Today, on #FriendBlogFriday, I welcome the wonderful Claire Marie Quant from Fizzy Peach PR. I think every parent out there will sympathise with the mental ups and downs of weathering a new, complex world while juggling little children. I applaud Claire for sharing this window into her world. Enjoy, and be sure to follow Claire Marie Quant, and share. Links at the bottom…
Hi there - I’m Claire Marie Quant, former journo turned PR type! I’m a mummy of seven-year-old twins, living in Wales, trying to gather a few musings about the world of parenthood, whilst building my online business @FizzyPeachPr and organising a hectic home-life. Oh, and trying to preserve my own sanity!
I believe we are all trying our best so if this blog connects with you and helps you to know you ‘aint on your own, then it’s done its’ job!
Decisions, doubts & Dilemnas
Do we, don’t we? I’ve been pondering this question since our government dropped an unexpected piece of news that took our small country quite by surprise. Whilst many of our friends, us included, had convinced ourselves that our kids would be at home until September, they said that within four weeks they could go back to school!
That means at the time of writing and in less than two weeks the children we have so lovingly nurtured at home and protected from the outside world, can walk back into their school environment.
Queue meltdown number two! I was working when I glanced at messenger “what do you think about the twins going back to school at the end of June?” The words made me feel physically sick. I felt panic engulf my body from my head down to my toes and within minutes the tears trickled down my sun-kissed cheeks. I don’t know whether they were tears of fear or tears of anger, but they just kept coming. This happened just as lunchtime approached and I had to be that mummy who has to get their ‘sh*t’ together and pretend that all is well in the world. Well actually it was. Our home life has and remains a little sanctuary – a bubble of us with our little ones. We had got into our routine of minimal home-schooling (don’t judge me), maximum playtime, where the sun shone at least 12 hours a day. Hubby is in work – I pick up the phone through panic and anxiety and try and tell him my fears. He is rational and approaches the world through different eyes to me. “If we don’t have to send them then we don’t have to send them,” he said. Simple as.
When I asked the twins recently what was the best thing about being in lockdown (always trying to focus on the positives with them) they replied separately and without prompting ‘spending time with our family and feeling safe.’ Their words reverberated around my head as I made the umpteenth ham and cheese sandwich, grapes, watered down lemonade (I know mumma guilt of giving them fizzy drinks means I have to dilute with fizzy water) and yoghurt. And yes followed by chocolate bar – they are seven for heaven’s sake!
Our kids and their ADHD make them keen for routine and they can’t cope with unexpected surprises – even if that does mean groundhog mealtimes. Couldn’t even sneak a little tomato in there without a debate that would rock the United Nations.
So, they feel safe at home. Win. Both hubby and I have spoken to them about Covid-19 and the world situation, separately and together. One of them wants to watch the news and try and understand, the other closes off from it and is happy within her own world.
The government in Wales has put the onus on the schools, governors and parent’s choice. Yes, our choice and no penalties if we don’t send them. It’s a no-brainer isn’t it? Of course, we won’t send them. The disruption of sending them for potentially one day a week for four weeks is likely to be too much for them – a massive change in their routine that could cause untold damage for such a short period of time.
School prior to lockdown was an emotional rollercoaster anyway, with tears and clingy behaviour of fear and anxiety, despite their school being a wonderful, nurturing and secure environment. What parent wants to see that in their child day after day? I did and it was heartbreaking, often continuing through to bedtime. But this isn’t about the efforts the school has to put in or what the government has told them should be the right thing to do. I feel so sorry for the teachers who are having to jump through hoops to try and make social distancing in the classroom (and outside) work for all. It is and will remain a logistical nightmare.
Despite all this 70% of our parents want their children to return to school. That is their choice and I totally respect that. If all these parents think it’s a good idea then perhaps I shouldn’t have been so hasty? Then in the North West of England parents get an email on a Sunday night to say the return to school isn’t happening. The ‘R’ number is creeping up. In our area, we have the highest death toll from Covid-19 in Wales. I’m starting to feel reassured that we’ve made the right decision – again. But that doesn’t stop my own self-doubt creeping in. I’m a school governor as well, shouldn’t I be supporting my fellow parents and teachers to make this work? Guilt, guilt, guilt – that wasted emotion.
I broach the question with the children. One wants to return to see her friends, the other spins into a complete panic. The chances of her friends being in her bubble are minimal anyway, with a maximum of six kids together. I feel happier that the Zoom calls and WhatsApp links can sustain us until September. We all return to what we were doing.
Our children are healthy, happy and secure. We are fortunate that we have outdoor space for all our enjoyment. As parents we know that we need to put our children’s wants and needs first, but we should also consider our own well-being and mental health in all of this. For those of us who struggle with their mental health and are on a continuous quest to find that elusive sense of balance and harmony it is important to recognise the situation for what it is?
It is four days in July 2020. And breath…
For us, those four days could be the difference between stability and insanity, disruption and dilemmas. Is it worth it? Not for our family, taking on board all our foibles and ‘conditions.’
We will continue to work on our happiness and well-being, knowing that the children will return in September. Our job is to prepare them fully for that and to ensure that we do everything we can to continue to make them feel safe, happy and excited for their return to school and our new normal. Fresh term, fresh start, new shoes, new class.
For now, let them enjoy the freedom that lockdown has gifted us, lazy days and sunshine, gardening and bike riding, a little bit of reading and maths, tv and iPads and endless ham and cheese sandwiches, without the tomatoes!
Guilt no more, our decision is made. The dilemmas and dramas in this episode at least, have drifted over the horizon
You can find me on Facebook Instagram and Twitter just search Fizzy Peach PR http://linkedin.com/in/clairequantfizzypeachpr And catch up with my blog Mummy Q Needs A Holiday here