I don't think I will ever forget the feeling I had after that very first day of homeschooling and isolation. I thought the day had gone alright but all of a sudden realised that this wasn't a few-days reality. People were talking about "at least 6 months". We had no idea when or how it would end, I felt both scared and frustrated.
I had recently started running my business since moving back to Sydney and everything was finally "settled", after a huge year of decisions and changes moving from London.
Since being a mum I've always worked on my balance (if that even exists), it is part of the reasons why I quit my full-time job, and decided to run my business doing what I love and work as a freelancer. I treasure my time with the boys more than anything, but homeschooling and not being able to work at all are things that had never crossed my mind!
I am grateful that over the last years I have been working on acceptance, this was definitely an opportunity to put it into practise. Those first-day feelings only lasted that night. I committed myself to not only get used to the new normal, but to fall in love with this and see it as an opportunity (is this crazy?). The next morning I put on my mummy/teacher hat and started to become what the situation demanded from me, and what my kids needed.
And I loved it. Especially those first weeks of lockdown worked so nicely for us, Matias was a delightful boy to teach, Ben seemed the happiest having his brother home and doing projects all day, and Carlos and I worked great as a team, helping each other to have their own time, enjoying the slow pace and being in the best attitude for our family. We had school holidays in the middle and I even managed to do a personal project capturing local families during isolation: The Driveway Project. If you would have told me about this before, I would have thought things were going to be very different. It's amazing what unexpected situations can do to people.
Of course, our Coronavirus experience would have been very different if we were on a different part of the world. I am grateful and don't give a minute for granted the fact that we are in Australia and how things developed here, the fact that we were always allowed to go out to exercise and that it didn't get as bad or as long as in other countries. My respect and admiration to mums around the world that weren't able to go out with their kids at all for many days, and also those juggling full-time jobs from home with the kids around.
After 9 weeks the school re-opened for everyone full-time last week, and I couldn't be more grateful. Yes, I believe we made it work and enjoyed our time together at home, but the reality is that we all needed our space, our experiences, and our friendships. Especially in the last 2 weeks, I was feeling very anxious, the constant interruptions every time I tried to seat in front of the computer, the worries around the virus back home (Venezuela), and the frustration for not being able to work and keep my business going took a big part in it.
The morning rush and the busy weekends are back again, but I've always aimed for a slower pace in my life and I now see clearer what it can look like and how we can benefit from it, as a family and as a society.
Going forward, I would like to keep our slow walks with nowhere to go or being expected at a certain time, stopping as many times as the kids wanted to appreciate nature, the days at home being fully present without the distractions of somewhere to be or someone coming over. I can only hope that this feeling is here to stay, not only for me but on others, that in the midst of getting our "freedom" again we won't stop appreciating what we give for granted, valuing what matters and working on being more present in our relationships.