How is everyone holding up?
Can you believe it? The original 21 days of Lockdown has passed.
Here I was 3 weeks ago thinking, wow I am going to get so much done.
All the cupboards that I have been wanting to organise and sort through will be done, all the blogs I have been wanting to finish and post, can be done. I can spend proper quality time with my boys and make this memorable. Well, guess what? I have basically just been on a 3 week holiday.
I am actually quite shocked that I did so little. But that is what the next 2 weeks are for. I actually feel refreshed and motivated to tick off all the things on my To-do list.
On the weekend of 14 & 15 March we had a lazy weekend at home, little did we know this would become the new normal for a while. On that Sunday evening when the President announced that schools will be closing early and staying closed till after Easter. We decided to keep the boys home those 3 days before the school closed. So the boys and I are basically on day 38 at home. With the minor exception of me going to the shops one day before lockdown started.
Now I am a homebody, I grew up an only child with a single mother who worked every waking hour. She never took leave, so during school holidays it was me, myself and I. We had a year of homeschooling last year, so the boys kind of had a year’s preparation for lockdown. The only difference is, no playdates or outings. I have to say they have been coping a lot better than I had ever imagined. I think because they are also at an age where you can explain something like this to them, it helps a lot.
I have tried to keep them busy and have something fun or new to do every day. The week before lockdown there were so many posts on Social Media of Schedules and Routines. Last year I loved my schedules, it really helped and I was considering making a day/week planner but then I realised that this won’t work for our family. Although my eldest loves routine, my youngest can fight against it. So I opted against routine in the beginning. I decided to let them have their holiday, which is how it would have been before Lockdown.
They had just finished 2 weeks of assessments at school, it was time for holiday and laziness. For 2 and a half weeks they could do what they want, there was no routine. Towards the end of “our holiday” my youngest (Gr1) teacher sent daily challenges. Just one thing to do that day which involved math, but in such a fun way. The week before Lockdown I had gone through their old Homeschooling files and dug out some stuff that I wanted to do with them during lockdown, just to keep them fresh. I also wanted to practice handwriting with my eldest as this is his weak point. Their files were always on the dining room table. I didn’t ask them to do work for the first 2, almost 3 weeks. But when I would cook or while I was cleaning, one or sometimes both of them would end up at the table doing some of the work all on their own. There were even days when they asked if they could do work, so I would then sit with them and do some work.
The week before Easter our school started sending daily work to be done.
Now it was time for routine.
During normal circumstances, they are only allowed to play Xbox and watch movies on the weekends. But we have made an exception now.
As of 30 March, this has been our “routine”:
Monday & Wednesday
90 min Xbox
Tuesday & Thursday
2 Hours Xbox
Saturday & Sunday
2 Hours Xbox and/or a movie
The screentime might sound like a lot, and yes under normal circumstances it is, but being stuck at home with nowhere to go, I do not think it is too much. I have also made it very clear to them that once things go back to normal, we are back to our old rules of screentime only on weekends. So our “routine” is very simple but seems to be working well. In the afternoons we play board games, do little experiments, get creative, play Cricket or just jump on the trampoline.
I think we also need to realise there is no one size fits all. What works for my boys/family might not work for yours. It all depends on your household and what works for you. At this point screen time is my currency, my bargaining chip, punishment for bad behavior means -10min of screen time. Reward for doing extra practice work or helping with more chores than they usually do, then they earn 10min extra. It works like a charm.
Now it has not all been love, hugs and cherry blossoms, oh no. We have had massive blow outs. The boys fight with each other, we have had moments where mom and dad have been at each other. We have had moments where mom is shouting at the kids. I have heard all 3 of our neighbours have multiple arguments with their partners/kids. People who you generally do not hear off are, by the sounds of it, close to ripping each other’s heads off.
This is such a hard situation to be in. Nothing we can do, we can’t just get out, take a break from each other for a couple of hours and go for a walk.
It is absolutely natural for tempers to be flaring and disagreements to happen. I do not think there is a household on planet earth that has just been pure unadulterated happiness. We all have our days where we just don’t want to do anything and everyone annoys us.
I always apologies to the boys if I have lost it. I explain why I snapped and how I am feeling, we chat and then hug it out. We have always done this. I think it just helps them understand that we all have these feelings of anger and frustration with loved ones from time to time and that it is ok. As long as we do not hurt each other, physically and verbally.
It is moments like these when I think of all the women and children who are now in lockdown with that one person that they really should not be with, an abusive partner. I can’t even imagine the hell they are going through. This is something I try to tell my kids every time they get frustrated with the situation. I try to remind them how lucky they are.
They have a roof over their head, food in their tummy, toys and TV games to play, parents who love them and do not abuse them, a garden and 2 dogs to play with. So, SO much to be grateful for.
In times like these that is all, we can do. Look for that silver lining, that something positive to hold on to, to get you through it.
Soon it will all be over and we will be back in the rat race. Then we will be regretting the fact that we didn’t make the most of this time together.