The Sunday Post’s resident agony aunt, Maggie Clayton, advises this reader on how to handle the government’s new lockdown rules.
I am a mum of three grown-up children and a granny to seven children aged from five to 14. They live locally and I’ve really enjoyed helping out by looking after them.
During the pandemic I have really missed this time with them and, as I live alone, it has been very lonely at times. When the Scottish Government changed the lockdown rules to let me form a “bubble” with one other household I was relieved as it means I can have sleepovers, but I’m also conflicted. How do I choose between my children?
My daughter has asked if I could take my grandson twice a week when the schools go back as she and her husband both work but my sons have joked they are looking forward to having their “babysitter” back! I love sharing time with all of our grandchildren and want to help, but how can I choose who we will babysit during the pandemic? It’s the kind of quandary no gran or grandad ever wants to face.
I am 71 so naturally I am also worried if it’s safe enough when the children go back to school. As parents, we have always tried never to show favouritism but this problem with coronavirus and its impact on family life is really challenging. How can I choose who needs me most?
You are not alone in facing tough choices during lockdown.
Everyone is trying to cope with situations which we have never experienced before.
During the lockdown we all facing new challenges. And if this has taught us anything, it’s an appreciation of what really matters and what doesn’t.
So I suggest you invite everyone round to your garden for a socially-distanced discussion. Be honest about what you can do and what you can’t. And keep your own health at the centre of the discussion. I’m sure they won’t want to put you in harms way either.
Hopefully, your children and their partners will see compromises have to be made. Explain you’d love nothing more than to get back to normal and see everyone but until the government allows it, it’s best to figure out who needs you more?
It’s admirable that you are flexible and fair in wanting to divide your time in the best possible way to benefit all your family. But remember your adult children may need to do so as well. Perhaps they could change their working hours?
Creating a “bubble” with your grandchildren is a lovely concept. It gives you time and space to get to know what really matters to them, to listen to the news of their day and to help with homework if needed.
This shared time is something you cherish and that they will never forget.
So a full and frank conversation about how you can manage to sustain the bubble is worth aiming for.
Coronavirus challenges us to think deeply about what is important in life. It isn’t the money we make, the sort of house we live in, or the expensive holidays we go on. It isn’t the car we drive or the clothes we wear.
It’s family, friendship, love, kindness, sharing precious moments together, helping someone in need.
If this pandemic teaches us anything, let’s hope it’s a decision to be more positive in our relationships and with the people who share our life.