Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, opened up in a candid video chat with fellow parents about the challenges of raising and homeschooling three kids during lockdown. Catherine revealed that parenting during COVID-19 pandemic has left her “exhausted,” and joked about her children recoiling in “horror” when she started doing their hair.
The mother of three took part in a discussion with three parents whose children attend Roe Green Junior School in Kingsbury, northwest London, alongside head teacher Melissa Loosemore. In a “show and tell” exercise during the chat, which was shared on Instagram and the Royal Family’s YouTube channel, Loosemore directed everyone to answer questions by writing them down on a piece of paper. The first request was to write down “one word that describes parenting during this pandemic.”
The duchess held up the word “exhausting,” while the other parents joined in with similar sentiments including “challenging,” “hectic” and “patience.”
Catherine explained her feelings saying, “I’ve become a hairdresser this lockdown, much to my children’s horror, seeing mum cutting hair. We’ve had to become a teacher – and I think, personally, I 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.”
She added, “I think as parents you’ve the day-to-day elements of being a parent, but I suppose during lockdown we have had to take on additional roles that perhaps others in our communities, or in our lives, would have perhaps supported us and helped us with.”
During another exercise, the head teacher asked the parents to write down who their biggest support has been during the pandemic. The duchess wrote down “William,” her husband.
The last exercise encouraged the parents to rate their math skills after months of home-schooling their kids. While the others gave themselves an “eight,” the duchess rated herself a “minus five.” She laughed while admitting to being “right at the bottom of the class.”
The duchess added, “being able to share your own experience with others who are going through the same thing makes it feel less daunting and makes you feel less isolated.”
The group also discussed parental loneliness during this unprecedented time. As parents find themselves isolated from friends and family, Kate’s Early Years — a national survey on early childcare and development in Britain— found that loneliness rose from 38% to 63% during the pandemic.
In an effort to tackle the problem, The Royal Foundation in association with The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Place2Be and Young Minds, launched The Mentally Healthy Schools initiative, a free website that provides reliable and practical resources to improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in promoting and supporting pupils’ mental health.