As we go into lockdown mode, practice social distancing, and in the case of those dropped repeatedly on their heads as babies, carry on as though nothing has changed, many of us are grappling with a new reality. One in which we must now possibly share our homes with our children, ageing parents and spouses. All the livelong day. There is no school, no daycare, no summer camp. No office to escape to. All bhajan ghoshts stand cancelled.
Social media has responded to the situation with alacrity and I have been forwarded the virus joke 10 times of ‘a mom will find a cure for coronavirus because we’re faced with our kids at home for the next three months.’ I’ve also noticed a slew of beautifully designed schedules for children doing the rounds on social media. Illustrated and colour coded, they helpfully divide the day into wonderfully themed slots – family time, play time, dog walking time, reading time, learning time, etc. Anything, the forward tells us, no doubt with the best of intentions, to cut down dreaded screen time.
But, if you are working for a company, are freelancing or doing both, then I would like to publicly acknowledge what a pain in the ass these forwards are. They do not help those of us who are logging in to work. These ideas are just one more thing to source for, supervise and potentially clean up after.
Working parents, do you need one more thing to beat yourself over the head with? No. You don’t.
Parents, it’s okay if your kids have more screen time. It is. Let us all agree, that many of our kids are going to be watching more TV and playing more Minecraft than they were before. The brain is a marvellous thing and it will be able to recoup from a ceaseless onslaught of The Flash. I promise. Cut yourself some slack. Watch some TV yourself maybe. Fifty Shades Freed is now on Netflix. Find a quiet room and noise-cancelling headphones and put your phone on silent. Or vibrate mode. Wouldn’t you rather spend an hour and half with Jamie Dornan than make a diorama of a Viking castle? That is the end of this Public Service Announcement. I have a date with Jamie.
Menaka Raman @menakaraman