Balancing work and Schooling from home

I’m sure I’m not alone on here in struggling to get the right balance.

Trying to continue to get the day job done and support the kids to learn from home during the latest UK Lockdown is hard!

Week one, I really felt I was getting it all wrong. Anxiety in all directions. I was being loud and grumpy with my family and failing to help the kids learn. I was distracted and stressed at work.

I was doing late nights desperately clinging on to continuing my own personal development. Then being tired and grumpy the next day.

I has an awfully 1-2-1 with my manager. An unusual episode for me.

I was, not OK.

I spoke to my friends at work and my tester friends. I’ve spoken to my kids, I’ve spoken to my wife.

This week has started better. I’ve accepted I won’t be able to “do all the things well” and I’ve done what I can to reduce scope and sequence expectations. I made better progress at work, I made times for the kids.

I gave apologies to my friends and didn’t goto my usual Monday night D&D. This gave me time to eat tea with the family and bake cookies with the kids after.

I had a good chat with my Mum, who is in a childcare bubble with us and was able to offer some support from next week. Thanks Mum!

Things are still not OK, I’m not OK. But I’m better then I was last week and I’m slowly starting to take control of what I can. As such I’m feeling less out of control.

Thanks for listening, here is a medal for making it this far. :medal_sports:

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Very honest there Ben. You’ve done really well I think to acknowledge and try to make this very weird situation a little better within just a week - I know folk battling on anti-depressants and signed off work right this minute because they couldn’t admit they couldn’t cope in the first and second lockdowns.

Part of me gets why we’re in this situation, understands it’s for the best and knows it isn’t forever. Another part of me feels cheated. When I became a parent I didn’t sign up for this, this expectation wasn’t part of the deal! :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread for any tips people have. For me, I’ve said no to more stuff than ever (community and work related) and am finding everyone very understanding, even if it leaves me frustrated as hell to not be able to work on it if I’m honest!) There have also been the odd school task that’s slipped through the net (I have a 4 year old and we got 9 bits of info yesterday :weary:).

Let me know if there’s a testers hangout:- home schooling edition and I’m there (as long as you don’t mind interruptions haha)

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Just read this today’s work for my eldest (6yo, year 2). 32 pages of it.

If I wasn’t working and I had only one child I couldn’t hope to get it all done.

Nevermind with the backlog of unfinished related work on the same topic from the last week.

It doesn’t help they are releasing it 8am in the morning so no time to prep the night before.

Still haven’t even uploaded any of the past work yet. Teachers are getting antcy not hearing from people. So more pressure.

Don’t be fooled, I’ve made some small improvements in a week but things are still not stable. And this isn’t my first episode of being angry/grumpy with stress and anxiety. Lot’s more to be done. I know some of it I don’t even see, I’m sure my wife and kids put up with my then I notice.

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Pretty sure that half of any class has either got kids with disengaged parents, or kids who have no wifi and have to loan mums work laptop. I really do feel for anyone with kids who are not able to do this for themselves and already independent - the amount of spam mail I get from my sons school is incredible, I hate email. You can probably install the schools app on your phone, and at that point, it helps your child, but it wont help your mental health with all of the notifications. And even without having to do with this for my son, since he is pretty organised, I still feel drained and tired.

Kids need real facetime, they are missing out on so much playtime it’s a crime. And… even though I wish I could help people with their wifi problems, it’s frustrating because I cannot go into peoples homes right now.

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This is a very lovely open and honest post, and something that I think needs to be talked about more, so thank you for that @bencf1

There is such inconsistency of content coming out of schools, from the sound of it. I know it can’t be easy for anyone involved.

My boys have three Zoom calls each a day, and we printed off all their worksheets on Sunday night for the week and there were over 120 of them!!

It sounds like you are doing the right things by talking about it with others, and importantly with your family.

Not only is it ok to not be ok, frankly it’s be expected right now.

I considered blogging about how I am coping in this pandemic, but I don’t think that would really help, as I’m barely coping as it is.

The only tips beyond talking about things is to try and get dressed, go outside everyday, drink lots of water and find some time for yourself to do something that you find comforting. If then you have enough energy to do a side-project or personal dev, then go for it!!

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I don’t have kids and I know there’s a HUGE difference when you have them, but I experienced anxiety even before this pandemic and I can tell you it’s super difficult to deal with it on your own!

it’s ok not to be ok but if you get cold you don’t talk to your family members and friends, you go to a doctor. The least the doctor would do for you is to give you some time to rest cause you need it, or maybe the doctor prescribes you some medicine for a limited amount of time until you get your strength back.

Please, please, please, think of your mental health as your physical health, ask a professional for help. There’s a HUGE difference I guarantee.

It’s a very difficult time and we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves trying to figure out everything on our own cause that would just make it more difficult.

And I have to say you made it this far so you deserve a medal yourself :medal_military:

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Fair play Ben and others for this thread. Really grateful that we don’t all need to feel alone with the struggles.

I have to say, I’m so hugely glad that my wife is a primary school teacher who hasn’t worked since we had kids. My eldest has Autism and potential Dysgraphia which makes writing a complete block for him, even though he is highly intelligent. We have the support in place for him in school, but the teacher is currently not adapting work for him to make it accessible so my wife is doing 2-3 hours a night of prep for the following day to make the day of school tasks engaging, interactive and enjoyable for both my 6yr old and 4yr old.

I’m not sure what we would’ve done if my wife was working too. My work has been full on, 7 hrs of meetings most days, meaning i get a lunch break if i’m lucky, and I have been rubbish at helping out with the home schooling.

This week i’ve tried to block out my calendar more and help take one of the boys on for a few tasks and i’ve been doing their PE with them and reading with the eldest. But this is hard work balancing it all and we are all managing to do what we can to survive.

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One thing that has helped us is that I make the kids a packed lunch each morning when doing breakfasts so that we can just put it in front of them at lunch time while we get our lunch and prep for the afternoon activities…

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Hey Ben - I love this thread - I think loads of people are finding it tough with kids at home (and also those that don’t).
I haven’t got a complete solution, but I’ll share what’s helping me this week.

  • English and Maths core skills to keep up - anything else can be dropped
  • Kids seem to be most active in the morning - so I tend to do the majority in the morning and then afternoon is chill time (where I can get some work done).
  • Be open with your partner, family and friends on how you are feeling - my mum has offered to help us, but we have decided not to take them up on their offer to keep them safe - my mum and sister checks in on me daily
  • I have a pre-day meeting with my husband now - we talk through what meetings we have on for the day and swap going into the study
  • Relax on gaming/screen time - we need a break and it keeps them happy
  • Afternoon movie and popcorn.
  • Make food/healthy snacks/drinking enough a priority - I find moods change if there’s not enough energy in the stomach.
  • Get the kids active (and yourself) in the fresh air once during the day

I’m always open for any chats/google hangouts/listening to rants - so if anyone needs one, then reach out.

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