The Widowed Parent Home School…UK Lockdown

Firstly until we arrive at our new natural state I will not be posting Tuesday Tune Ups but I will be posting regularly about life in lockdown. I am available to chat to anyone in the same position too. My email is {info@hjtanner.com} if you want to get in touch.

SO the UK got the clampdown last night meaning that only essential services and movement are allowed. This was expected by most of us and a lot of people I know had already been following this lockdown mentality. Our schools closed on Friday and those of us who are not key workers are now at home with children.

Before the last public address my eldest who had been with me for most of the week returned to her father’s and so will be there for the duration which is at least three weeks. I already miss her and it isn’t even 9 am on the first day. As regards school work we are asking that she reads up on her A-level subjects. She got into her A-Levels at the 6th form she wanted so in this respect I am very grateful and can start in September if schools and colleges are able to re-open. However watching her finish her last year of her secondary school in the flash of two days was difficult. And then not being able to socialise with her friends from the weekend was so sad. But they have the tech, they have Facetime and Snapchat and whatever the heck else they do to keep up with each other. My youngest did not have such an important year and so watching him finish it was not so bad. He is hopefully still with the same classmates when they return and is seemingly happy with no school, one Pokemon go run a day and mummy ALL THE TIME.

Which leads me to the real point of the post. If like me you are now faced with lockdown and you are the only adult in your home. How on earth are you going to make it through and maintain good mental health? Chances are if you are widowed a while you may already be used to having no childcare, not going out, living on a basic pension amount, budgeting, limited social contact etc. I know I am. I’ve had two nights out in the last year. My mum visiting from afar was the only way I could do it. Pensions don’t cater for paying sitters regularly and my friends are mainly hands full with their own kids. So perhaps like me you are used to a restricted way of life. But either way, this is now an extreme set of circumstances and one in which we are all pushing to survive. But not having another adult in the home, not seeing the regular adults in your life outside the home … well this can be incredibly stressful and depressing. So what are we personally doing?

Firstly, not stressing about school work. I see a lot of parents following a stricter routine but I think to myself what I know from years of being in this position – don’t over reach. You will burn out within the first week and become grumpy and resentful. Not a very good role model for your kids. They need their parents or parent peaceful and able.

Living where we do – we can take this one walk a day very easily without seeing hardly a single soul which is a credit to our city as well with a large amount of green space available. When we go we walk along through the woods and out to the river. We take a look through the riverbed as often it throws up Victorian and Georgian fragments of pottery or clay pipes. My youngest thinks this is amazing and so we learn about formation of rivers, how to work out where they deposit their treasures and the history of the items washing up there. We learn about hedgerows what you can and can’t eat – technically best not to eat anything most of the time – and about country life to the best of my knowledge now having not lived in the country for 20 years. We are gardening, cooking a bit, cleaning, reading, playing games, crafting, doing online Maths and English but mainly taking it easy and ensuring all the basics are met. First the safety guidelines. Then food. Then bills and money. Then exercise and so on. I am also following my own interests and including my son in those. He has scripted his own basic games, coded a little, used Photoshop to design, I’ve set complicated tasks in Minecraft, we have produced our own books, written letters, made journals and scrapbooks, contemplated archery but because I have no safety arrows best stay apart from that for now, made models, printed off miniatures, played guitar and uke, built Lego etc. We have a little exercise and meditation routine planned and plenty of together vs individual time. For myself I am involved in a virtual reality environment community plus I have a Netflix list to catch up on, a garden to plan and much to write about. Obviously this will still be heavy, suffocating, frustrating and long. My child has already tried to strangle me with a blanket from behind whilst on a family Whatsapp call believing it to be hearty entertainment.

We are staying home and we are helping to save lives.

Please stay safe and well. Do let me know if you are in a similar position and like I said at the start if you need a chat please email me.

Love Heather X xxx

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