I can't cope with stress of home-schooling and trying to run a small business

DEAR DEIDRE: I AM used to juggling but right now it feels like I’m about to drop the balls.

There is not enough time to home-school the kids, keep my small business going and run the house.

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I have never felt so stressed out and guilty. I really can’t cope any more.

I live in a small flat with my husband, our nine-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter. I am 42 and my husband is 41.

He works long hours as a delivery driver and is rarely home.

I am finding this lockdown so much harder than the first. I am expected to help my children with school and do my own work — with only one laptop between us. I’m exhausted.

The kids are missing lessons because I have Zoom meetings I can’t cancel and I feel so guilty they are behind in their school work.

At the same time I am so worried my business will go under and then we will have even less money.

Plus, I haven’t had any government support, so money is really tight.

Now the kids are acting up and I think my daughter is depressed because she can’t see her friends or go anywhere.

I’m worried she has started self-harming. My son is now addict­ed to playing games on his phone and barely speaks to anyone.

He has also put on weight due to snacking and lack of exercise. We don’t even have a garden for him to run around in.

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Being told that schools aren’t going back till March at the earliest was the last straw.

I feel desperate. I keep losing my temper with the kids.

My husband tells me everything will be all right when things go back to normal, but I’m not sure I can last that long.

DEIDRE SAYS: You are not alone. Lockdown has piled an enormous amount of stress on families with children, particularly mums, and especially those who live in small homes without outside space.

You are essentially doing three demanding jobs: Your own work, teacher and childminder, so it’s no wonder you are struggling.

But you can’t help your children with their issues until you have dealt with your own feelings – and it sounds like you are becoming depressed.

Charity Mind (mind.org.uk) provides support for mental health problems caused by the challenges of coronavirus.

Also take a look at my support pack, Help for Your Depression.

Contact Citizens Advice (citizensadvice.org.uk) to find out if you are entitled to financial support, and talk to your children’s schools about getting a laptop or tablet.

Why not take a day off work and learning and do something you love together – go for a bike ride, cook your favourite food, watch a great film.

We all need regular breaks from the screens and stress.

Talk to your daughter about how she is feeling and reassure her you are there for her.

My support pack Self-Harming has information on how you can help her.

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