Exhaustion sets in

Face to face sessions at school may seem like a good idea and could be good for kids, but they mean adding chauffeur to an already long list of roles parents are performing simultaneously at the moment.



The summer holidays may present their own issues, but they can’t come soon enough after the face to face sessions of the last weeks.

Trying to work around the dropping-off and picking-up schedule has been an additional joy.

We live in a small village. Public transport is not great and so school sessions rely on parents being able to drop people. In this case me because my partner was not around. On Tuesday, I got up early to do work before waking the kids. I had to get one daughter to a half hour well being session at 9am.

The problem is the last one, also scheduled for half an hour meaning there was no point in going home in between [the school is 20 minutes away], lasted 1.5 hours. Which was great for my daughter as she needed it. I was stuck in the car park trying to work/”homeschool” on my phone with only son in the back. We completed a detective-based ‘fun’ activity about dogs and I gave him a quick rundown on isoscles triangle angles while checking work email. My daughter came out at 10ish, just seconds before I had a work conference call.

Call completed, 20 minutes later, I set off for home, touching base with daughter three who was at home and due in for a two-hour catch-up session on art. “Are you up and ready to go?” I said. “The turnaround time is going to be tight.” I feel like I am operating a fully fledged shuttle service, but one which also involves doing another full-time job at the same time in addition to “homeschooling”.

I whooshed in, checked emails, gave daughter three a pep talk [she is fairly anxious about all things school, understandably given all she has been through lately] and headed for her school. I passed by the spot the week earlier when she had a one-hour well being session where I did a conference call in the car with poor reception and a thunderstorm because my partner, who was due to take her, was suddenly called into work. Where, I thought, are the well being sessions for parents (and would I have time for them if they existed)?

I headed home to a bereavement counselling session, picked up daughter three who said going to school was a complete waste of time although she is also fearful about falling behind, had a long debate with only son about why it was better to just do the English homework than spend hours complaining about it and then worked almost non-stop until midnight with a brief break to make dinner.

But at least I have a job. Every day new redundancies are announced and colleagues laid off. And still there is no end in sight to all of this. The only thing to do is to focus on getting through each day and to edge slowly forward into the unknown.

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