With schools currently closed across Britain, the Duchess of Cambridge is one of millions of parents across the country all too familiar with the challenges of homeschooling.
The U.K. is currently in its third nationwide coronavirus lockdown and Duchess Kate opened up about the difficulties of juggling parenting, home life, and work during a video call with a group of parents.
Speaking to three parents, whose children attend the Roe Green Junior School in Brent, England, Kate spoke about the tests that many families are facing around the world and the importance of prioritizing parents’ mental wellbeing.
“I know how challenging it is juggling work, home life, school life and everything else that you as parents are doing, so really well done,” Kate, who wore a chic moss green blazer for the call, told the parents. “Fingers crossed, let’s hope for the positivity as you’ve all been saying. Make sure everyone looks after themselves—it’s very hard to prioritize but it’s definitely needed now more than ever.”
The conversation, which Kate conducted from her Anmer Hall home in Norfolk, was organized to build on some of the key issues raised in her landmark survey on the Early Years, which looked into issues including parental wellbeing and loneliness.
The duchess heard from Nicole Seidemann, a mom of four, who spoke about the importance of exercise to her mental wellbeing. Parents Musadiq Subar and Rajana Panchani shared their thoughts on the value of peer support for parents during such a difficult time.
There was even time for a game during the Zoom chat, with the school’s principal Melissa Loosemore asking the group, including Kate, a series of quick fire questions such as “Describe parenting in a pandemic in one word,” “Rate your maths ability out of 10,” and “Who has been the greatest support to you during the pandemic?”
Kate picked “exhausting” as the word she would use to describe parenting during the pandemic. She told the group, “I think as parents you have the day to day elements of being a parent but I suppose during lockdown we have had to take on additional roles that I suppose others in our communities of in our lives would have perhaps supported us with.”
She added, “I’ve become a hairdresser this lockdown much to my children’s horror sitting up cutting hair. We’ve had to become a teacher—and I personally feel pulled in so many different directions and you try your best with everything but at the end of the day I do feel exhausted.”
Last year Kate’s “5 Big Questions on the Under Fives” survey revealed that the pandemic has seen a major increase in parental loneliness, rising from 38 percent of parents questioned to 63 percent due to the number of parents cut off from friends and family.
The Roe Green Junior School is where the Duchess of Cambridge launched her Mentally Healthy Schools program in 2018, and is currently open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, while also providing remote learning for all of its pupils.
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