Mum's The Word: Pressure to be productive in a world of online classes

As we are settling into our new routines of self isolation, staying at home and home schooling it feels that a whole new set of pressures is coming down the tracks, writes Alison Curtis.

File image
File image

Once we were battling with school runs, rush- hour traffic, balancing a hundred after-school activities now we seem to be building in daily pressures to be constantly productive.

Someone I follow on Instagram sent me a list of all the free online activities set up for kids daily and honestly I was exhausted just reading them. 9am yoga class; 10am storytelling (well I’m guilty of this one); 11am school on RTÉ, 1pm and 2pm cooking classes, 4pm to 5pm, mindfulness and so on.

I think as parents at home trying to still balance work and now home schooling we might be over reaching in feeling we need to fill every waking moment of our children’s days most likely out of fear they will get bored or be missing out on staying on track with their education and other skills they are learning.

In fact kids or not, if you have an online life teach day it seems the pressures are building to be super-productive at home.

Alison Curtis
Alison Curtis

Get fit with these million Instagram accounts that have been set up for home workouts. Become a master chef, learn a new language or an instrument but whatever you do, for the love of god do something!!

I found myself falling into this trap a little bit. As I said in last week’s column I do think some structure on the day is necessary for everyone and I am happy with our balance of arts and crafts, baking, home schooling and free time. 

But as the week went on I spotted more and more things that I thought my daughter Joan might like to get involved in.

But it turns out she doesn’t! She is happy making up her own games, reading, baking, FaceTiming friends and playing in the back yard.

I know I was only feeling these pressures because I was online too much myself.

Writer Marian Keys put it all into perspective with a fantastic social media post last week which finished by saying: 

Whats wrong with doing nothing? Nothing, that’s what. Feed yourself, wash yourself, do the small necessary stuff. That’s all you need to do.

She is right, this is a time like no other. Every aspect of everyone’s life has changed immeasurably. 

We are faced with challenges we never dreamed of and just getting through the day whereby everyone is happy and healthy is an amazing accomplishment. 

We are getting time with our children and families that we weren’t getting before. This is a positive.

File image
File image

Hopefully in most people’s cases the one-to-one-time has increased massively with our kids and we are sitting down and doing fun and important things with them on a daily basis, like arts and crafts, playing board games, just being together and listening to them.

This time we have together is so crucial for our children’s development, growth and happiness. It is way more important than sitting through endless online classes.

A balance is good for sure. On one hand thankfully technology is making it possible for everyone to be stay connected, with classmates and family, and there are online resources to help kids continue on with school

However, don’t fall into the trap of feeling you have to replace all those school hours with something else other than your attention and time and your hugs and kisses!

More on this topic

No new Covid-19 deaths in the North for first time since March 18No new Covid-19 deaths in the North for first time since March 18

Report finds two-metre social-distancing will cut pub capacity by up to 87%Report finds two-metre social-distancing will cut pub capacity by up to 87%

Covid-19 updates from around the world as Ireland sees no virus deaths for first time in 65 daysCovid-19 updates from around the world as Ireland sees no virus deaths for first time in 65 days

Aldi launches traffic light system for socially distanced shoppingAldi launches traffic light system for socially distanced shopping