A day in the life of a working single parent in lockdown

7.30am Sounds like some of the kids are stirring downstairs, I can hear them in the kitchen making breakfasts. I hope they don’t make loads of mess again. Shall I get up now? My first meeting isn’t until 10.00am, so there’s no need for a super early start.

Nah, I’m going to make the most of homeworking and go back to sleep.

8.55am Bloody Joe Wickes. If it wasn’t for that long-haired sadist I’d still be in bed. Oh well, better get up and do it with the kids so they don’t start getting lazy themselves.

Well, with the younger two anyway. Funny how the older two only ever have 9.00am Zoom lessons to dial into when I decide we all have to do a morning workout.

9.30am I’m dying here. I’ve not done any exercise in 19 months; even this lightweight jumping around is painful. Why the hell does the man love squats so much?! Does he have a problem shitting, so needs to practice getting into and out of the position quickly in case the sudden urge to empty his bowels take him at any given moment?

Still, can’t let it show. Got to make sure the kids think I’m a superman-type. Next up is to get them all working on various projects for school. There’s probably something on the school website, but I’ve got no idea where or what or how to do it properly and no time to learn lesson plans now. No, I’ll use my initiative and set them off. I’ll tell them to grab their favourite toy, draw a picture of it and then write a short story about it. Nailed it.

10.00am Right – time to actually start working myself. I’ve not officially been told it’s okay to effectively work part-time while my kids are with me, but thankfully they’ve been understanding and appreciate the challenges it presents me, so aren’t pushing me too hard. Time for a call with a partner agency and following up on a few emails.

10.05am How can my kids have interrupted me three times to ask for drinks so quickly?!

10.55am Managed to finish the call and sort of fired off a few email replies that should keep a few people off my back for a bit. Avoided responding to all those smug bastards telling me how they didn’t have to chase their kids to do work as they wanted to learn all by themselves. Your kids are all in their mid-teens; have you ever seen a seven-year-old actively choose to do an entire day of learning unsupervised rather than play with their toys or watch tv?!

Now to chase up my kids. I know one of them has simply been playing with their toys instead of using them as a basis for art and English projects, while the other is watching Minecraft videos on YouTube. No, that doesn’t count as “research”.

11.45am It’s taken me nearly an hour to get them on track, check spellings, have every sentence read to me three times after it’s been written, point out bad handwriting and help them think through ideas for what happens next. Time to check in on work.

12.00pm FFS – I know they like having lunch at midday, but how are they all so punctual for that yet tardy when it comes to doing chores?! Okay, I’ll make them lunch and get them going again before cracking on myself.

1.00pm Shit, I forgot I had a 1.00pm meeting to dial into. Thankfully it’s a big group one so I can just dial in with no video and do some washing-up after lunch.

1.03pm I hate senior managers who insist everyone has their video on. I suppose it’s so they know people aren’t actually off doing the washing up. How inconvenient.

2.00pm Damnit, I forgot to actually have lunch myself. Is it too late? Probably is for a proper lunch – I’ll have a packet of crisps and the chunk of cheese that one of mine left over themselves, that’ll tide me over until an early dinner.

2.50pm Managed to get a little work done while putting food in my face before being accosted for art support. Looks like I’ll have to do a YouTube tutorial with them to help them learn how to draw their toy.

3.30pm That took bloody ages, though most of the time was spent reassuring them that the collection of random lines and shapes scribbled in front of them actually definitely does look like a transformer and not the deranged workings of a serial killer with deep seated psychological issues. I’m going to let them play Minecraft now and claim that it’s teaching them communication, resource management and time balancing skills.

5.00pm I’ve barely got anything done today for work, but it is what it is. Time to give up and log off and time to start the dinner.

Wait, shit. I forgot to defrost the chicken. And I forgot to go out and buy fresh vegetables. No way I can get to the shops and queue up in time for dinner now. Oh well, it’ll have to be vegetable-less again, then.

6.00pm Time for a glass of wine while finishing cooking dinner. I’ve earned this.

8.00pm Time to open a second bottle of wine. I’ve earned this.

9.00pm Kids are all tucked up in bed, stories read and teeth brushed. I’ve not uploaded any of their work to the school website so will get crap for not providing structured learning, but frankly I don’t care. They’re alive and happy and I’m on my second bottle of wine.

Too tired to do the washing up – I’ll do it tomorrow in a break between meetings. Or perhaps on a call where I only need to dial in with audio.

10.00pm Going to have an early night. This dual working/home schooling role is exhausting.

1.00am Bloody Twitter. Why can’t I stop scrolling?! Better get some shuteye – I’ve got another 10.00am and need to have recovered from that Joe Wickes-shaped torture beforehand. Only another four months of this to go before things go back to normal.

I hope.

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