep at the moment so while supporting her it occurs to me that until 7pm this evening I have not had a full conversation with my husband. We then start cooking our own dinner, call the parents to check in on them, sit down at 9pm. Go to bed at 10, all day I’ve managed a constant low level of anxiety about things I am missing, Covid, its impact on the children, family, friends, feeling lucky to be in the position that we are in compared to many others but then the guilt kicks in when I find it hard. If I’m having a particularly bad night drifting off I will apply the sleep-well balm on my wrists and deeply inhale a few breaths.
Wake up and repeat.