Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Stay At Home Mom Turned Teacher because of COVID-19

We live in Ireland, and the kids were send home from school on Thursday 12th March, they had enough work for Friday, and the week ahead, and the rest would be provided on an ongoing basis.  My son came home with a bulging bag containing all of his school books, they were home until the 29th March.  

I was sceptical as to how this would work out, but my son has often spoken about wanting to be homeschooled when my husband and I have discussed it in the past, we were thinking of moving countries and said homeschool might be an option.  So here was a good chance to see if homeschooling could work, and how it would work.  

To be fair it's not really homeschooling, it's more like school work at home.  The teachers are doing all the ground work providing a list of things to do, and as a parent at home we follow the laid out plan for the day, help where we can, google a lot and pretend we knew the answer without google!  

Well day one was such a huge success I took to social media to brag about my brilliant child, who came up with a system to do his school work all on his own, and apart from reminding him every now and again that his break had finished he managed to do all the work on his own without fights.  Naivity was at work!  

The weekend came around and we stayed home and pretended to sort the house out, but in actual fact we binge watched the TV.  Then Monday and Tuesday were holidays because of the St Patricks Day long weekened so we got lucky, not a full week of school work at home.  We had music on Tuesday though, my son's music school came up with the brilliant idea of doing his 1 to 1 lessons via whatsapp or skype, and it was amazing, a huge success.  He loved it, and for the first time in ages we got to sit in on his lessons.  It was fun for the whole family.  

Then Wednesday morning arrived, we had a plan, a schedule and a list of do's and don'ts that we had sat down and discussed with out son, and everyone agreed to them.  Oh the naivity makes me smile now.  We had a few complaints about the amount of work, and with a few fights he got the work done by about 3 with lots of obligatory breaks, lunch and outside time.  As a parent and home schooler I was nailing this routine down to a tee.  Not as smooth sailing as the first Friday I admitted - but I was still good at this!  

Thursday morning arrived, I hadn't slept that well and my son didn't want breakfast so I said I would give him an extra 30 mins of free time before we started school work at home.  I was being flexible and how lovely to allow him extra time in the morning beofre the work began in earnest.  Oh the naivity.  By the time I actually got my son to the table to look over the work he literally took one look at it and threw all the toys and school work out the cot, and we proceeded into a 30 minute meltdown.  I did the worst thing ever when said meltdown started and reiterated all the things that would not be happening if he didn't get his butt to the table and do said school work at home.  That went down like a lead balloon, and made the whole meltdown worse.  

Eventually after 30 mins in our own corners we all calmed down enough to come together to discuss what had happened.  I was really looking forward to that glass of wine early on!  We did a meditation to calm us both down, and I restrained myself from having a glass of wine and instead we then approached the work one item at a time. 

I realised the reason for the meltdown.  On a daily basis in class kids don't get to see 'all' the work that they have to do in a day, but school at home showed them what was laid out for the day, and it totally overwhelmed my son.  Now he is well able to get all the work that is assigned done in the morning if he just sits down and does it.  

But I learnt a valuable lesson that morning, school work at home needs to be done in stages, and strict routines in times like these just doesn't work.  Now as a family we are lucky that I am not working at the moment because I can be flexible with my son, and so long as we start the work by 10am I know he will be finished by 2 or 3 depending on the breaks we take.  

Now I am truly flexible, my son wakes up when he wants to.  Breakfast is between 8 and 9 generally, but if he gets up at 9 we push things to suit the day.  After breakfast he has about 30 mins to do whatever he wants, and then we start school work.  I have let him guide me in how long he can sit for, some days we will get three or four things done before he needs a break.  And then there are days like today where he needs to take a break after each bit of work.  Whatever works, and I am learning to choose the path of least resistance!  

So day 12 at home today, lessons learnt.  We are now on a type of lockdown, our leaders don't want to call it a lockdown, I like to think of it as sheltering - for now.  We are being asked to only go out if absolutely necessary to buy groceries, medicines, to help someone or to exercise.  All shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs gyms - well basically anything non-essential is closed down for now.  It is so scary, and sometimes I can't breathe my anxiety is so bad.  But I have to keep thinking about what I should be grateful for.  I am grateful my husband still has a job, so we can still pay rent and survive.  I am grateful we are all together, and that we are all healthy, I really hope we remain healthy.  

Tomorrow I am going to try and add a little 'cooking lesson' to the day, but we will see what tomorrow brings!  

Scraping my Knees from my Fall and Trying Again, with a different approach!

Well last year my posts stopped around July time.  It was my wedding anniversary in July and I decided that I'd be able to have a few drinks with my husband for our anniversary and then I'd stop again until my 40th later in the year.  Well you can guess what happened.  I am drinking, vaping, struggling with anxiety and depression and the world has gone mad with me this time!  

What crazy times we are living in, I never ever thought anything like this would hapen during my lifetime, but here we are.  I have a son who I am now homeschooling, my husband is working from home all the time and I am slowly going crazier!  No, not really, I am loving the time that I get to spend with my son, and I love doing his school work with him.  In truth I am not drinking as much as I was, but I am loving having a glass or two in the evenings with or after dinner as a night cap.  I do get grumpy when my husband drinks my wine though.  

So, where do I go from here.  In truth I don't know.  Being totally sober was a good experience, but I like having a few drinks here and there.  The key is keeping it to a few drinks here or there.  Sometimes we go overboard, but I have to limit the amount of self-abuse I dish out, and I am trying to learn to be self-compassionate and practice good self-care habits.  I think for now those are the important things for me.  

Just before COVID-19 hit I had an appointment with my psychiatrist.  I am still seeing one, and she wanted me to go back into the day programme for a few weeks on a part-time basis to do the programmes that work for me, and also it would give her an opportunity to change up my meds a bit.  Christmas was hard, and just after christmas we found out that my Mom hasn't been very well and has lost a lot of weight.  The doctors can't find anything wrong, but she weighs under 50kg's at the moment which is not good, so I have a lot of feelings and guilt around that.  Guilt because, well that's another story for another day.   

So, I was told that I could start in the hospital today, but my son has asthma and my husband has high blood pressure, both high risk conditions if they were to contract COVID-19, so I decided the risk of going into the hospital on a daily basis just wasn't worth the risk of picking up the virus at this point.  I did say that if they still want to change up my meds then I would be willing to go in as an inpatient, they are going to discuss it at their multi-disciplinary meeting and let me know.  I miss going into the hospital to see the art therapist, and I miss going in to see the psychiatric nurse for a check up, but right now my place is at home, and I have to suck it up.  

I actually hate that saying, suck it up.  It is impossible to 'suck it up' when you are struggling with anger, depression, anxiety and I guess any mental health.  It is dibilitating suffering from PTSD sometimes, and anxiety can be so overwhelming that sometimes all you can do is lay down and pray that it passes sooner rather than later.  Inevitably it does pass, but man it can be hard waiting it out.  These are the times that I struggle with the most, and instead of laying down and waiting it out I can often be found somewhere in the house practising very unhealthy coping strategies, that in the end just add to the shame I feel daily.  I am a self harmer.  

There is no point saying that I only do this when or that I only use it when or that I haven't done cutting in ages.  The truth is my self harm takes on many faces, and each one makes me feel like crap.  But on a daily basis I still feel the need to practice my self-harm tendencies.  I wish I could stop.  It sounds so stupid, a grown women unable to stop self-harm, but I honestly can't at this point.  I am using it to cover up a lot of emotional pain that I just don't want to deal with, or rather at this point I just can't deal with - maybe I'm lying to myself, maybe I'm just a coward hiding behind bad habits.  The truth is out there, and they say the truth will set you free.  I am freaking terrified of my truth, to have to face all my demons, I am just not there right now.  

So for tonight I am going to try and stop stressing about the what ifs and the hopes and dreams for tomorrow, I am going to try and stop my mind from racing with all these thoughts and feelings, and I am going to try and put the shame outside the door for just a little while, I am going to sit and have a glass of wine without feeling guilty, and go to bed to try and sleep, and tomorrow is a new day!