The Time Out UAE Kids editor shares her thoughts on home learning

Mums and dads... you're doing great!

The Time Out UAE Kids editor shares her thoughts on home learning

We’re all grieving the lives we should be living right now as we get to grips with evolving daily routines and learn how to adapt to a very different reality.

While being no walk in the park – though an hour’s stroll in the area outside your house, except for kids between three and 12, is thankfully now allowed – the message is clear: “This won’t last forever.” 

But, much in the same way we still Google “can you die from a lack of sleep?” at 3am in the morning when we have a newborn, it is extremely difficult to see beyond the current fog of masks, e-learning and being around your loved ones… all day, every day.

Just like babies, this unprecedented, surreal time does not come with a manual. There is no right or wrong way to parent, there is only your way.

Home schooling is a challenge. Even my teacher friends who diligently upload lesson plans, research appropriate tasks and set up online calls to educate your children confess to finding it a battle when it comes to teaching their own precious offspring.

And over the weeks (how many is it? I’ve no idea, it’s all a blur) it has played out as a bit of one-upmanship: “I’ve got a four-year-old, a seven-year-old and a ten-year-old, plus a full-time job.” “Well, I’ve got a newborn and a pre-schooler, plus my husband is stuck outside of the country.” “I’ve got two teenagers, one of whom is supposed to be sitting her GCSEs and the other his A-Levels, and my dog is going stir crazy not being able to go for regular walks.”

The truth is, it’s not easy for anyone. If you follow mummy blogger and – we’re proud to say – former Time Outer, Mother Pukka, on Instagram (and if you don’t, you should), you’ll have seen her heartfelt message to parents across the world. “What we are being asked to do is not humanly possible. There is a reason we are either a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, or a part-time working parent. Working, parenting and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time.” she said.

And she is spot on. It’s not hard because we are all doing it wrong, it’s hard because it’s simply too much to expect from us.

It’s important that you understand that it’s okay to be sad, to be lonely, to be angry, to be frustrated, to be… anything at all… it’s absolutely okay.

Don’t expect your kid to behave nicely all of the time and at the same time, don’t beat yourself up when you feel you aren’t behaving nicely either, because the truth is it sucks. That doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful for all the things we do have, it just means we’re human. And it’s time to roll with it as best we can.

So if you lock yourself in your bedroom for 30 minutes with a good book while your tween embarks on a fourth hour of Fortnite and your five-year-old remains engrossed in a video watching some random unwrap surprise toys, please don’t beat yourself up.

No matter how much of an ogre we feel we’ve been, no matter how many times we’ve felt on the verge of tears or cried with frustration because our children are being reluctant students (I am sure that two out of three of mine would have been expelled from their schools if they had behaved with their teacher like they behaved with me) our children won’t remember.

Their memories of this time won’t be the frustrations of not being able to upload their recorder recital onto their online learning platform, that they consistently got muddled up with their fractions and their ratios or the fact that they couldn’t get to grips with Annie Apple says A, A, A.

Instead their memories will be that you were around all the time and even though you might feel you are shouting, screaming and ranting all day long (despite your best intentions and renewed promises that today is the day you keep your cool, every morning) you are doing a great job.

“I love you being at home, I wish you didn’t ever have to go to an office again,” my four-year-old said as she snuggled down to go to sleep.

And just like that, it all feels worth it.

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