Ok, we aren't even one week in with Distance Learning and it has left me missing my kids' teachers more than they do! I am very proud of the teaching staff and school community, their efforts to maintain engagement between students and teachers, whilst creating a sense of normalcy has been fantastic. When our school principal video's himself conducting a weekly assembly, including singing the national anthem, and shares it with all the students, it really does highlight the mindset of "all for one and one for all".
Us Mums who are responsible for the learning at home, are used to juggling priorities, but now, the pressure has gone up a notch. Whilst either working from home, or trying to figure out next steps in terms of finances, jobs or businesses, adding the layer of playing school teacher has left most of us numb. This is a difficult time, but for those of us who have felt like home schooling is kryptonite to our mamma super powers, consider the following -
1. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day: Certain tasks will have to temporarily fall by the wayside. So, you might not get the house tidy and three loads of washing done, not get to every email as you might normally do! Apart from the learning activities set by your school, everything else can be negotiable. Including work deadlines. Openly communicate about what is achievable in realistic time frames if you are the primary carer for your child, and have a form of back up to share the load wherever possible. Anyone have grandparents on speed dial to help with school activities whilst you have a phone conference?
2. Your children's Distance Learning time is limited: The learning they accomplish in the time they spend with you is restricted to the time and energy you offer them. We, as parents, have been given a unique opportunity to spend their school day by their side. Witnessing how they learn, how their minds work, what they enjoy (and what they don't). For me, trying to understand what a 'dipthong' is in order to help my son with his English was a real challenge! It made me feel disconnected to his learning journey. However, right now, making the most of the time to understand their world will strengthen our future relationship, and hopefully the relationships with their educators.
3. You are NOT the teacher: As the parent, you feel that this added responsibility has implied another job. For most of us Mamma's, it is ok not to be skilled to educate. Our role is to manage the time and behaviour because of the responsibilities of distance learning. It is not our job, or our role to know everything and how our children are being taught. Not knowing something is okay. This is a prime opportunity to tell your children that you are in this together. "It's ok, I am sure we can work it out."
4. Social interaction & connection is important: This unprecedented event that has caused Distance Learning may be interpreted as a form of punishment for your kids. Encourage your children to maintain as much social interaction with their friends and family in the form of video messaging and old fashioned phone calls. The same goes for you too Mamma's! Set up a video links with your Mamma friends once the kids are in bed with you fave glass of wine and have a drink to your efforts.
5. Pause, reflect and heal: If you don't look after yourself, you won't be able to care for anyone else. Right now, it is imperative that with all the extra pressure, you take the time to stop for a moment each day and breathe. Think about what you are grateful for and what you look forward to. Find a way to unwind and destress (a bubble bath at the end of the school week, a nap when you would normally be sitting in traffic or waiting for your children to complete extra-curricular activities). The world is telling you (quite literally) to stop and rest.
We are all in this together, and our children are feeling this in a way we couldn't understand. Mamma's, you've got this. Connect with a mum you know and tell her the same.
If it's time to get serious about your work life mamma, book a complimentary Introductory Session today:
Vanessa is a professional & business coach with experience in marketing & communications, small business operations, organisational culture & learning. She is currently undergoing further training & qualification with the LCA Australia and the International Coaching Federation. Vanessa has recently completed certification as a Wellness Facilitation Coach. Most importantly, she is a mother of two, teaching them to see the world with compassionate eyes and to act in kindness.