WHEN news of the latest lockdown broke, parents all over the nation were horrified at the thought of having to homeschool their kids again.
The internet erupted with mums venting their fury as they geared up to juggle work with becoming a substitute teacher.
But many women who don’t or can’t have children say they would have relished the chance to homeschool them, and were left feeling very frustrated.
So do homeschooling mums need to suck it up and realise how lucky they are?
Or do they have every right to complain?
Two writers give Anna Roberts their opposing views.
NO says child-free Samantha Brick
WRITER Samantha Brick, 49, originally from Birmingham, now lives in France with her carpenter husband Pascal, 59.
She says: “When Boris made the latest doom-laden announcements, my first thought was, “Here we go again”.
Not with lockdown, but with those mums groaning about having their precious little darlings at home with them.
Instead of doing something sensible – like putting together a workable strategy – they took to social media to go on about what such closures would mean to their working and social lives.
I feel sorry for kids who won’t get to see their friends or enjoy a structured environment, but I have zero sympathy for parents who haven’t got their act together in the third lockdown.
After all, it was hardly a surprise – the signs were there from early December.
This is why I’ve swerved social media during most of each lockdown.
I can’t bear the mums harping on about how hard it is overseeing their kids’ education at home, or dreaming up ways of getting key worker status so their kids can stay in school.
It’s mind-blowing when you think about how many women – myself included – would have given their right arm to become a mum.
Moaning parents break my heart
I couldn’t have kids because of “unexplained fertility”.
After two failed rounds of IVF in 2012 and 2013, my stepson died, which devastated my husband Pascal so our plans were quietly shelved.
But it didn’t stop the pain or the longing.
Women like me can feel like second-class citizens at the best of times, and all this moaning just makes us feel our loss even more acutely.
We are living through unique times and, of course, it helps to have a bloody good moan.
But sometimes mums need to think about what they are posting, or save it for their private WhatsApp groups.
Mums aren’t the only ones suffering – my single friends, who haven’t seen their families or even had a hug for months, are having just as tough a time.
Then there’s the child-free people at work, picking up the slack for their homeschooling colleagues who disappear for hours during the day.
YES says mother-of-two Julie Cook
WRITER Julie Cook, 43, lives in Southampton with musician husband Cornel, 40, children Alex, 12, and seven-year-old Adriana.
She says: “When another lockdown was announced, I could have wept with frustration.
So the first thing I did was post a meme on social media about how homeschooling should include home economics (making their own breakfast) and chemistry (seeing how bubbles from washing up liquid react to water in the bowl).
In these strange times, when we’re so isolated, it’s comforting to share our woes with others in the same boat – and I know my mum friends were feeling exactly the same as I was.
Anyone saying lockdown isn’t harder for mums should walk a mile in my shoes.
As a freelance writer, I work from home.
Can I take a call? Do a Zoom chat? Do anything?
No, I am too busy setting up Microsoft Team accounts for my kids, ensuring they’re dressed, and making sure the youngest isn’t watching Barbie videos but actually doing maths homework.
My non-mum counterparts might be feeling lonely, but at least they don’t have to ensure two little people are logging on to the right lessons, and not sneakily going on Fortnite.
Mums who vent are right to do so. We are the forgotten army, working, keeping a house going and now teaching our own kids.
In between trying to work myself, making the extra food we now have to pay for because they’re not eating at school, and juggling two very different ages’ learning structures, trust me – a bit of social media moaning is required.
It’s not just that.
A childless woman can have a moment of peace in this stressful time.
Childless women need to get a grip
If she wants to flick Netflix on and have a cuppa, she can – uninterrupted.
I’ve run around more in the last 24 hours than I have in weeks.
Up and down the stairs sorting out home learning, trying to take my own calls and making lunch.
My husband Cornel works as a musician and would usually be around to help but he has taken on day work now so is out all day and I’m on my own.
I feel like a glorified servant. Fair enough, I did choose to be a mum – but I didn’t choose to be a mum during a worldwide pandemic.
So, for now, I’ll ignore holier than thou childless women who say we chose this life and keep posting the memes, the moans and “Is it gin 7 o’clock yet?” – it is our right as mums to do so.
The secret flirting method ALL women use – plus the ten signs she’s into you
McDonald’s fan reveals how to get a Big Mac for half the price with easy hack
Mum-to-be fell pregnant while already expecting & is now having TRIPLETS
I’m 41 & a mum-of-six, trolls say I look haggard but I won’t stop glamming up
I was suicidal when my hubby cheated but I’m stronger now, says Jess Impiazzi
Kids’ sleep calculator works out what time your children should go to bed
But in the pity Olympics, the woe-is-me mums always seem to win gold.
If I was lucky enough to be a mum and my kids needed me, then work would take a backseat.
Yes, it could mean reassessing your budget or working hours, but what’s more important?
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]