Every day at midday, whining sounds come from the mouths of babes in my household.
This is because it’s usually time for the second video lesson of the day, after a break that was long enough to grab a snack but too short to catch a game with dolls.
Lately, thanks to ‘homeschooling’, “But Mum!” are the two most frequently used words in my house.
“But Mum! She already had her lesson, it’s my turn to use the phone!”
Also, “Why do you have to have another meeting? You just had one now!”
“Yes, but I have to talk to someone else now. It’s just for a little bit.”
The problem is, when I have a video meeting, they have to be banished to their rooms so their little faces don’t keep popping up behind my camera.
Initially, without a timetable of 40-minute intervals, it seemed that information was coming at us from all directions, demanding our attention. Between work, education (my children’s and my own) and interactions with family, friends and community members (church and neighbours), it got so bad at one point that we welcomed interruptions like power outages and gadget malfunctions just so we could take a break.
Now, I’ve had to set limits for how much time I spend working on the computer and how much time they spend on the internet. We have also set limits on how many times we can check the news and included other things on the schedule like mealtimes and bedtimes. We’re yet to work in some exercise though as we felt the need to keep something spontaneous (confession, it’s not working!)
And so, our routine that was initially reluctantly adopted now leaves them thoroughly disappointed when there is an interruption of power supply.
Occasionally, my head starts spinning when someone throws in an impromptu video call or when technology decides to rebel against me. Just when I’m about to pull out my hair, I remember one thing, “We’re living through a global pandemic. What’s important is that you are safe and healthy, especially mentally.”