HELLO to all of you beautiful people!
We really do hope and trust you are holding up during this ISO life!
We are soaking up the last few days of school holidays before routine (or somewhat of a routine) kicks back in with school resuming (eeeek… it’s all happening from home!)
With 3 kids (all quite spread apart in age) it was over the Christmas break that I began to notice a shift in our family dynamics.
I was beginning to see what felt like the age gap stretch out even more (even though in real time that is not possible!) with a high schooler now in play.
The ‘normalcy’ that we were used to with navigating family activities (keeping them entertained so to speak), as well as having all of our kids at night time in bed somewhat ‘early-ish’ made for a known pattern of behaviour. I mean we have been doing this parenting gig for over a decade now, which meant to some degree we knew how each day would play out (so we thought anyway!)
But nothing quite prepared us for this massive shift, when activities are no longer appealing to everyone in the family and the 7pm bedtime routine was starting to go down like a lead balloon! I mean truth be told… I wanted my highschooler to experience the fun had (esp over the holidays) ‘after hours’ once the little ones were in bed (like I had at her age like board games, cups of tea and chats), but all of a sudden it brought with it some natural adjustments.
And this is where my good friend Kirsty (yes a different Kirsty from the other blog) puts pen to paper and makes sense of all of my wonderings of this season.
Kirsty writes from the heart and I love her honesty and rawness! It couldn’t be more relatable!
Over to Kirsty…….
Life and 2020 certainly looks different to what I had planned in my head (and our wall calendar)! New Year, fresh start, one small person (not so small and now towering over me!) starting high school and tween daughter who finds new ways to push boundaries every day. Holidays were booked for the year, camping dates planned with friends, my 13 year old’s birthday party invites sent out and then….the world threw a curve ball, Mother Nature sent us to our rooms to think about things and we all had to work out what the ‘new norm’ was!
Social Media became an ‘iso mum brag’ of how amazing it was to stay home, all the craft and cooking you get to do, the amazing bonding time you have with your kids…so I planned our to-do list, organised the activities and the ‘family’ time that we would be embracing, wrote a schedule for home schooling and juggling full time work, I’ve ‘got this’, I mean I work full time, have my own business, love DIY jobs and can plan and schedule to a T…surely it can’t be that hard….
Let’s just say reality kicked in, about 3 days in! Why did my kids NOT want to do craft? Cook with me? Tick off the things on MY to-do list? Why don’t you want to sit around and do a puzzle, tackle the cupboards in your room or repaint the fence all whilst completing your online learning modules from your teachers? I was soooo confused!
STOP. BREATHE. SLOW DOWN and LISTEN!
Things I have learnt in the last 4 weeks…
1. My kids are their own people now, they aren’t little kids who need entertaining…they have their own opinions (I know WHAT, who would have thought), their own agenda for how their day rolls and what THEY think is important. I just needed to refine MY ideas and expectations and negotiating skills. Simple…mmmm let’s just say this is a work in progress. Balancing parenting and isolation. We are getting there! I have tried bribery, removal of devices, offering to pay them to help me hahahaha!
2. I need my people. Whilst that has been in the form of zoom ‘meetings’, online chats, emails and FaceTime for those who aren’t close by, I have also discovered what my parents and grandparents already knew – it takes a village! I have been exceptionally blessed that in the last 2 years (after living in our house for 12 years!) that this amazing ‘pod’ of humans have moved in! Sharing photos, memes, stories, wins/losses and banter on social media messenger and text has well and truly cemented how amazing it is to live in the hood! OUR hood! Being creative with how we ‘meet’ on street and ‘uber’ eats deliveries of home cooked goodies over the fence or door -to-door deliveries have meant a constant… but social distancing aware return of cleaned coffee cups, bowls and plates!
3. I need timeout! Last weekend, I put myself in timeout! As strange as that sounds, I needed to recognise that my routine, my norm, my world had changed, just as much as the kids! So…. I ‘voted myself off the island’ and found a quiet spot (aka I shut my bedroom door and retreated with a game of rescue baby bees on my phone!). I now recognise the frustration I am feeling about the whole situation and MY need to be busy and I am channelling that to complete MY to-do list of painting and resealing and cleaning, alone…with my headphones in! It has also given me time to reflect on how the kids must be feeling, isolated from their norm, their friends, school and sport!
4. I am not a teacher! My sister in law messaged me the other week with some amazingly wise words – she is a teacher herself and I was starting to hyperventilate about all the balls I was juggling. ‘From the moment your kids were born, you’ve been their teacher’. Don’t let the current situation overwhelm you. This is just a blimp in their long lives and at the end of the day education means creating a safe, happy and healthy environment and learning will happen naturally! Have faith in yourself and whatever you do with your kids is ‘teaching’ them something!’ Thank you, Kath! She is an exceptionally wise human, that helped put things in perspective!
5. There are no rules! Every family is different, every child/parent relationship is different, everyone’s situation is different! Take it from someone who is a control freak, has a little (ok possible a lot) of OCD, needs a plan, a direction and schedule, this is testing me! Curve balls coming from everywhere! What works for your family is YOUR norm! Don’t compare yourself to others! Sit still and listen to your kids, talk with your partner, reach out to friends. Remember that everyone is in the same boat…we are all trying to stay afloat!
I’m not a teacher, I’m not super crafty, I mean I’m not even an amazing cook BUT I am a mum, a wife, a friend, a sister, a niece, an aunt and I am ME! Trying to work out which way is up, taking those deep breaths (and having loads of coffee in the process), negotiating with my kids, trying to find the ‘new norm’ and learning new life lessons every day! School term starts on Monday! All I can say…
is WE HAVE ALL GOT THIS!
Omgosh!! Well those words just lept off the page for me!! I personally love how genuine + personable they are!
Thank you thank you thank you Kirsty for being so open and so real! I know that if x2 girls from the block are feeling the same... then I'm sure they are many more out there that will benefit from hearing your experience!
It might not feel like it at the moment if your kids are still little, but kids really do grow up in the 'blink of an eye' and this is such a timely reminder to enjoy every season... even these ones where they're not so little anymore, but they're not too big either!
We hope you are enjoying our 'In the Hood' blog series about 'Surviving ISO with the Girls next door'. Stay tuned! We've still got x1 more blog to come about heading back to 'home' school for the first part of term 2!