Tales from the home school from our Vice-Chair, Gemma Wells

I think we can all agree the past year has been crazy. It has been emotional, devastating, empowering, and forced us to rethink the way we live.

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I thought I would be working from home for an extended period of time while home-schooling my children, I’d have probably said there was no way.

Well, then the pandemic hit us all!
So, what has the last year taught me? Let me share my two key takeaways from 2020:
• I have zero patience
• People can create a blurred image of what reality looks like

You may be thinking those points come across as quite a negative experience but let me flip them on their heads.

Let’s address my first point. Home-schooling my 3 children whilst holding down a full-time job alongside my wonderful husband (also working a full-time job) was – how should I put it – Hell! Some days drove me to sheer breakdown, and I wondered if I was cut out to be a mother, let alone a functioning working adult. Other days I would see messages of encouragement from their teachers saying how well they had done on a piece of work and my lack of patience and teacher skills melted away.

Don’t get me wrong, that was soon replaced the next day when my oldest point blank refused to complete his maths, but you know what? This whole last year has been about the little wins! The things we can really be proud of – we kept ourselves and our children safe during a global pandemic, one of which none of us had experienced before and held down full-time jobs. That in itself is AMAZING!

My kids have come out of it learning some small life skills – like making their parents a cup of tea or how the washing machine works, and have also had the freedom to discover the area where we live like never before.

My second takeaway refers to social media stories vs real life. We all measure ourselves against others. In the dawn of social media, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, we all looked at what others were doing to get through this “unprecedented” time (sorry I used the phrase everyone is sick of hearing!!) and we really shouldn’t have.

I saw a fantastic quote online that really resonated with me:
“We are all in the same storm but not the same boat”
We should totally continue to live by this phrase, even when we come out of this storm.

No two people’s situations are the same and no two people will handle things the same, so we should all just give ourselves a break: if you didn’t manage to make rainbow spaghetti and play doh today but you did manage to have a shower, then you are winning!

I know I am not going to win “mother of the year” anytime soon, especially if the judges hear me yelling “get your shoes and bags” for the millionth time in a morning! But with that in mind I should cut myself some slack – I have achieved quite a lot in the last year.

I have successfully worked form home alongside my husband, and we are still married. I have changed jobs in the middle of a pandemic and only met people virtually, but already feel connected to them. My kids continue to surprise me with their resilience and knowledge. And I have set up a webinar series with 15 skills development sessions for eLN members that has proved very popular! All from the comfort of my living room!

So let’s all embrace the little wins, as that’s what makes us who we are! And if you feel like you want to make Rainbow Spaghetti as you are fully winning at life, here is a link – enjoy!
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