Hello PPMA friends

Like many parents, Lucy Flint from our good friends and sponsor Crown Commercial Service is trying to be a supermum during this lockdown. She shares with us some hints, tips and coping strategies to help both children and their parents.

‘Good morning, parents! Just a little message from me – this week will be tougher. Last week was a novelty and the children would have wanted to engage in learning because it was different, you were full of energy and creativity! But now it’s week 2 and perhaps reality has set in that this is how it’s going to be and we don’t know how long for. So don’t worry. If they want to do some maths, great! If not, do something else.
You love your kids, I love mine, but there are times that you swear under your breath at them and wonder how many minutes until Gin o’clock! It’s normal. You’re ok. There’s no pressure. Just be yourselves and ride the storm. And it’s not that long until gin o’clock, I promise!
Take care of yourselves and those amazing children of yours,
Mrs C xx’

When I received this a week ago today at 9am from my Daughter’s teacher, I felt this was definitely a message I wanted to share.

I started that first week determined I was going to be Supermum! The metaphorical superhero outfit was donned; I was going to home-school, bake, garden, do my job, be brilliant at it all and make the family feel that being ‘trapped’ was going to be super fun!

By the end of the week my superhero pants were metaphorically on my head, the toaster had quite literally blown up nearly setting fire to the kitchen, the dog had dug half of my partner’s perfectly manicured lawn up (stripes included), I had turned into a cleaning Godzilla and my 9 year old was basically binge-watching the Simpsons. But one thing I know I achieved along with all of you working parents out there…

I WAS brilliant!

It’s OK not to be OK

It’s hard to know what to do sometimes isn’t it as a parent? We see all these amazing ideas and posts on social media; fantastic lesson plans and home school set-ups, bright and colourful rainbows produced in windows. All a reminder to those of us who are just struggling to ‘embed’ into this new life, of what it seems society thinks we should be doing and how we should be doing it.

If I can ask any of you who also feel this creeping anxiety to just take a step back and observe a few points for a moment.

Point 1 – for every significant new school or academic change, students have a period of about a month in which the learning establishment gives them time (and activities) designed for them to adapt.

Point 2 – social media is mostly about glamour – we inform teenagers of this fact so we must remember this ourselves.

Point 3 – we are all grieving… the temporary loss of our society as we knew it, our social lives and to a great extent our freedom. It is therefore more important than ever to give yourself a chance to slow down, notice how you are.

Overall it is not reality that we are living in at the moment; this is a temporary situation. We are all good parents and a good parent knows deep down that we don’t have to be the best. Just as we remind our children that individuality should be embraced, we also need to practise what we preach. Above all it’s OK not to be OK and to just take the time to get our heads around this imposed change.

There are some free Mindfulness sessions provided by PPMA streaming live every day at 7.45am. They are also available to watch ‘on demand’via the PPMA website.

Remember be kind to yourself or you will be no use to others and those that need you most!

My ‘cheating’ education tips

So what have I been doing with my 9 year old (who is also teaching me a thing or two about myself and Maths)?

9am: Parents save yourself half an hour first thing to sit and plan your survival techniques for the day – utilise PE with Joe Wicks –  (all ages) if you want to exercise get involved too or don’t, or do 15 mins and bail out (because an urgent call has just come in…. whatever) ☺

Morning activity: Family tree project – get Grandma and Grandpa involved with some phone calls on the family history, it gets them talking and interacting and takes the pressure off you for 45 mins (if you’re lucky like my little girl she has Great Grandparents too). This can bring in older children as they can help the younger ones as they also find it interesting and not too childish.

12pm: Every day my little girl has a ‘conference call’ with all of her classmates and they just talk silliness for 40 mins. They use a conference facility called Zoom and apparently it allows them to draw pictures together – again this is not putting on you and all ages can do this to still interact together.

PM activity: This may unfortunately not apply to everyone as you may not have animals (if not freestyle with another fun activity) but we have a Working Cocker Spaniel who is 11 months old and VERY trainable. Charlotte is tasked with teaching him a new trick every week. It’s very funny to watch!

Older Children: Read the Diary of Anne Frank, start a journal and document history, this will be studied by future generations.

We will end with some other examples of fun and humour from some of my working parent friends:

“Muuuuum Lincoln told me to experiment for science and put my hand in the toaster, will it burn?” 

“My daughter and son asked me to help them with fractions so I got out a wine bottle and an empty glass to demonstrate”

As a wise man said recently, this is a marathon not a sprint. Every one of us will get to the same destination via our own individual journey.

So tonight (gasp…and it’s a school night too!!) raise a glass with me to all of us working parents. WE ARE ALL ACE-ING THIS!”

Lucy Flint, Commercial Solutions Partner, Crown Commercial Service