A mum of four talks about her lockdown challenges

Mum of 4, one of whom is autistic and has been home schooled since Dec 2018. I work from home as well, but this was greatly reduced when son started to stay at home and had to cease completely during lockdown. Our eldest is at university and our two youngest are in P7 moving up to academy.

For the most part my experience has been a positive one, but I’ll start with the not so positive to end on a high.

Not so positive:

  • Getting myself and my son used to and adapting to losing our time through the week when it would usually just be him and I. He has struggled greatly with this but has adapted to some extent.
  • Getting used to losing my time through the day to work or do jobs around the house.
  • Having to learn to share my space through the day with others and accepting their different ways of doing things.
  • Every day dealing with verbal abuse from our stressed-out autistic son.
  • Helping his younger siblings learn how to avoid confrontation with their autistic brother and helping them learn how to negotiate games and general life with him.
  • Watching things get damaged and destroyed when our autistic son had episodes or outbursts due to stress.
  • Negotiating times to exercise dogs whilst trying not to leave all our children alone together, even for short periods, in case our autistic son had an outburst.
  • Having to give up our one family session of training together per week (The only hour I have during the week when I don’t have to ‘parent’ my children because their class instructor does and I can usually attend my class next to them without worrying about them).
  • Worrying about my husband who had to (and could under government guidelines) continue working.
  • Worrying about becoming ill and struggling to look after our children.
  • Worrying about my husband or children becoming ill
  • Worrying about family members and friends who live far away and being unable to help them if they needed it.
  • Learning to share my discipline role through the day with my husband when he was off.
  • Dealing with the stress and worry of trying to get to the shops whilst looking after young children.
  • Dealing with the stress of going into the shops during a pandemic!
  • Losing what small amount of free time I had before the lockdown.
  • Almost having to create a risk assessment of our own home so everything didn’t get destroyed whilst trying to help manage our autistic son’s anxiety. 
  • Over thinking trying to school the children at home and over organising their time.

Positive experiences:

  • More freedom re: daily timings with the children (this was hugely positive).
  • More quality family time with all of us together.
  • My husband and I having the time to create fun games to do with our children.
  • Once I accepted that they couldn’t do a full school day at home, the ‘morning’ school sessions became fun and relaxed (most of the time).
  • Online schooling was a great help and quite enjoyable to do with the children.
  • On-line group chats for our autistic son and his support group.
  • Luckily our autistic son’s support group was able to re-engage for some time through the week. This was a hugely positive thing for him and us.
  • Having the chance to talk our worries through with our autistic son’s support worker.
  • Learning to share my space through the day with others and accepting their different ways of doing things.
  • Gardening with the children and teaching them about plants and food.
  • Baking and cooking with the children.
  • Pulling together as a team and helping the children learn about jobs around the place and the importance of us working together.
  • Watching my husband bonding with the children through woodwork outside, biking and walking.
  • Finding the time to spend more time in the garden.
  • Having the time to get chores done without feeling I was neglecting my time with the children because I could interact with them before, during and after.