Like everyone else, I was glued to the news on 22nd February. I was keenly awaiting the notification from the government about the return to schools and for me whilst there is a question over the national and political picture, as a mother I was also wanting to know what this would mean for my girls and our family. 

We have had the news announced that for England the schools will resume on March 8th. However, we, personally, have not had any news from one school about their plans to return and the other has said that they will do a phased return, but we still don’t know what date my daughters will go back to school. 

I am guessing that many people will have had similar experiences, they have had discussions with their children to prepare them, but there is a residual uncertainty and we cannot give our children all of the certainty we would like to provide. 

Equally, I haven’t got the certainty I would appreciate. This leaves me with some fairly minor issues – “how do I get them to school,” “what days are they going in” and “will it be the same as normal.” What I have to believe is that whatever happens we will manage it and be fine. 

Now, half a term is not a very long time. It was only just before Christmas that the girls were in school full time. We managed then. Everyone got up and dressed in the morning. Admittedly my oldest daughter had abandoned school uniform, but we were getting to school. I was fitting this in with work, I was managing to be a parent and a worker.  

So, I have the evidence that in December 2020 I was capable of mixing work and family life. And yet now, in March 2021 it does not seem quite so possible. For us, nothing else has changed, we’ve had no worsening in our circumstances, the children have the exact same lives, but I sit here with a degree of anxiety and trepidation about the return to school. How will I do both? 

This makes me reflective. I recognise this as an anxious thought pattern and I have to hold on to the evidence that I have been able to manage this situation. I have to reassure myself and gather evidence of prior coping as I enter this new phase. I have got to be my own resolve and cheering squad. Yay, go team me! 

However, it also shows me that it is very easy to lose confidence and how easily we find change difficult. I think we all know that children with a history of trauma and disruption can find change hard, that they can be pre-disposed to feel uncertain and underconfident. So, this “return to normal” cannot be seen as a straightforward and glib move. It tells me that need to acknowledge that even if it was normal before, it can still seem impossible now. 

So, I am trying hard to manage my feelings, I am challenging my negative responses and I am trying to treat myself with compassion. Luckily, I am in a positive position and I have some tried and tested techniques for getting myself through these pinch points. However, it seems like a worthwhile time to check in with ourselves and with our children and check on those coping techniques in our inventory. 

Author: Eleanor Haworth, Director of Service Delivery for Adoption UK and Mum of two.