Readers, I tried. I really tried. I was going to be all shiny and positive this week because lovely neighbours have deposited books and buns and plants on my doorstep (sadly no dog’s pyjamas have arrived as yet) and I was trying to channel all my feel-good vibes and be thankful and full of gratitude. But after half an hour of home-schooling yesterday, this noble pursuit was dropped quicker than Prof Neil Ferguson’s trousers, so hey ho, you’re stuck with another rant. Bear with me.
Life under lockdown can be summarised as a series of interruptions, can’t it? Everything takes about three times as long, with treble the amount of aggravation. About a month ago, when I was still trying to be healthy and doing ‘Yoga with Adrienne’, up popped one of the Master Class adverts featuring Joyce Carol Oates, who offered this nugget of wisdom: ‘You cannot write if you are constantly interrupted.’ Really Joyce? Fecking really? Is that true? Because I’ve become the next f**king Anne Tyler since my kids have been at home 24/7 and my husband’s backside is cemented to his swizzle chair at the computer upstairs.
I never get two minutes peace. The second I think I’m making some headway with a task, in wanders a child needing a drink or a snack or their ball retrieved from the top of the shed.
Of course, the real battle is with myself, trying not to look at the WhatApp on my phone which is going a dinger, and thinking that really the loo could do with a good scrub while I’m supposed to be writing or marking or helping a child do Tally Charts. ‘I HATE TALLY CHARTS,’ wailed the wee one on Wednesday. ‘You hate everything, unless it involves taking out paints and giving me work,’ I snapped, ‘so you may just get on with your sums.’
I really am not my best self at the moment.
Even my Mac conspires against me, as I can almost see my battery plummet by the second, while the poor fan chunters away like mad, seeing as it’s being used as the portal for my work, the home-schooling system and the eleventy billion other things I look up on a day to day basis. A quick look at my browser history shows that yesterday I googled ‘How to Draw a Baby Seal’ on You Tube, ‘How to Start Your own Wormery’ and in the middle of this I decided to order some dessert from Al Gelato (I told you I was easily distracted). All this I did while waiting for the child to come back downstairs where she’d gone to get a red felt tip and got distracted.
(In fairness, the seal we drew together as the day’s ‘fun creative activity’ wasn’t half bad.)
I am, of course, not the only poor devil losing this battle while they try to work. A teacher colleague of mine was busy last week contending with spreadsheets and data while her sons pestered her with questions as diverse as ‘Does this picture look more like pâte or ham to you?’ for his French homework, and another wanted her to simplify quadratic equations with him.
I think my temper has been so frayed because I feel so guilty all the time; I can never concentrate at the task at hand because I feel I should be crossing something else off my ‘to do list.’ And meanwhile, the dishes! How they mount! And of course, we went and got the dog who likes to be made a fuss of so I can’t walk past her without giving her a hug, so she’s another great interruption, but a lovely one, it must be said.
But if you’re in the same boat as me here’s a tip; (and I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, what? A tip from you, you crazed mad woman?) but on Tuesday I took my friend Gayle’s advice and I set an alarm and forced myself to get up at 6-45. I shook off the sleep and opened the laptop and did three finicky wee jobs that I couldn’t get near the day before. Boom, boom, boom, I had them all done in no time with no one asking any questions except for LSB who did enquire as to the state of my health, so uncharacteristic was this behaviour. I’ve never been a morning person but I can see now how people get up at 5-30am run round looking all smug and pleased with themselves. It’s a joy, really, to start the day with a win rather than a sense of dread, if like me, you usually feel defeated by 9-15.
Anyway, it’s Friday evening now and I took the day off home-schooling and my work and we walked the dog together and ordered in a feast from ‘Taste and Tour’ and I’m feeling very much better. I’m telling you, it’s cheaper than therapy, this writing lark. Have a lovely weekend, everyone.
(Only got to posting this on Saturday, due to constant interruptions).