The U.K.’s third national lockdown came into force in early January, closing down schools and leaving many parents with the responsibility of teaching their children from home. The Duchess of Cambridge is one of thousands left to balance her own personal needs with those of her children, and last week she joined other parents for a video call to discuss these efforts as a group.
Speaking with Melissa Loosemore, the headteacher of Roe Green Junior School in London (where the duchess launched her ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ website in 2018), and parents Nicole Seidemann, Musadiq Subar, and Rajana Panchani, Kate used the call to build on previous conversations about mental wellbeing in the context of parenting. The group chatted about the importance of taking time for themselves amid the many demands of planning their children’s school work and focusing on their own careers.
During the call, Loosemore took some time to rattle off rapid-fire homeschooling questions to the group. When asked to pick one word that describes parenting during this pandemic, the group came up with “hectic,” “patience,” “challenging,” and “exhausting.” Kate followed up the question by emphasizing that “As parents you’ve got the day to day elements of being a parent, but I suppose during lockdown we’ve had to take on additional roles that perhaps others around us in our communities or in our lives would’ve supported us or helped us with.”
The duchess also joked about the less serious jobs she’s taken on during lockdown, including cutting her kids’ hair: “I’ve become a hairdresser during this lockdown, much to my children’s horror.”
For almost a decade, the duchess has partnered with experts and organizations that conduct research on early childhood development, including a nationwide study into the subject that unveiled its findings in November of 2020. The research also looked into how parents are coping with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which showed a sharp increase in feelings of loneliness.
Kate concluded the call be reminding the group to “make sure everyone looks after themselves,” adding that it’s “very important, but very hard to prioritize.”
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