Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Before the Covid-19 Pandemic swallowed the world up and spat it back out, I was a parent with very little patience. Every day I ushered my children out of bed, barked at them to get dressed and panicked as we made our way to school, worried about missing the 8:40am deadline. I held my breath whenever my children coughed or sneezed, determined not to break our 100% attendance record like it was an olympic gold medal I needed to hold on to.
I didn’t take my children out of school during term time, the worry of how damaging that might be to their education was etched into my mine like a tattoo on my skin. I stood at the school gates and bitched alongside like minded parents about the ridiculous amount of homework the kids were being asked to do, the reading level they were at and the dreaded emails and newsletters I couldn’t keep up with.
School was a rat race and it was eating away at my life but most importantly, at my relationship with my children. It had changed my well meaning parenting style into something entirely different, I just couldn't see it until we went into lockdown.
By nature, I've always been a believer. I believe in romance, the impossible, in having the ability to achieve anything if you put your mind to it. I truly believe life is too short and thought I had a good grip on that concept until I realised I didn't. Lockdown brought me the patience I had been seeking for years. I hadn't realised what an impatient, scowling mother I had become. I was one of the first during a school holiday to say "I can't wait for the kids to go back to school". But the reality was my children were doing nothing wrong. Once the peripheral day to day grind of dragging the kids out of bed, getting ready for school, rushing to beat the traffic, trying to squeeze in work before picking them up again, and then racing to get dinner done before one or both of my boys had to be at some important after-school class, I discovered a path of patience I didn't know existed.
I quickly realised that I could enjoy my children. I started to see their true personalities and by no longer being in the domestic daily doldrums, I realised I missed my children and that I didn't't want to ever go back to that rat race again. I can honestly say that not once during lockdown, did I wish my children were back at school. Having my boys home with me made me realise that school life was dragging our family down and ruining the bonds between us. Snapping at the children because they haven't finished their homework yet, or because they are taking their time tying their shoes laces when your desperate to get out of the door, was not their fault. It was a product of an imperfect system where emphasis is put on rigid routines and achieving, rather than freedom and being able to flourish in the strengths you already have.
My decision to homeschool was born very quickly during the lockdown of 2020. Since then, my patience may have wavered from time to time, but it has never been the struggle it once was. I feel less stressed which in turn, makes me a better mother. I listen more, I see more, I understand more and I appreciate more. How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed your parenting style? I would love to know! Please drop me a comment.