I thought it only right to start my latest blog post this way……. It has been over 6 months since I last had the energy, time, mental capacity or patience to write a blog post. I have thought about it and considered it so many times but the constant yo-yo of lockdowns, the government-enforced unchosen role of home schooler, my job, mothering, COVID-19 and my house now mean that I have so many unedited and unpublished blogs behind the scenes that I have no choice but to kick myself into gear!
The past few months have been such a journey of self-love and self-discovery. The boys and I enjoyed the summer as best we could. All our travel plans were cancelled, but we had days out to Birchmere lake, crazy golf, Oxleas wood – taking along our magnifying glasses, scavenger sheets and a picnic. Just being outside in the sun with space to run and explore was a blessing. I also finished my CIPD Level 5 in HR management and ILM Level 5 in management. In September, with Ru at school and Ri in nursery, I found my groove. I established a new love and gratefulness for working from home. I began to appreciate the extra time I had to meditate before starting work and that I could cook dinner as soon as I finished, before collecting the boys. I was dating someone (that’s another blog post), but we had a schedule and were navigating our lives within the boundaries of the pandemic. I had even increased my personal training sessions to include a weekly lunchtime slot in addition to my Sunday morning. I was running faster, lifting heavier, had greater stamina and lots more energy.
Christmas came, everything was cancelled again, I tested positive for COVID-19 along with Ru. I had symptom, Ru had none. I was fatigued, breathless with a head full of migraine. My worse nightmare had become my reality: having to care for two children when ill, with no support. The demands were real but so was the dehydration, it was extremely difficult to keep my energy levels up. The boys were meant to go to their dad’s for Christmas, but this was not longer an option. Just when I was wondering, ‘What’s next?’, the government forced me to become a teacher despite me having no experience or ever studied for it. I’m now wondering what other professions the government will open up to unqualified people?
I have always admired those who go into teaching, because it means you are passionate about what you do. You have to be – let’s get real most of my friends who are teachers work about 50 hours a week (planning, delivering, marking, meetings, parents’ evenings), I have probably underestimated it. There is no overtime pay, it’s just expected. School may take me only 39 weeks of the year but teachers work many of the holidays too. Then there is the fact they have the patience to deal with other people’s kids, not matter how disrespectful the child (or parent) may be. My hope is that everyone will have an appreciation for teachers after the experiences many have had of home-schooling.
Which brings me to the present. I have just had a much-needed week off work to be able to pay full attention to my boys without Google classrooms or a Teams meeting. We have been to the park, baked, decluttered, read, built Lego, played with Wakanda (our kitten) and it has been absolutely amazing. I really needed this time as I think without even being aware, I was exhausted, physically and mentally. I meditate daily and, despite it providing the space to stop, it’s not enough time to reset. My time off at Christmas was for recovery, and prior to that I cannot remember the last time I had a week off work. My focus this month has been on self-love and I cannot think of a bigger act than stopping, having a rest, turning off and being in the present. My lodger and I constantly discuss the expectation to be constantly available when you are working from home and this has to be one of the negative aspects of our new work culture. But we have to listen to ourselves and love ourselves enough to defend ourselves from practices that will have a detrimental long-term impact.
So, what act of self-love are you going to do for yourself today?