Although you could be forgiven for thinking that these past two years have been solely about an attack on germs, it would seem an attack on parents was indeed running parallel.
Since that fated day in March, 2020, not even the germs have had to put up with this laundry list of continually expanding assaults and to-do’s. Here is a little run down, of just some of the demands on parents as the world fell apart, including:
- Abruptly, patiently, and attentively schooling your children from home (in which screens reigned supreme (even at prep years old), and checking in and out became a ritual like everything else.)
- Trying to keep your job while you do that. (Luck!)
- Incorporating new words into your child’s vocabulary daily, like ‘sanitiser’, ‘social distance’ and ‘QR’ while teaching them that these are important to ‘keep others safe’. Mouthful!
- Throwing a wobbly if they dare run a temp, or a sniffle. PCR them/RAT them/do whatever, just don’t let grandma visit or let them escape their rooms until the department says so.
- Refusing to allow them in parks and poo-pooing all social activities. Also trying not to be one of those parents who carries scissors for late night dog walking past any orange taped fixtures.
- Jabbing them. But whatever you do, don’t ask for inserts/ingredients/more info or the lot number.
- Checking the fam in…EVERYWHERE — skate parks, swings, trees. Exhausting!
- Remembering your place by not stepping foot on school grounds when it’s back. Oh, and for months afterwards. Correction: what looks to be forever afterwards. Also keeping yourself up to date with all of the newly created and edited school policies, which includes one for, you guessed it, parental behaviour (!) I think, “If a parent or carer behaves in an unacceptable way, the school principal may contact them to talk about this further and there may be consequences” was my favourite line. Detention, indeed!
- Refraining from asking pertinent questions about school life in general, like say, about all the new sexual education, 5g or CCTV.
- Oh, and masking your babies! Please don’t worry about the fact that no-one else wears them anymore, you just need to know it’s important that grade three to six can’t breathe for the entirety of the school day. Because, again, it's just so science!
A wise man once said, it’s important to know your place in the jungle. And we must not forget ours, dear parents. Parents cannot be shelved. Contained. Controlled. Hushed. When it comes to our children. Not in policies, or by governments, or this department or that. We are permanent fixtures irrespective of any revolving-door agenda or institution. We are irreplaceable. And we are not moving…
Not from the school gates. Or from the phones. Not from the emails. Or the school events. And never from the lives and hearts of our children. We must take our power back. Here’s how you can:
1. Follow and sign up to actual family-focused groups and accounts like @Parentswithquestions5.0
2. Use caution when voting. These people have happily proven to care little about families for long over two years. Care about them even less at the booths.
3. Have you ever seen how a proper journalist gets a story? Interview your school like they would. They need to know who you are as much as you need to know exactly what goes on in the classrooms you can’t access.
4. On that, get your children out if you can. And if you can’t, be even more diligent with the school comms and notices.
5. Talk to your child! We are living in epic times, they need to know this and feel your support. The family unit has been under attack for decades, but us parents can see that now and remember our place in this jungle. With our heads held godamn high.