8 weeks, 1 day, 8 hours, 53 mins...
8 weeks, 1 day, 8 hours, 53 mins...

Since March 12th, our children have been cut off from their friends, school mates, educators and family. In anyone's book that's a long 8+ weeks but for our children, nieces, nephews, god-children and grand children it can already feel like a lifetime.

While we grapple with the rigours of remote working, job security, business adaptation and the fundamental shift in our everyday lives, we also need to be conscious of the upheaval forced upon our younger population and the impact this is having.

When chatting with colleagues, friends and family, I'm acutely aware that parents are dealing with a unique and challenging home scenario. When the first two minutes of a work call involve a colleagues' 4 year old discussing Fireman Sam and who's just been out on the green playing there is no doubting we have already left Kansas!

Having just completed a week's holiday at home with my own two, some tough truths have reared their heads and I feel it is imperative that we all, as parents, aunts, uncles and grand parents face up to these new challenges.

This pandemic lockdown has pushed us all into a new work reality but I never personally considered the difficulty this is imposing on my kids.

My 11 year old told me this week that's its harder having the two of us working from home than the normal work / school / childminder routine. I assumed that the opposite would have been the case. However she admitted it is more difficult because while we are there "we are not there" and she worries about interrupting a zoom call using too much broadband(!) or making too much noise if someone is on the phone.

On the other end of the scale the Leaving Cert student has had 2 months of upheaval that the best of us would struggle to make sense of. She went from studying full time and preparing for her Leaving Cert exam to graduating secondary school and ending her 15+ years of schooling with an announcement from the Department of Education.

No goodbyes, no closure and no way to celebrate this milestone. She woke last Monday morning with a profound question that knocked us sideways - "Em, what am I suppose to do now until College?"

What's the saying about lemons and lemonade?
What's the saying about lemons and lemonade?

So what are we, as parents, supposed to do to deal with this constantly shifting reality. I know that we all face these struggles and there is no single solution. We also know that there are issues and ramifications to the current necessary lockdown that we haven't even begun to identify.

I don't think solutions matter. It's about strategies and coping. We need to be as adaptable in our parenting as we have been in our working life.

If bedtimes have gone out the window, so be it. If long division has been replaced with season 12 of Drag Race does it really matter? They are coping in whatever way they can and we need to support them, however random the methods are!

We had an old wall paper table in the shed. It hasn't been used in forever and was something that would have gone into a skip. As you can see from the picture above we have adapted it. Much like the adaptations we are all having to make, the O'Connor Table Tennis League has been an essential ongoing stress buster over the last 8 weeks.

There is no right way to deal with this Coronavirus when it comes to your kids. You do whatever it takes to get them and you through this. They are looking to us for guidance and support and we need to be able to provide it.

To that end, I also wanted to remind you of the support available through your smash EAP. You are entitled to access parenting support online and can utilise a one to one session on parenting session.

Click here to access smash.