Back-to-basics for family of five
Mum-of-five Amber Maher had a meltdown with the pressure of home schooling.
But while it has been overwhelming, Amber said she was less stressed as a Mum because life no longer revolved around the clock
“We are always on the clock, in and out for school and me pulling the baby out of bed to get to netball or music,” Amber, 37, said.
“Now time doesn’t matter which is a nice relief. I am enjoying the slower pace and feel less stressed.
“I have also realised how much we have been rushing around.”
Three of Amber’s brood are at Mt Carmel school in Yass – Millie in Year Six, Imogen in Year Three and Jack in kinder. There’s also three-year-old Hannah and five-month-old William.
Husband Matt leaves for his construction job at 5am and William is breast-feeding and has just started solids and crawling.
Home schooling has added another load.
“I couldn’t stretch myself between each child.” Amber said.
“I had a bit of a meltdown thinking, how am I supposed to educate these kids well and give my youngest the attention they need?
“It’s too much for one person. I felt teary and overwhelmed and a bit of a failure too.”
Amber has now settled into a routine. Life is still ridiculously busy but she is coping.
“I’m over the initial shock,” she said.
“I take it one day at a time. When I think too far ahead, like having to do this for all of next term, it’s too scary.”
One of eight children, Amber and Matt moved to a 10-acre property at Yass one and a half years ago to give their kids a rural upbringing.
“This is like a ‘back to basics’ time and that’s nice,” Amber said.
“The kids have written letters to people at the nursing home and Matt’s grandparents in Sydney.”
The morning routine is still the same but no longer rushed – breakfast, clean room and family prayer.
“We pick a story from the children’s bible and talk about it,” Amber said.
Being isolated has also introduced new routines.
Each day Millie and Imogen take turns to make lunch for the family.
This week it’s been potato wedges, pancakes with maple syrup, salad sandwiches, wraps and snack plates with cheese, crackers, olives and cucumber sticks.
Also new is FaceTime Rosary with Matt’s Mum and family. He has five sisters; two with children.
“It started as a novena for the virus and we’ve continued it,” Amber said. “We usually check in around 7.30pm when the younger kids have gone to bed and we can settle with a cup of tea.
“Matt’s Mum really enjoys it and I feel more connected to his family. I’m also doing a Zoom sharing group with the Disciples of Jesus.”
Amber’s sister Isabelle Irwin got married in Nowra last week and the family watched via Zoom.
“It was bizarre but at least we got to watch it,” Amber said. “And it was strange and sad not to celebrate with them afterwards. But so much has changed now.”