HOW are we all doing? Sometimes we ask this to make idle chit-chat but at the moment I feel like we actually mean it.
I don’t think anybody is finding 2020 a breeze. Each day is simultaneously bringing firsts, new normals and, now, threatening severe monotony.
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For those of us with young children at home our “normal” right now seems to come with a new job that I know I feel massively under qualified for and that I definitely did not apply for.
It was only last week, on our last pick up from school before it closed indefinitely that the task ahead of us suddenly loomed so large, and very real. A mum just burst into tears as she felt like she didn’t know how to hold it all together to be “enough”.
How to protect her child from the scary news, how to educate her enough, how to work and still keep herself sane – all at once, and constantly. I wish I had been able to offer her some comfort, some wisdom but all I had was that we were all feeling the same, we were in it together and to just focus on each day as it comes.
One of the most difficult parenting issues I am finding right now is figuring out a way to explain this unprecedented time to my children, without scaring the living daylights out of them.
Do we lie? Do we let them watch Boris Johnson’s solemn broadcasts? There is no right or wrong answer. It depends completely on a child’s age and emotional understanding.
I personally try to be as honest and frank as I can be and talk in facts. Of course, I’m not talking about waking them at 6am every morning with the latest death toll.
But I explain that there is a germ at the moment that has spread really quickly and we have to do all we can to stop spreading it around so that people don’t get poorly.
I emphasise to them that it’s all about teamwork and we have to do our bit. I talk about ways they think we could stop germs, by washing our hands properly and “catching” our sneezes.
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I reassure them that we have brave doctors and nurses who are looking after all the poorly people, and clever scientists working hard to find a cure.
But for now, I explain that our days will be a different kind of normal for a while.
I follow an Instagram account called @upworthy which posts positive news and have been sharing some of it with the kids, like a video of doctors from across the globe stepping off a plane in Italy to help hospitals there.
Another video was of people who had turned scuba masks into oxygen masks and delivered them to hospitals.
I’ve found that sharing all the things people around the world are doing to help – finding the positives – is a way to let the light break through the dark and show a little sunshine. It is what we need.
Ultimately, we are all doing our best. Don’t compare yourself to others as what works for some may not for you.
Getting through the days when they feel like weeks is tough for us all.
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