Homeschooling has become an ugly word. It fills me with anxiety and dread. Picture: Pikrepo
Homeschooling has become an ugly word. It fills me with anxiety and dread. Picture: Pikrepo

Help! I can't find the balance between being a mom and a teacher

By Marchelle Abrahams Time of article published Apr 17, 2020

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It's three weeks into the lockdown. For our family of four cooped up inside the house, the fun has ended. The shrieks of laughter and impromptu dance moves have been replaced with outbursts of tears and many questions asking when will this end.

Reality has finally set in. I realise now that although I went in all guns blazing, I just can't manage working from home, being a comfort to my children, cooking, keeping the house clean, and keeping up to date with their daily lesson plans.

Homeschooling has become an ugly word. It fills me with anxiety and dread. Things have become so bad I've muted the parents' WhatsApp group that I'm part of out of fear my shortcomings as a parent will filter through.

My husband has taken on the extra task of going through the daily lessons with our 5th grader. My only job is to check his work every evening. I can't even do that. I dare not share my frustration with other parents, but I know there are others out there who feel the same way.

So, I went in search of answers.

Krsangi Radhe is an NLP practitioner, a certified women and children empowerment coach, time-line therapist and educator.

And like many parents, she knows the stress we're under in these uncertain times.

"As a teacher, mom and life-coach, I am juggling my mom and coaching duties at the same time. Many are in the same boat, with parents having to juggle working from home and managing children at the same time," says Radhe.

"How real has it become that meals are now clearly thought out and planned as a compulsory act (groceries have to be shopped for in advance) and filling up the days with activities to keep children busy are in the forefronts of our minds?"

Below, she offers some tips parents can use while keeping a healthy balance:

Have a set routine

Keeping a routine is super important. This now means establishing a new routine to suit the current climate. For children, routine offers comfort and for parents this will also offer some structure to the work-schedule. This may look and feel different within each home. The simple way to start your planner is to jot down meal times – this will then help fill in the blanks for the other times of day. 

Do not spend long hours preparing meals – keep the menu as you would on a normal work/school day. Once a routine is set, parents will then have an idea of how to structure their day, filling in meeting requests, deadlines and all else. This can also work vice versa on some days, when virtual meetings and conference calls are set in advance, then you plan the activities around that.

Talk to your child about your work from home routine

Talking to your child about the importance of being at home – in order to be safe, it's important. If you have an older child, she will be able to understand the responsibility of independence during the times that you have to be at your PC. Keep things practical during essential meetings / conference calls – whether it is offering a box of Lego pieces at that time or even some gaming time; however, be wary of not filling in the entire day with technology just to make things easier on your schedule. 

Remind your child that although you are more flexible and are at home, you are not on "holiday". Depending on the age of your child, you can also implement a "do not disturb hour" to allow you to make progress on the work-front. Should you have a younger child who requires your full attention, then it will be wise to share those details with the management of your work-place and also to make the necessary arrangements at home that can assist you in critical times.

Burn-out is real, especially when working from home

In order to avoid burn-out, breaks are necessary. Cooking, cleaning, childcare and work can all be tedious when done repeatedly for several days. Structure is key – and talking breaks to go outdoors into the garden, an afternoon walk or playing with a pet outside can bring in balance. Absorbing the sunshine and inhaling fresh air allows the mind and body to be in sync.

Meditation is also key during this time; do not think that you cannot meditate when you have a young child in your presence. I have seen it in my daily life, that if you engage with your child and explain that this is now "mediation time" which means "quiet time" – you will see how quickly your little one will get into the groove of this. 

Rewards work a charm

Rewarding a child is different from bribery. The old-fashioned star charts still work their magic. Sit with your child and discuss what is expected and what rewards are offered as well as how you will measure the expected results. Have clear guidelines (not rules) and allow for room for negotiation. Remember, the Covid-19 situation for your child is also scary, unsettling and alarming – so do not be hard and fast, but maintain the necessary boundaries. That is the balance a parent will need to create during this time – a successful way is to always communicate with your child and make her feel part of the plan.

Plan, plan, plan

In order to keep the home peaceful and calm, plan out the days carefully. Be mindful that the extended break from school and work-from home routine is just as new for your child, as it for you. Therefore, plan to have a busy day, with breaks, outdoor time, and find the inner balance through mediation and yoga. Keep the days full, with clear balance and harmony. It can certainly become overwhelming, but breathe and tweak the technique until you find clear direction as to what works for you and your child.

During the next two weeks Radhe will be offering practical tips on how parents can tackle homeschooling

Follow Krsangi Radhe on social media: @Sankalpa. Coaching with Krsangi Radhe and can be reached on: [email protected]

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