What happens when the reality of our restricted situation hits home? Mums and dads are finding themselves in the unique position of being responsible for their children 24/7. Not since these little beings were first born have we had to be so involved with everything they need for their wellbeing. Now we are responsible for implementing their education, their exercise, their fun and everything in between.
As a mum I’ve seen lots of funny clips going around on various social media platforms. With today’s wonderful technology we can still see what everyone is doing even if we can’t physically be with them. What has struck me, though, is the fear at the thought of being at home with the children - all day, every day! People have been going crazy posting their lives for all to see. Famous celebrities showing their wonderful home school set ups, but it can reinforce the feeling underneath that everyone else has got it together. Where’s the reality? Kids arguing, stropping, and generally making daily life difficult.
I don’t know any parent who hasn’t wished for more time, but how do you fill the time when you get it? There is some super online help; PE with Joe Wicks is great for the kids (and mums!), books from David Walliams being read every day, and our wonderful teachers have spent hours making sure our children still get work to do. Most of us would want to make the most of this rare opportunity but the novelty soon wears off and children are children! Getting them to engage with all these amazing things has given me a new appreciation of how hard our teachers work.
I’ve been taken back to when they were very little and not at school. Teaching them to get on, reminding them of manners, encouraging them in their differences whilst still teaching them to accept the differences in each other. Now though, they are older and wiser in trying to get their own way. I’ve been falling into bed more exhausted! I thought about the good advice I was given when they were young: have a daily routine, structure in the day but, most importantly, be flexible in the structure and make weekends different. We’re into our 3rd week at home and the kids have decided it’s a holiday! Trying to get them to do some schoolwork has been difficult. The novelty has worn off! I have had to change my structure and do things differently. What worked last week hasn’t worked this week. I’ve had to have a rethink. With the understanding of myself comes the understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. I know that if I’m anxious, I can become far too tight and I will not get the best out of my children. They will know I’m not at peace and react to that. There will be more arguments, more back chat and it can feel like there’s no control. If I’m settled, then I will be solid, and they won’t get past me. What I say and expect, will be done. Of course, they will argue, they are children - but it feels very different. I can also go the other way and not put any structure in at all – as a Sanguine it’s easy to just let them have fun. Our first week was very relaxed which was good, but I knew I needed to change my structure and make this week different. Although lots of fun, it could become very undisciplined. Bedtimes have been less rigid; they’ve gradually got later and later. The knock-on effect means missing most of the morning. Adjusting and knowing myself means that I can put good routines in place without becoming too slack or too tight. Hearing what the Lord has for us in any day, week or month is a wonderful thing. The understanding of who I am means that I will know when the Lord is guiding me or when my feelings are the driving force. No need to judge myself on what I see being posted in the rest of the world, I can trust that the Lord made me and gave me everything I need. The understanding of who I am makes it possible live in the fullness of the one who made me.
'You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide meand the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.' Psalm 139:1-16