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Guest Blog - Hey mumma! R u ok? No**But I will be

By Alicia Buck

OMG, I don’t know about you, but this was not the year that I ordered. This year felt momentous before it even began. Our eldest has his last year of primary school and our baby is in her last year of daycare. Oh, and next year I turn 40… no big deal. So, at the beginning of the year, I was thinking about these milestones and feeling that change was upon us before I was ready. Fast forward several weeks and we are definitely in a period of change and it has caught me completely by surprise. (Well, not by surprise in the fact that I wasn’t following the news, just that it wasn’t in “the plan”)

Over the past few weeks, in accordance with both Federal guidelines and our own decision to self-isolate, we have gone from a busy family life that consisted of socializing, school, daycare, sport and work to 24/7 in our house, looking for ways to make this new way of life somewhat productive and healthy. Homeschooling – tick. Trying to work from home – tick. Staying sane – um, half tick?!

We are trying to fall into a new groove and a new “normal”. The kids still need routine and the main routine that we keep falling back on is mealtimes. Breakfast used to be a rushed affair that was based on quickly eating in between the chaos of leaving the house. Now, breakfast is an important element to starting the day off right - it reminds me of my grandparents and their habit of setting the breakfast table before bed including laying out everyone’s vitamin C tablet for the morning. Lunchtimes gives us a welcome distraction after a few hours of trying to get study and work done while dinner time feels like the pat on the back to celebrate another day of doing our best. I don’t remember feeling this sentiment before – and I have been on both sides of the SAHM and working mum scenario. There was always somewhere to go and a rush to be at the next place.

The way we spend our days and the way that we connect with people has changed. Our kids are sponges and the older ones have quickly adapted to zoom calls and online learning. After a couple of wobbly starts and words of encouragement, they are using the tools available to connect with their teacher and classmates. Side note – to all of the amazing teachers who have so quickly rewritten curriculum plans and made sure that our kids were connected with the class and learning resources, the words thank you don’t seem enough right now.

It’s important to say at this point that everything is not sunshine & lollypops. There are annoyances based on the fact the children are inherently unpredictable and their ability to burst into the room during an important Zoom presentation is almost guaranteed every time. Being in close quarters all the time brings a level of frustration and you need to be creative in your solutions. Remembering that this period is not “normal” but our children look to us to give them the sense of security that routine brings.

I don’t know about you, but the little routines also help ground me. So much has changed in such a short period of time. There is very little that I can control and I miss my time outside of the house by myself – driving to & from work, lining up for a takeaway coffee, a sneaky trip to the gym or even a catch up (in person) with my important support network of Mummas. Things are changing on a daily basis and we don’t know what the future will bring. But our kids need us and now is the time to show them that you can be vulnerable, strong, adaptable, human and compassionate – as parents we’re not perfect but we’re doing the best that we can and so long as kindness, love and adaptability are the focus we might just be alright.

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