Stage 1 – Denial
It was just after lunchtime on 12 March 2020. I was having a lovely catch up with my friend, Jo at her farmhouse on the lake. The sun was shining and the sky was a cloudless blue. Her husband, Matt, was walking towards us through the grassy back garden. “They have just said on the radio that all the Irish schools are closing”, he announced. “Really?” I responded, not even having the slightest understanding of the weight of what he had just said, and certainly not making the connection that we in the UK would be next! He followed up with “I reckon it will be about another week or two and our schools will be next”. It all just seemed a bit outrageous to me. I wasn’t worried. It was all a bit of an overreaction and things would sort themselves out shortly.
Sure enough, on the 23 March 2020 our beloved Prime Minister announced the school closures, along with other lockdown measures. Well this should be interesting, I thought. It’s just not going to work so they’ll have to come up with something else. The reality of being at home with my 3 little darlings, 24/7, providing education, emotional support, healthcare, fun times, personalised attention, exercise and endless snacks and nutritious meals (basically a healthy, nurturing, calming, bond-building and enriching childhood experience) was still not sinking in.
I began to wonder if everyone was overreacting or if I was under-reacting!
“Denial began to ebb away and was swiftly replaced by an overwhelming feeling of dread and shock”
And so began the tsunami of “helpful” links to online learning tools, YouTube lessons, printable worksheets via Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp etc.
Denial began to ebb away and was swiftly replaced by an overwhelming feeling of shock, dread and panic, with extreme grouchiness to follow shortly thereafter!