We wrote a blog earlier in the pandemic discussing the McKinsey article with a shocking fact – 1in4 women were considering downsizing their careers or leaving the workforce.
One of the three communities most at risk are mothers. Prior to Covid-19, women often worked a ‘second’ shift, bearing the primary responsibility for childcare and housework when they return home from paid work. According to research, in heterosexual marriages women were statistically more likely to take on the majority of childcare and housework, even when both partners work full-time. Homeschooling during the pandemic has led many women to work this ‘second shift’ simultaneously with their normal paid work. In our conversations with women, many have shared they have struggled over the last few months.
Whilst there is thankfully light at the end of the tunnel now with children returning to school on the 8th March 2021, we wanted to capture this moment in time and give women a voice. A couple of our wonderful community members shared their thoughts on the questions below, if you would like to submit your story too – feel free to complete the form at the bottom of the page!
- How would you describe your experience of homeschooling during the pandemic?
My experience of home schooling has been mixed. On the one hand, I get to spend time with my daughter, learn what she is good at and her areas of development. Providing her with 1-to-1 support I can only see as a benefit. However, I’m not a teacher and I get frustrated sometimes if she doesn’t understand things which makes me feel awful but makes me even more grateful for the work teachers do. It’s been difficult to juggle both for sure, but thankfully my work are very supportive and I can take some days off to balance things out a bit better. Another hurdle I’ve faced is that my daughter is with me 50% of the time and 50% with her dad so co-parenting and making sure things are being done in the same way is just another thing to think about on top of everything else. I think we’re doing OK considering!
- What has been your biggest challenge(s)?
Spreading myself too thin. Thinking I can do it all, and then realising at the end of the day, I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I am not a super hero haha, so definitely my own stubbornness and will to do everything has been my biggest challenge. Alongside just not having enough time in the day.
Juggling working, overseeing learning and actual teaching.
- Have you seen any benefits/silver linings?
Yes! Although it’s been hard, it’s also been great having her at home, learning together. Seeing her achieve things and feel good about it. Me learning things as well and just doing something different.
Not so early starts and a lot less running around which I love.
- Do you have any top tips that have helped you during this time?
Have a plan – I don’t have access to my daughter’s full timetable, it’s only released daily but if I can get my diary in order this helps massively. If you’re able to work flexibly, block out windows during the morning or afternoon or mix it up. The activities that I know she can do on her own will be times when I have to manage a task so it’s just about being really organised.
Another thing for me is if you’re finding it hard to fit exercise in, get up and do it first thing, before anyone is up. Exercise for me is incredibly important so I just make sure to get up and get it done. I set my mat up the night before, put my clothes out, then as soon as the alarm goes, I do my walk, then when I get back, I’m warmed up ready for exercise, with my mat there good to go. It’s all about the prep!
Try not to think big picture, my kids are resilient and will hopefully catch up academically and socially.
- What would you say to others that are homeschooling right now?
Just do what you can. Children learn in lots of different ways, so even if you don’t manage all their time tabled activities, getting out in the fresh, play, crafting, baking, and educational programmes are all still good alternatives and help with life skills. I’d also suggest seeing what help there is through your work. At the end of the day, one maths lesson doesn’t mean they fail at life. So, don’t sweat it – it’s only temporary!
Look after yourself. Try to be happy/ upbeat or at least not angry/ depressed/ stressed. Children feed off what you’re feeling.
If you would like to add your perspective, you can use the Google Form here
We wish you all the best over the coming weeks as we all readjust to the next phase. Just remember some of the advice above, just do what you can and make sure to look after yourself!
If you are feeling like you need some support to become more resilient, please reach out to us. We would love to help!