And now it is Day two. I realised I had been distancing myself mentally for the past two weeks. Probably not a good idea as it has caught up with me. There are hourly reminders that this is only for 8 weeks. Only 8 weeks. Only 8 weeks. Before we know it they will be back in school again and another routine begins.
I am sluggish as I haven’t been running regularly. I am sleeping well at night but still wake tired and heavy. So my first pointer is we need to look after ourselves.
Our kids need us. They will always need us but remember, their routine has been turned upside down too and they are also adjusting. If I am a big shouty, frustrated and hormental mess it will not help things by shouting and losing my temper at the least little thing. Look after yourself first. If you can’t exercise in the morning, see to it that it gets done in the evenings. It doubles up as an hour away from the kids as well. Aside: I have yet to accomplish this.
The first day feels like a special gift from hell. But even the worst day is still only 24 hours long. 12 if you don’t count the ones where you are all asleep. I was that soldier yesterday. Our screen time rules of nothing before 3pm has not changed. This did not go down well but as lax as I am about other things – choose your battles – this one will not change. It meant lots of shouting, fighting, complaints of being bored and several large messes being made. But today, already, they are settling out. They chanced their arm once or twice and asked did they really have to wait till 3pm to use their devices. I remained strong. I got this. Proviso: It is only day Two. Things could change yet.
It’s kick back time. We all need some kick back. The kids and their time do not need to be micromanaged. Most weeks this month, my boys came home from school with flyers for yet another summer camp. I am in favour of summer camps but they don’t have to go to them all. Particularly if there are a few children in the house. These things are expensive. If my boys go to one, we usually select one for late July/ early August to let them have a few weeks to decompress beforehand. We do take out a family membership at our local leisure centre for July and August. This allows us unlimited access to the pool and the adults can use the gym plus whatever evening circuit or spinning classes as it is all included. It’s a fantastic offer at €93 each month for our family working on the basis that one child is free with each adult.
Let them be bored. Yes, it is a different time now and you wouldn’t open your back door, kick them out with instructions not to come home until the church bell strikes 6 o clock. But we all have a garden, a box of Lego knocking about somewhere, a bag of carrots that need to be peeled. Kids love pushing the hoover around. Give them water guns, a cloth and ask them to wash windows. Ditto re parking the car near the hose pipe. They will find something to do soon enough. Patience is the name of the game. Disclaimer: I never said I had any.
Breathe. All the time. Make a conscious effort to do it. Walk away when you need to. Go and sit outside in the car if their noise follows you upstairs. A very wise woman once told me that it’s ok to be a little bit blind and a little bit deaf when you are a parent. This will be my mantra for the next 8 weeks. The next 8 weeks. The next 8 weeks.