Motherhood: Anyone seen the plot?

Week 47089 of lockdown, time is irrelevant, the ticking of the dining room clock is a mocking call to arms, a reminder that once I had places to be and a timetable I enjoyed.

Now, the seconds plod on and the groundhog in my soul is gnawing gently on all the things I used to think were important. Work? Nope. School? Nah. Doing fun stuff? Excuse me but what is that? My child has morphed into that weird bloke in Shallow Grave who lives in the walls. I think she still lives with us, food is disappearing, but we’ve had no interaction in days.

My cats are utterly sick of being stroked. Craft projects have been abandoned and the early days of having a clean house have long been forgotten. So how is everyone doing?!

I’m well aware that I’m in the lucky category of furloughed workers, so I still have a small income and no immediate childcare issues. I know this and I’m grateful, but the days are long and unfulfilling and the sense of achievement that was getting through a busy day is very much missed.

“It requires a mental energy to teach her an engaging lesson, and I simply do not have it at the moment.”

I’m lucky to be bored, but bored is what I am. Even writing this is like wading through treacle. My child is happy enough to potter about all day, playing Minecraft and Roblox with her pals, but I know I should be doing more school work with her and I clearly have the time. It requires a mental energy to teach her an engaging lesson, and I simply do not have it at the moment.

We do practical things together like baking and lots of artwork, but when it comes to multiplying fractions I’m hoping that being a few months behind at school isn’t a deal-breaker at the age of 8. I’m hoping that in 10 years her university application doesn’t say ‘I’d be good at fractions but my mum didn’t have the energy to teach me during lockdown’ or if it does, I hope the admissions clerk thinks of me and sympathises.

There must be other parents who have reached a plateau of what to do every day. This morning her lesson is ‘art’ (colouring in a Harry Potter picture) and then we will move onto science later (baking scones from a packet). It’s something and nothing.

We are together and healthy, and for now that will have to do. I hope you all are too.


Comments (2)

  • I’m not a parent, but I was homeschooled my entire life until I went to six-form and I can tell you now that baking, crafting, artwork and any other kind of practical skill you choose to engage with at this time will be fondly remembered and used every day. I’m sure my mother taught me maths and other school things but the lessons I really remember are the ones like you’ve mentioned…. How to make shortbread without a recipe, how to sew a button on a doll’s outfit or how to paint a room or do other DIY. You’re doing great, there’s maths in baking remember 😉. Keep it up xxx

  • Recognised a lot of what you say, especially the mental energy thing. The internet is overflowing with ideas for fun and engaging things to do with my schooling-resistant son, but given I don’t have time to read them properly until after 10 at night, actually sourcing the materials and planning to do them is a different matter.

    Your daughter will pick up the maths again, and everything else she’s meant to have been doing at school – they will all catch up on the academic side. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job on the emotional side, which is everything we can ask of parents.

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