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Riham Youssef (LGB parent)

Posted By Alumni Office, vendredi, 8 mai 2020
Updated: jeudi, 7 mai 2020
Sarah Hathorn

In what year are your children at Ecolint?
I have twins who go to two Reception classes at LGB. 

How has your everyday life changed since the lockdown was put into place?
It has been turned upside down!
Life had been tough on me as it is, being a single mother of twins who works full-time in a foreign country without any support network whatsoever. I was barely coping even before the lockdown. But then to find myself overnight responsible for the children 24/7, taking care of every aspect of their lives all by myself and still getting my work for the UN and my housework done was intolerable and it has been affecting me physically and emotionally. I'm racing against time every day, sleeping no more than 4-5 hours a night and am still not getting things done.  

What has been your greatest challenge as a parent during this time?
Being the perfectionist that I am, I'm constantly frustrated by the fact that I'm giving it my absolute best and am working my absolute hardest, but it's still not enough! Despite my best intentions and efforts, nothing is done the way it's supposed to be. And it's breaking my heart to see my children, who are otherwise extremely energetic and active, feeling bored, asking me if I could take them out, even for a short walk, but I've often had to turn them down because of work or other deadlines that I was desperately trying to meet.

What have you learned that you would like to see carried through beyond confinement?
I discovered that my children are more mature and responsible than I have ever given them credit for. Since the beginning of the confinement, I have been entrusting them with additional duties around the house, which they are carrying out impressively well. Who would have thought?     

What do you think about remote schooling, and are there parts of it that should continue after confinement?
I don't enjoy the remote schooling experience, though I know it's the best that could be done for the children under the circumstances. And the teachers are doing a superb job to help the twins and help me whenever I need their pedagogical guidance or technical support.
Having said that, parents are not qualified teachers, and, no matter how hard they try, they just don't have what it takes, nor do they have the time for this huge additional responsibility that has been suddenly thrown on their shoulders without them having any say in it. In my particular case as a mother of two 5-year-olds, I find it especially tough to be drowning with responsibilities, and yet to sing and dance and jump around, and to come up with creative ways to complete the arts and crafts assignments for example, while being in a completely different mindset.  

Any thoughts on how the pandemic might impact people's views on family life, teaching, and school?
The pandemic has made me more appreciative of them all: I appreciate my children, their health and well-being, and I don't take either of them for granted, because I've come to realise how volatile and unpredictable everything really is. What we have now could be snatched away from us unexpectedly, so I've learned to appreciate everything I have while it lasts, especially my children who are the most beautiful thing in my life.
And I've really come to appreciate the school and my children's teachers even more, because I've seen firsthand what an extremely difficult job they're doing. Struggling this much with "just" two children makes me appreciate the numerous things those teachers have achieved with 15 children in their care.  

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