My Parenting Nightmare – No School For Term 2 In Victoria

I don’t know about anyone else but I am finding parenting at the moment incredibly stressful, not least because I know we are about to have at least a couple of months with zero break from it. And not just that, but are somehow meant to homeschool and work as well.

The school “holidays” are just finishing here in Victoria and they weren’t too bad for us. Mainly because I made use of our school’s holiday care program so my older kids get out of the house for more than a 30 minute walk, I could work and we all got a break from being in a tiny spot together.

I was happily surprised when the prime minister announced free childcare for all and that childcare centres would keep running.  That took care of one kid!

Unfortunately, though, it lulled me into a false sense of security that school would go back for parents who needed to send their kids.

Capital City Trail
This is the Capital City Trail bike track in Melbourne’s inner north at 7:50am on a weekday. Usually there would be so many bikes on it that I would not walk along it. Not anymore

I was first relieved when the Victorian Premier announced that schools would go back for essential workers and then utterly disappointed and frustrated when later that day the school emailed with the rules around who could go back – and it did not include us.

Only people who work outside the home can send their kids to school. Because we can work from home, we need to keep the kids at home.

This is actually stated with zero recognition of the fact that you can’t work, homeschool and parent all at the same time. As someone with three kids, I can’t even parent and homeschool everyone effectively.

I am also frustrated that these are the rules for the whole next term. With case numbers dropping dramatically around Australia and zero proof that keeping schools open leads to more infections, this seems over the top to me.

I am confused what our leaders are even trying to achieve. “Flattening the curve” is said over and over again without a definition of the end game. We have flattened the curve and while I know going back to normal will undo that, adding more restrictions seems completely unnecessary as we don’t seem to be trying to get rid of it all together.

Instead, we seem to be getting left in some no man’s land where it seems this will never end. Not taking enough action to wipe it out completely but with not enough cases that we’ll ever be able to leave the house again without having a huge outbreak.

It didn’t help that the NSW Premier said that all the current social distancing rules will stay in place until there is a vaccine…. Surely, that isn’t the end game? We need to stay like this for a year?!

As a family who live in a small house with only a balcony as outdoor space and without windows that even look out at anything (they are frosted, up high or just look at our small balcony), we are going nuts.

Even just looking at this from the point of view of how isolating and horrible this is day to day, how does the economy cope with a possible year of this? How do kids cope with so much time missing from their education? Do we all go insane and end up with PTSD?

While I am not against social distancing laws, I do want to understand what we are trying to achieve (exactly, not just some catch cry like “flatten the curve”) and feel like there is some end point on the laws that most affect our daily lives. I also want a real strategy for how parents are supposed to work.

I’m starting to wonder if we should have objected more to the Government removing our essential rights given it was done without any clear guidelines on when it would end.

And I wish I could say all of this without fearing I am going to get a lot of people angry at me, like I don’t care about the deaths or people in the medical industry when that’s not the case at all. I just want to know there is a point to this and we won’t all just stay home for a year, completely ruin our economy, all have mental health issues and then coronavirus will be waiting for us when we come out anyway and we won’t have gained anything.

In the meantime, I’m stuck in a tiny house with three kids I seem to have lost all control over, trying to work, trying to homeschool and just hoping we won’t all come out damaged.

What do you think?

Find more parenting thoughts here.