Mums juggling work and homeschooling, children paying the price

Even though it has been a big struggle to work and homeschool my 4 year old, I thought I was managing ok…..until today. My son was playing at being me, and said some hard truths.

As a creative activity I helped him to make a laptop from a cardboard box, to make it educational I encouraged him to make the keyboard and write all the letters he could remember, and in the screen he drew a picture of mummy and daddy, when he finished, he asked if he could borrow my headset as he had a few meetings, so I gave it to him. We were having a good time, and he asked me to be the voice on the other side of his meeting, I was supposed to be “the boss”. He was telling the boss that he had been doing a lot of work, and that his kids didn’t have school or nursery today, but he had a lot of meetings, so they had to play by themselves all day, he said again “I have meetings, meetings, meetings”.

I didn’t want to play anymore. I just felt like crying there and then, but I put my best face on and carried on as he was having fun, he typed some letters on his new keyboard, and then asked me to be the voice again. This time, he starting by saying to the boss “sshhhhh, don’t talk too loud, my kids are in bed so I have to work all night” and then he pretended to fall asleep during the call.

This really finished me off. A couple of weeks ago, he was getting into the habit of not wanting to go to bed, and kept calling me after I had left his room, with any and every excuse. He has always been a very good sleeper, so this was quite out of character, I guess he wasn’t tired enough to sleep. After a few days of the same, I told him that I really needed him to stay in bed, as once he went to bed I had to do a lot more work. He asked me when was I going to sleep, and I just said “mummy doesn’t sleep very much”, he seemed to understand and went to bed without anymore fuss.

I’m an engineer and have a quite demanding job, and with the start of this lockdown I had to reduce my hours and I was told that I could work flexible hours, but how do you work around something that takes all day?

Today I feel exhausted and heartbroken. My boy is always quite cheerful and seems happy, but today I realised that inside he is a little broken now, he feels I don’t give him enough attention and he sees mummy is struggling and very tired, and worse of all, he probably feels a bit hopeless, he stopped asking when the virus is going away, he has given up on that one.

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