As anyone who has ever met me will know, I have never been a fan of the Tories. In fact a friend sent me a link to a website called ‘Fuck the Tories’ which sells jewellery bearing that slogan. However I do respect election results and gave them the benefit of the doubt when Covid-19 took hold in this country. No modern government had ever had to deal with anything quite like this pandemic and so I was willing to give them a chance. To see what they would do and do my best to contribute positively by following the rules and respecting the choices of others.
But enough is enough.
We are now going through our third national lockdown and I could write a dissertation on the mistakes this government has made in his priorities this past year, but instead I am going to focus on what is happening now.
Since the beginning of the school term parents have been asked to homeschool. I don’t dispute the fact that kids need schedules, routines and the chance to ‘keep up’ academically but what is being asked of us is too much.
First of all our teachers are having to teach full days to classes of children with key worker parents or children who are in need of extra support. On top of that the teachers are having to plan, set and mark the work of all the children who are working from home using technology which is new and challenging. These teachers are overworked, stressed and also having to care for their own families on top of all this extra work. Are they going to be the next in line for vaccinations? No. They’re not. Why not? God knows.
Secondly many parents are working parents i.e. parents who get paid to do their work (as opposed to those of us that work extremely hard running households for free – but that’s another issue). These parents may be working from home but that doesn’t mean that they suddenly have two to four hours a day to spend educating their children. I am currently only having to homeschool one child. As Rufus has extra emotional needs he has been kindly given a place in school which means that I can give more time to Eloise. Despite this fact, and the fact that I am a stay at home parent, it is incredibly difficult to get the work done. For the first few days Eloise was excited and engaged but now she’s bored, uninspired and most of all missing her friends. She is a child that blossoms among company of her peers an without them she withers. On top of that I also have a toddler who is not a fan of sharing my attention. She misses me as I spend hours doing the home school work with Eloise and as a response she has started displaying truly attention seeking behaviour. She now pretends to hurt herself so that I’ll give her a cuddle.
There are some parents who are not working from home but are also not considered key workers so they are doubly screwed. I have a few friends in this situation and stress, guilt and shame they feel as their kids fail to complete their work and tempers flare. A few of these parents are now being referred to the safeguarding teams within their school. So on top of their own internal guilt they are now being admonished by the school. For the record, the school aren’t responsible for this – this action has been directed by the Tories. Our schools have become the messenger between the government and us in regards to how good our parenting (or educating is). How fucking dare they? When was the last time Boris Johnson taught his kids about balancing equations or the intricacies of the Jewish faith? When has Gavin Williamson ever tried to get a 5 year old to be interested in the science of animals while a 2 year old screams in the background, the dishes are piled high, the laundry is over flowing and the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in god knows how long?
Thirdly it can not be overstated how mentally draining the past 12 months have been. From the worry about the virus, the stress over following rules, the anxiety around being judged for your actions, the fear that your kids will suffer due to a lack of school, to the tears that we’ve all cried over the things and people we’ve lost. We’re all at our wits end. We’re all done. How dare the government punish parents for not doing the fucking home schooling? How dare they? How about providing assistance and support? How about setting realistic expectations? How about applauding all the work that we’re all doing right now? How about sticking to their fucking lane?
I cannot express enough how angry I am right now. To hear that friends of mine, who are loving parents doing the very best they can, are being scolded and told it’s not enough is the final nail in the coffin for me. This past year we’ve watch the Tories clap for the NHS only to deny the workers their pay rises and fail to protect the NHS in their post Brexit debates. We have seen them u-turn every other week on the advice and guidance. We’ve seen them sending us out to eat only to blame us when the virus starting getting out of control. They dangled the prospect of a Christmas in front of our faces only to take it away at the last minute and as a real kick in the teeth they have rewarded themselves with a pay rise.
Enough is enough.
It’s time for parents to fight back. I care more about my family’s mental well-being than whether they can spell mental well-being. I care more about my relationship with them than I do forcing them to sit and focus when they’ve had a really shitty time of it. It can’t just be me, it needs to be all of us. All the parents, all the schools, it’s time to stand up to the government and say ‘NO!’
If you agree with me please share this far and wide. Let’s get the word out that we won’t be pushed around anymore.
Enough is enough.