Many things are emerging from this virus and the new ‘normal’ – including a newly found appreciation of schools and the bizarre reality that some parents choose to home school. Who would do such a thing? Presumably they like to argue?

Because during this lockdown, so unhelpfully coinciding with nice weather, good luck expecting a teenager to put in a full shift. In the classroom, they have peer pressure to contend with. A teacher who hopefully they respect and they might even be a little fearful of. And they do not have broadband, headphones, a dog and a garden.

We are always amused by some of the depictions of the Holland family. That we are such an inspiration. A model family who are always so on-side and supportive of one another. An argument free home, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

I am sorry to prick anyone’s delusions but I am afraid that the Holland family is just like yours. Moments of levity, fun and sheer joy, interspersed with tantrums, arguments, sulks and rancour.

‘Who’s taken the f….. charger? I specifically left a charger in this socket…’

‘Damn it, this shirt has been washed and ironed and it’s been here for days. You’re so lazy, you can’t even be arsed…’

You get the picture and I’m sure you can add in your own generic familial battles.

And such tensions are heightened, exacerbated and crucially, laid-bare by this lock-down. People trapped in houses together, each pulling this way and that. In my particular house, three adults and a child who doesn’t want to do very much at all.

This might be more applicable to boys. Girls are more studious, right? I only have boys and all with a heavy bent for the arts, so creating the perfect CV has perhaps felt less compelling.

My thing has always been that my boys must do their best. Leave nothing behind and have nothing to reproach yourself for – is my mantra.

Which can be interpreted by some as a convenient cop-out and a shedding of responsibility by a parent with better things to do. Unfortunately for me and for my boys, this is precisely how Nikki sees it. Nikki is much more hands on as a parent than me. Much more committed and altogether in the game. And I should be grateful because were it not for Nikki, I would not have been able to write a book called Eclipsed. My sister is the same. She is learning Spanish herself in order to help her youngest through his exam – and once Nikki heard of such madness and mania, she and Patrick joined in also.

Maybe it’s a female thing?

Most primary school teachers are female and I think the majority of secondary school teachers are also.

It’s not that I can’t be bothered. More that I want to avoid the arguments. I’m much happier with the quiet life. Enjoying funny videos together and generally trying to get through the day, which is more easily done when they are at school and much less easily achieved now.

One of the big arguments in education is class sizes. The consensus being that less kids, the better. And yet, in our home school, we have only one pupil. Damn it, we have more teachers than pupils and as I write, on day four, it is not the success you might imagine.

The main problem being that the pupil is unwilling…

More than unwilling. He is recalcitrant, intractable, obstreperous and indolent. All words he wouldn’t understand and which I am relaxed about because I wouldn’t have known such words when I was his age. I failed English at school – which viewers of my Ted talk will know. I hated English at school and now I love words and using them. Because my education really started well in to my adulthood and continues on to this day.

And so I am relaxed about Paddy’s reluctance. Or sanguine to use a more flowery word.

And being relaxed means that we might get through this lock-down unscathed. There are many jokes on-line about spouses killing each other over the Corona virus. That divorce rates will spike.

But unfortunately, my wife and the Managing Director/CEO of The Holland Family sees things very differently; choosing a strategy that is much more combative. Indeed, a war path is how I would describe it.

And so tensions are running high Chez Holland, compounded by Sam and I both having symptoms. Just coughs and aches at this stage and hopefully nothing more.

Crushed eggs shells are everywhere. Paddy is the key to familial harmony but it seems that he prefers to fight fire with fire – while Sam and I self-isolate elsewhere in the house (with broadband).

Paddy, though, is looking wounded. How can school being suspended not be a great thing? The best time of his childhood.

Last night, over dinner, Paddy announced that he now sees his teachers in a different light.

‘Because, mum, you’re so different to any of them.’

‘Oh, how so?’ Nikki asked, hoping for a compliment.

‘You’re like the Ginger Hulk.’

Nikki is immediately aggrieved. Sam and I put our heads down.

‘Dom, did you hear what he just called me?’

Of course I did. I am sitting right here. Sam and I both look at mum. And then we shrug.

‘Yeah. What?’

It’s a good name and he makes a good point.

At which Nikki bursts out laughing and why I guess we will make it as a family. Because we do laugh a lot and what is it they say about laughter?


Facebook live this Sunday 19.00 GMT – to chat about my novel, Only in America (available free on Amazon) – all welcome along with questions or without.





174 thoughts on “The INCREDIBLE mum…

  1. Kit says:

    For some reason I’ve been laughing at the photoshopped picture of Nikki as the Hulk for a period of time that cannot be healthy! I think social isolation has finally got to me…

    • Miccybel says:

      Very witty article. I have symptoms also and have self isolated from my family. It’s a horrible experience. To be in the same house and can’t be in the same room.

        • Megan says:

          OMG!! Haha, this little story just makes me think of my family and brightens up my mood especially during a time like this. Paddy sounds so much like my Brother and his attitude towards things. Just video games. Him and I argue all the time because you can hear him shout from the top of his lung towards a stupid video game. Nikki at the end of this short story makes me think of my mum. One minute she’s serious and can’t take joke, the next she laughing her head off over something my brother just insulted her with.

          Thank you for writing this, it has really brighten up my day. Thank you!!

        • Aria says:

          Such a well written article very witty. I can honestly say that so much quality time has also changed my perspective about the family sociology. Absolutely loved it

      • Lorraine says:

        brilliant depiction of poor Nikki. I know how hard it is to get boys to work but all you can do is try. I love the big words to describe poor Paddy who obviously feels it unfair that he has to work when everyone else can skive off! I hope you and Sam feel better soon Dom. Keep up the good work Nikki

          • kady fahd says:

            thanks Mr.holland for sharing what happened in the holland household. I am teenager who is gonna die from how much time she spent with her siblings. i unfortunately have 4 siblings, 1 older sister, 2 younger sister and a newborn brother. it is really hard to deal with a toddler and a newborn especially if you are the only responsible sister. I really miss school. it is not because i am bored or something, it is because school was the only place i would get some lonely time in and the only place i see friends in. also before the lockdown happening i really loved school too and before i would always think about how my summer vacation would suck but i think it gonna be worse pray for me! i really hope i could get back to school as soon as possible. have a nice day Mr. holland:)

      • Kyle prez says:

        Thanks for sharing, Dom. I’m not a parent, closer to probably tom’s age, but ive got three women to fight with over here, but I probably have it easier… I just want a hot shower and to be left alone!

          • Jessica says:

            This was a relief to read in a time of stress and uncertainty. I am home with two children under age 4. One girl, one boy.. in my certain experience the girl is more challenging. But we still have fun none the less. In a time when we are to isolate ourselves, I don’t feel so alone after reading this 🙂

        • Avery says:

          I totally get where Paddy is coming from. I thought I’d love the break off of school, but they have us doing so much more work than we do any regular day. And there’s no teaching, no guidance, so I’m not learning anything, I’m just put at my own pace, which is probably why I’m falling behind lol! My mum tries to help me stay on top of things, but with 4 other kids, 3 being in primary school, and her own classroom to run, it’s difficult. Just hoping and praying this pandemic can die down and we’ll be able to go back to school 🙂

          • Sierra says:

            This article was way too british for my vocabulary range, but I enjoyed it all the same. Stay safe out there and don’t go crazy! I’ve already shown symptoms of insanity…my poor family…the barn near me closed down due to the virus and now my only escape route from all this madness is gone. Lord, please tell me this will be over soon!

          • lila says:

            Its really nice to see that my family is not the only one going crazy one haha. Great article. Greetings from Poland 😉

        • KimAnneMurphy says:

          Reading this article made me laugh quite a bit, so thank you for that. The whole of New Zealand is on lockdown currently for a month and I drove down from uni to spend it with my family. My crazy, nutty, family. I haven’t had ‘where’s the f____n charger yet’ but I’m sure that’s to come. Have had many other arguments, that have wanted to make me leave though, but as I was reading this, I realised there really isn’t any better place than home. Through reading this, it made me realise how valuable family is, in a way I never thought before, thank you for that. I hope you and your family are doing well in isolation, and I hope the symptoms don’t get any worse for you both. Much love x

          • Dom says:

            England v NZ in the world cup last year was a great moment for us – and seems such a long time ago now. Greetings to you guys, so far away.

    • Wendy says:

      Uh oh Paddy whatever yer doing, you best stop and apologize cz yer dad referred to you as Patrick. If he uses your middle name. Oh dear

    • Myah says:

      I’m 15 and I’m homeschooled with my 6 year old sister and 13 year old brother as you can imagine it hard but most days it good. I enjoy it but It is really hard some days I agree with paddy being stuck in with all your family is hard but trust me your mum only wants the best

      • Sierra says:

        I’m homeschooled too. I’m 16, and I have a twin brother. We are polar opposites, but we get along well. It’s easier when there isn’t a virus going around because at least you have the option to go out, but right now it’s difficult since everything is closed. Stay safe and stay sane

    • Gloria says:

      Hi I hope everything is fine and You’ll all Stay Safe and healthy U really look like my Dad when I just look At u and sometimes I just Call u Dad and I Really feel good towards u I want to Start and Read Your Book By the way My Best friend and I Just Make A good page For Food And positive notes and Selflove I hope U check it Thanks In advance ❤

    • Jennie says:

      I home school a 15 year old boy, who is difficult at the best of times. He’s decided to be completely non-cooperative now that GCSEs are cancelled and he should get his expected grade based on his mocks… and I’ve decided I’m not willing to fight him ‍♀️

    • Delfina says:

      That part when you say ‘I hated English at school and now I love words and using them. Because my education really started well in to my adulthood and continues on to this day’ is very interesting, I’m studying english since i was three years old and I feel like I’m going to learn more going to London than all these years in school (and now in college) but I’m so afraid of that kind of adult life even if I know that that’s going to happen one day. So, that part when you say ‘My education started well in to my adulthood and continues on to this day’ made me think that I’m still a child and I have to learn a lot of the adult life even if I’m one now. It was a really good and enjoyable post, congrats for all of this success, keep going and thanks for share your experience with us xx Grettings from Argentina, hope you seeing here one day

      • Dom says:

        I think most of us are self-educated and those reliant on just their formative teenage years for their education are missing out on their full potential.

    • Angelique Davis says:

      My parents feel the same as you but unlike you they have four daughters. Reading this I laughed because it seems that boys are a bit different than us. It’s the same in the way we argue (just less cursing). It is actually crazy how similar your family is to ours we are also three adult girl with one kid sister. My older sister is 22 and the youngest is 16. Our Mom has done another garden this year and like always we complain about helping her, even though I know I should.
      Thank you for your funny article and the part about you not being very interested in English when you were young but now being a successful author is very encouraging. I have always loved English and writing but feel very unaccomplished to not have written a novel by now (I’m 20).
      Very amusing article, hopefully the rest of quarantine treats your family well!

      • Dom says:

        When I failed English at school, I had no idea that it would become useful to me in my future – my TED talk covers it better and you can see it on YT. Thanks for coming to my blog

    • Zoe says:

      Thank you for sharing Mr. Holland, I can very much relate to what is happening in your household. Although I don’t have any siblings, it still applies to our daily life. And I agree with you about the, maybe it’s a female thing, since for me I think that fathers are usually more laid back when it comes to parenting, rather than mothers. Thank you again for this article, I very much enjoyed reading it, and hope you Hollands will stay healthy and safe!

    • Daisy says:

      Coming from a family with five girls, three boys and two parents, I can vouch for you and say you got family relationships spot on. I’m beginning to think of chargers as the ammo for the majority of our arguments. Luckily there’s only three of us at home now, my mum wouldn’t be able to deal with all of us at once, especially with my dad still working. My mum is just grateful I was meant to be doing my GCSEs this year, because it means she doesn’t have to teach me. Ironically, she is a teaching assistant. From another crazy household, I wish you luck in this lockdown. It’s turning into survival of the fittest

        • Caty Hernández says:

          Such a funny story! Personally I haven’t been struggling so much with the quarantine because my mom, my brother and I work from home, so it doesn’t change the dynamic that much. I found really warming that your sister started to learn Spanish to help her kid! If you want, you can give her my email and we can become pen-pals! I am a 22 years old mexican who also wants to improve her english, we can practice our conversation through email letters, it would be fantastic!

          Hope you are having a good time these days, with health and love from your family. Les mando un saludo!

    • lila says:

      Its really nice to see that my family is not the only one going crazy one haha. Great article. Greetings from Poland 😉

  2. Pia says:

    This has been a great read, Dominic! Lovely to see your family lifting your spirits with humor! Also, I am really enjoying more blogs a week. Have a great day and stay healthy. ☺️

  3. Aimee says:

    As a (most often reluctant) homeschool mom of 15 years, this post had me laughing! I homeschooled 4 teenagers 4 years ago and my husband & I often joked that not all would make it. Good news: all have survived. So far. I’m nearing the end of this so we see the light at the end of the tunnel. I love your honesty in your blogs. It’s quiet refreshing after reading about all the parents reading stories snuggled in bed & going on nature walks. Many prayers for you & Sam to feel better!

      • Aimee says:

        I need all the power I can get. I’ve already threatened to move one into the backyard into a tent. This is a new situation for everyone so for all the seasoned homeschool moms offering more than a “I’m here for you!”, “want to borrow a book?” or “want to have a virtual coffee date?” its just not needed. Normal homeschoolers don’t have dad home ALL the time, a mom trying to juggle her workload plus her child’s new schooling, or a mandate stating you can only leave your home for necessary reasons. Until the beer plague passes, we just need to be there for each other. That’s one reason I enjoy your blog. You’re honest, you share struggles but like you said, laugh through it!

    • Carla says:

      In my house it’s exactly like that! But everything ends ok. God bless you all, and take care of your health, and Sam’s! Lots of love!!

    • Lisa says:

      Great read Dom and I’m afraid it’s not just teenage boys. A menopausal mum and hormonal daughter locked together in a house is not a recipe for peace and quiet. Hope you and Sam feel better soon (do you have a man cave to hide in?). Luckily husband can still get on the WiFi from the garden.

  4. Mandi-Sue Morgan says:

    It’s always amusing to hear how a schooler family approaches home education…..but possibly not so much for the child involved!

    Try searching up #100DaysOfHomeEducation for inspiration. It’s home education not school at home….and honestly, Paddy will get more education done (and poor Nikki keep her sanity), if you only do an hour of sit down work and then let him learn through every day situations. You have quite eloquently mentioned before that your family are not the most studious of people and have done better with practical application than with reading books and copying from white boards….so now is Paddy’s time to shine. Get Sam to teach him how to make a curry from scratch, have a family discussion about the latest government info, have a chat about your environment and any differences you are noticing since lock down whilst walking Tessa, get Paddy to plan the menu and shopping list for next week, let him loose on YouTube to watch some educational videos – education comes in many forms, but children tend to learn better, retain the knowledge and improve their mental health when they learn through play/practical efforts.

    Worst case scenario, take an avid interest in Paddy’s PlayStation games and ask him to teach you how to play fortnight! Parents thinking something is cool is a guaranteed way to put kids off of playing!

    …..and if all else fails, send him round to live with Tom and be a chicken farmer until this is all over!

  5. Heather F. says:

    Sorry to hear that you and Sam are feeling unwell, I hope that’s it’s just a normal run-of-the-mill thing & not Corona. Thank you for the blogs & podcasts, I do enjoy them. All the best to you and yours.

  6. Michelle says:

    This post had me laughing so hard. It’s nice to hear that other families are the same “hot mess” as mine! I actually feel for you as people are watching your family and heaven forbid you be normal and not perfect! I’m wondering if Nikki could take over with my two as I have given up here. The eldest has zero interest in school and is happy to have an excuse to fail grade 12 math. The 13 year old is stubborn and, well, Ginger hulk has nothing on her temper! I will probably miss all of this chaos as they will head out to my mother’s soon to avoid being infected by anything I may bring home from work. My thoughts are with you and the family and everyone in the UK as I see the NHS is a little overwhelmed at the moment. I wouldn’t be a good nurse if I didn’t remind you to monitor your symptoms closely! Thank you for keeping up with the blog and giving us a reason to laugh!

  7. Michelle S. says:

    In a world where so many want to project an ideal image, your honesty about family life isn’t only refreshing & hilarious … but so relatable ! Thank you for quite the laugh this morning !
    I do hope you get to feeling better very soon ! Michelle S .

      • Alessandra says:

        Thank you once again for the laugh and the honest reality… Ain’t easy. Hope you and Sam feel better soon. You could order Tom to take over paddy’s teaching… Not sure things will be done though… Unless it’s gym… Taking care of the chickens might become a comedy… Hang in there… All you can do really… Ginger hulk huh… At least she’s keeping it real… 🙂

      • Talía Castellón says:

        Undoubtedly, being on the other side of the world I can say that my family is exactly the same, we have been on the eleventh day of quarantine and it is incredible that we still have not killed each other hahaha.
        Sun that incredible and I love reading your page, pity that I still can’t get any of your books here.
        greetings to you and your family from Argentina .

        • Sophie says:

          Thank you so much for sharing this Dom.
          Here in Germany we also have to follow strict social distancing rules. Thankfully no one of my family got sick yet and I hope and pray that you and Sam get better soon.
          I live with both my parents, my older brother (23) and my younger sister (14), so altogether 4 adults and a teenager. I guess you can imagine how the tension is stronger than ever on day 11. Thank you for being so honest, it made me realize that it is normal for those arguments to happen, I feel like not a lot of people want to admit that.
          Lots of love from Germany

  8. Jana says:

    This is hilarious i laughed at the ginger hulk picture for so long that i don’t think it’s healthy, I’m 16 years old so i know how Patrick feels about this situation honestly i find it amazing that i dont have to wake up at five o’clock every day to go to school and we study online now so everything is much easier, even though i really shouldn’t be feeling this way since the world is going through so much at the moment but atleast some good came out of it, i think it would be a good idea to give paddy a talk about how important his studies are for his future to give him a feeling of responsibility, at least that’s what my parents did when i started highschool, and maybe not allowing him to play video games until he finishes his studies would be helpful i do that with my younger brother so as soon as he wakes up he finishes all his homework and online classes then he has the rest of the day to do whatever he wants to do, by the way i hope you and sam would get better and Nikki to stay as amazing and powerful as she is ☺️ i hope this could help

  9. Tanya says:

    This is so nice to read as we are also in the same boat as you. I have a 12 year old daughter and a 6 year old son and yes, girls are more studious to start with. As I write this my 2 are both arguing about each other making noise while they are trying to do their work, one is drawing a rainbow while the other is drawing quadratic graphs. I am the Nikki in my family, trying to add some structure to the day when let’s face it we all just want to play or relax in the sun. To add to this my fiance is in the next room working and talking to important clients on the phone, while I run round the house trying to stop the kids from killing each other. I feel your pain. I’m in week 3 now as we started isolating before the schools closed. I’d like to say it gets easier, but in reality I think the structure just gets more relaxed. I’ve got to the point where I think our sanity is more important than school work. So we’re off to play in the sun (in the garden of course). Good luck to you all. Stay safe and stay sane.

  10. Cherryoak says:

    I home schooled my niece for a time. One of the things told by local home school community. You have to de school to home school. The structure and relationship is totally different, you can’t fit the square peg of school into the round peg home slot. You set your own boundaries and time to do things. I totally get the hulk Nikki ref you shout from a place not wanting them to fall behind. It is going to be a long summer. Ironically my other niece due to all this, is now home schooling niece I used to home school (her sister) and coming up against her unwillingness. I’ve gave a little guidance but that is a battle wills they need to sort out. It’s a girl thing not just boy thing too!
    Hope you and Sam feel better soon.

  11. Kristen Hayes says:

    Thank you for this hilarious recount of current life in the Holland home! As a parent trying to keep a 10 yr old and 13 yr old on task daily for completing an obnoxious amount of schoolwork, your thoughts truly made me laugh out loud! I am so appreciative of your extra blogs and podcasts with Sam during this unusual time in our lives. It definitely gives us something to look forward to and the laughs certainly make for a nice break in the stress some are dealing with. Thank you for giving us your time, your words and your humor!

  12. Pamela says:

    Thank you! As a teacher, I get it! So we were told in the beginning at least for kindergarten/first grade students the work wouldn’t be graded because since they aren’t required to have devices there isn’t a way to track it. Now all of a sudden we are getting very angry parents upset that the work will be graded. Big meeting again today! Wish me luck!! Talked with my daughter-in-law last night and my grandsons are fighting her about doing their homework. She is also a teacher and struggling to get them to do what is necessary. The picture of Nikki is brilliant!! We are all in this together and we will all come out of this a bit ragged with some bumps and bruises, but I feel better for it. Hope both you and Sam are feeling better and it’s just a typical cold and not the Coronavirus! My son the RN, is possibly going to be deployed to NYC to help with what’s going on there! A bit scared for his safety but, he said, “I go where I’m needed!”

  13. Jana says:

    I have been laughing at the ginger hulk picture for so long that I don’t think it healthy , I’m 16 years old so I know how Patrick feels about this situation honestly i find it amazing that i dont have to wake up at five o’clock every day to go to school and we study online now which is so much easier i know that i shouldn’t think like this because the world is in a tough situation right now but at least some good came out of it, honestly I think it would be a good idea to give paddy a talk about how important his studies are to his future… at least that’s what my parents did when i started high school, and i think it would be helpful to not allow him to play with video games until he finishes his studies i do that with my 13 years old brother so now he makes sure to finsh his homework and online lessons once he wakes up then he can do whatever he wants to do, i hope you and sam will get better soon and Nikki will stay as amazing and powerful as she is, i hope this helps ☺️ and stay safe!!

  14. Niki says:

    I certainly wouldn’t want to disparage anyone who is(or maybe at this point I should say WAS) under the impression that the Holland family is somehow perfect — and really Dom, how dare you dash their dreams, just let them live in bliss during these trying times— but that was uh, never the case for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom, or maybe it’s because I’m a tiny bit older than Tom’s typical demographic of fans (I’m turning 24 on the 30th and let me tell you, it’s an absolute joy to have a birthday pass under quarantine, I highly recommend it) but, the most likeable thing about your family as a whole is that you’re all relatable. Funny? Check. Talented? Check. Charitable?Check. Competitive? Check. Occasional sore losers? Check. In my household we deal in realities, as much as we enjoy fantasy and dreams. And in this reality, my child sees Tom and sees someone that makes his mom smile and brings his favorite super hero to life. In Harry and Niki it’s beautiful photography — my three year old already loves taking pictures, not that they’re much good at this point. And then there’s Sam and Paddy. Harrison (my little one) already loves to help mommy in the kitchen but as most young children are he can be a picky eater when it suits him. Fortunately, he understands that Spider-Man’s brother is training to be a Chef and if HE can not just eat but cook all these “scary” things then he thinks, surely, I can at least try them! If all else fails I just tell him it’s Spider-Man’s favorite soup we are having for dinner, hopefully I’m never exposed as the liar I am. And then, well Paddy we see less of but he’s adorable, what not to love.

    Anyways, I am writing this lengthy comment because I listened to your most recent podcast when you and Sam noted how embarrassing it is to be fawned over for merely being Tom’s family, which is understandable. No one wants to be recognized for someone else’s successes. But despite the fact that Tom is what brought your family to my attention, I find myself more and more interested in your own individual strengths and personalities. At least the parts of them you share with us.

    So just know that this single mom and her 3yr old son, who are ALSO constantly engaged in debates about the workings of the world and what is expected of him during quarantine 2020, are extremely grateful for the levity that each of you has brought and will continue to bring to us while we are stuck at home. Thanks a ton!

  15. Carla says:

    My brother is EXACTLY like Paddy (he’s 15)! I call my mom “Hulk” too (because she has super strength) hahaha.

  16. Paul says:

    Like many of your blogs, I couldn’t stop laughing over this one. Not AT the Hollands, but WITH the Hollands. Nice to know you are all just like everyone else… btw, did you get your wife’s permission to use her likeness in the blog?

    After this crisis ends, Casa de Holland will revert back to its old self. A home filled with “moments of levity, fun and sheer joy, interspersed with tantrums, arguments, sulks and rancour.” Oh, wait… 🙂

    I hope your checking your temp, especially if your cough persists. And a thanks for home schooling me. I’ve never seen, let alone used, words like recalcitrant, intractable, obstreperous and indolent.

    Keep healthy, happy, and safe… Cheers!

  17. Jo says:

    That right there made me miss my parents so much. Specially my mom.
    Im currently 18 and living alone with one of my brothers (21) in a different country than my parents. I gotta admit I fought a lot with them, and I felt kind of relieved that I wouldn’t be part of those fights any more… but I miss family dinners so much and I hadn’t realised until now.

  18. Jacquie McCarthy says:

    If it makes you feel any better… I have been a horrible teacher to my 3 kiddos here in the States. In fact I have decided that they just need to all read a book and give me a book report. Thank God for online teaching that has been happening. Also.. poor Nicki she is such a beautiful Lady and that depiction of her in the picture makes her look like a cross between the Hulk and the Hunchback of Norte Dame! Lol! As a family of 5 stuck in our house humor is the only thing getting us through it. Glad to see you use the same techniques! Feel better you guys! And to Nicki..Stay got this! Go kick some ass!

  19. Márcia Malaquias says:

    I think Paddy would like to be part of the other Holland house, well “Holland fraternity” Well I think that behind every Holland there is an Incredible Ginger Hulk, a super heroine always saving 5 men

  20. Jess says:

    I’m a recent reader of your blog and I must say I can always count on it for a laugh. I also read your book, Eclipsed, it was a great read!
    I laughed so loudly at the image that my father thought I was choking. I can relate to Paddy, being the same age. It was my dream to stay at home and study at some point, but now all I want to do is go to school! There are just way too many distractions at home.
    It was somewhat nice to hear that your family is just as normal as any other family. In my opinion, families are never perfect, but that’s what makes them so strong.

    Hope you feel better soon. Stay safe. Best wishes for your whole family.

  21. Lilli says:

    Oh my I felt this. This is exactly what my family is going through. I never in a million years thought I would be homeschooling my children but even before all this madness started I had to pull my oldest (who is around Paddy’s age) out of school because of his chronic illness. Suddenly I was in charge of teaching math I hadn’t done in well over 20 years (I failed math with flying colors in high school) and taking classes on my own so I could re-learn it. Now add corona virus to the mix and I’m also teaching my youngest who has adhd and refuses to do just about everything I ask. I just keep telling them (and myself) that this isn’t going to last forever. Being a parent can be so hard. All we can do is our best and hope they can eventually look back and see we did what we did for their own good. Hope you and Sam get well soon.

  22. Myah says:

    I’m 15 and I’m homeschooled with my 6 year old sister and 13 year old brother as you can imagine it hard but most days it good. I enjoy it but It is really hard some days I agree with paddy being stuck in with all your family is hard but trust me your mum only wants the best

  23. Paula C. says:

    Hi Mr. Holland, Homeschooling is harder than anyone can imagine. My father was like Mrs. Holland, he was a hulk and instilled fear, but my sister and I learned in the end. Now I try to teach my goddaughter and my cousins, the only conclusion is that my respect for teachers has increased.
    Greeting from Colombia.

  24. Sara says:

    Thank the Lord for daughters! My two are actually working quite diligently and I haven’t had to resort to my inner-Hulk as yet … even when they come for cuddles whilst I’m trying to minute a virtual meeting. I’m sure I will be joining Nicki in green-ness before the lock-down is over….
    I hope you and Sam feel better soon – and thanks for continuing to give us something to look forward to reading!

      • Sara says:

        Thinking about it – I’m actually more likely to turn green at the virtual technology (or some of my colleagues!) than my daughters! :0)

        • Sally says:

          Oh did I need this humorous message today! I’m now identifying as the “graying hulk “! Last night after day 13 of 41 of home schooling (while I also work 40hrs from home and husband still works “essential” night job) I just lost it! …Crying, more like sobbing, in front of my 8yr old and 10yr old daughters after I proudly showed them a bright and cheery, daily homeschool schedule I had spent considerable time working on. They immediately whined and rolled eyes at their daily lessons, and baulked at my idea for a 1hr of chore/life lesson time (e.g. laundry, yard work, bake). Today is better and we are now laughing at how things got out of control for mom last night. Looking forward to my much deserved glass of wine!

  25. Mia says:

    I’m 14 and my school being shut down and being told to stay home is like a dream come true but now that it has happened I am discovering how creative and adventurous I actually am. I thought I liked the idea of being home all the time but I then forgot that I have a 16 year old sister, we always have potty arguments like “I did the dishes yesterday I’m not doing them today” and then we just get over it and end up watching a movie that I can say everyone enjoys- The Emperors now groove. My mum always complain that my sister and I should be nicer to each other, When such rare moments like is getting along well occur my mum seems to be annoyed with us. My family and I are always laughing and as long as we don’t spend too much time together then I’m sure it will continue with laughs, for the most part.

    • Beth says:

      Haha! Mia I have to agree with you I am the eldest of 6 and at the moment the pettiness is about TV shows and cleaning! We do get along but it is usually after an argument or when we are avoiding doing chores, so Mum usually is frustrated. Your’s is probably the same… it happens but we need to be patient

        • Beth says:

          Yes, and they’re boys! I wish I had more brothers but at the same time they really know how to get on my nerves! They are only 12 and 8 but my gosh they have already picked up the Dad jokes

          • Beth says:

            The Dad jokes have turned into my entertainment as Dad has been playing the jokes for on me for almost 16yrs. I know better than my brothers so I can get them back too easy!

          • Mia says:

            I wish i had a brother, i have always wanted one. A brother seems like fun because i like to be outside and have fun but my sister is just boring and always on her phone. Dom, I am only 14 but my mum always says to me ” It’s the hard times that make the best memories” and i have stuck by that.

      • Mia says:

        Beth, that’s all very true, i have one older sister and it is difficult getting through one day without trying to kill each other so i can only imagine what you have to deal with. Your very true in saying that the only time we get along is after an argument, avoiding chores or if we’re singing to One Direction, Harry Styles or older music and songs like piano man and when my sister and i are in a crazy mood. My mum is always at us for fighting but when we’re getting along and laughing she seems to be angrier, hard to keep her happy.

  26. Mia says:

    Holes is a fantastic film and I actually watched it not long ago. I am very sorry to hear that both you and Sam are unwell and I hope it’s nothing more than a cold, everyone is stressing out about isolation which I can understand why because these are uncertain times, and although it may seem boring at home you start to become more creative and fine your true self, i love sewing but I always put it off because it takes too long but now that I’m isolated I can do so. While being isolated I like to have an activity each day and then a big project to attend to. I recently ordered and received your book Eclipsed and I have only read through a few pages but it is worded so well and I really love it, I am such a huge fan of your work and all your sons but especially Tom’s, I really love to see you guys together all happy and you give me a sense of hope and a distraction from all the uncertainty in the world. I am also a really big fan of Nikki and Harry’s photography, I aspire to be a photographer but I am saving up around $4000 for a camera. I know this is a lot of money but I see it as a goal, it is very difficult for me to not spend my money especially on things like your books but I see it as a goal. I aspire to do film or photography in the future as I love movies and seeing how things work. I also recently became the owner of a trot here trust t-shirt, I got it for Christmas and wear it to the point where my mum got angry at me because it’s the only t-shirt that I wear. I know it’s tough with the potty arguments in the house, trust me I have a older sister who wants to watch the Twilight saga every day and we always have arguments such as who our cat loves more (it’s obviously me) and I always pull the string of “I am the one who begged mum for a cat so if it weren’t for me we wouldn’t have her” as well as “look she is sitting with me because she loves me more” or even when she sits with my sister I say “she just feels bad for you”. I hope you,Nikki, Tom, Harry, Sam, Paddy and Tessa are all okay and please try to stay positive because it will all blow over. Also any movies or books you could recommend?

  27. Elisa says:

    hi i am Elisa (14). and I totally understand paddy. home school is no fun. I now have online classes and it is even more boring than sitting in class. and I actually have to learn for my tests, but it is not even sure that the schools will open again in the Netherlands after April 6, so I don’t really have any motivation to start learning. So I completely understand him.

    • Mia says:

      I too understand how Paddy is feeling, I am 14 years old and online classes are enjoyable in the sense that i don’t have to go anywhere but i can’t even whisper to my friends. I am not the brightest when it comes to math and i have been doing algebra for 2 years and i don’t even know WHAT it is let alone how to do it, we have an algebra test in a few days and i can’t even understand it let alone teach it to myself.

  28. LizR says:

    Hilariously relatable!

    My kids are 14, 18, and 20. Since the 20-year-old is abruptly home from college and attempting to finish the second half of his semester online while the other two work through grades 8 and 12 in the same house, we’ve had to make some adjustments to the living arrangements. The boys (18 and 20) always shared a room, but that’s absolutely not going to work in this situation given that their sleep schedules are offset from each other by at least 3-4 hours.

    Preparations, then, involved moving/discarding inordinate amounts of stuff from the attic room over our garage so we could then move boxes into it from my husband’s home office / hobby room / dumping ground for camping supplies. His office, since he’s working from home now, was then moved into our bedroom, which had its own supply of nonsense that had to be relocated, and, well…you get the point, hahaha. My house is now more of a disorganized wreck than normal. And as much as I’d like to get it cleaned up ASAP, I’m sitting here instead keeping myself sane by reading your blog and final-editing one of my books that I’m thinking of putting up on Amazon, either for free if possible or as a fund-raiser for one of the organizations that could use some extra help right now. My little contribution to combat people’s boredom, haha.

    Thankfully, my 14-year-old plugs along with the school work that gets emailed to her throughout the week without me having to do much of anything, because I’m absolutely a conflict-avoidance person, and the 18-year-old is hopefully doing his work like he says he is, but if not, I figure he’s an adult at this point and can deal with the repercussions himself, lol.

    I hope you and Sam are both feeling better soon, and that the rest of the family stays healthy. All the best to you guys.

  29. Moony, aka Moon Child. says:

    Hi, Dom! Many things in this blog made me laugh, but none so much as the delusion of the “perfect family” situation! LOL! Like your own family, we are all human beings, and have our very good and bad moments with one another. Just a fact of life. There are times when I don’t know whether to hug my family or call a Priest and spray Holy water on them! It’s like their possessed, man! It happens, unfortunately. More so now with being on lockdown. But ya get through it, and underneath all the madness, the love is there. Hang in there, and you all take care. Hope you and Sam feel much better soon. Thanks, and keep the podcast/blogs coming when you are able. Luv and ✌

  30. Jenna G says:

    your blogs are so funny. it’s so funny to see what happens and interesting. keep up the amazing work and ur family as well. the hulk thing is hilarious. Love u and your work extraordinarily-Jenna

  31. Kim Mauger says:

    This has made me laugh so much. Thanks Nikki and Dom for sharing the common thread we all have these days.
    Kim (mother of 4 all now homeschooled between hospital shifts, ready to burst, dreaming of my next cocktail. All laughter is welcome)

  32. Aydrey says:

    I love reading your blog so much, especially at the moment, That change of what we see on Tv right now.It brings joy to my days. Thank you for sharing your stories and a part of your life with us. I send you my best regard from Québec, Audrey

  33. Audrey says:

    I read your blog for a few years and I love it especially in this situation,it changes that what we see on TV. It puts joy and laugh in my days of quarantine . Thank you for sharing the moments of your life and your stories with us. I send you my best regard from Québec, Audrey.

  34. M. says:

    I always like your posts, but this one was the best! I actually laughed out loud reading it! 2 boys and 2 girls now home, three of them are teenagers plus a 10 year old! And, my husband works from home! We are starting to lose it! Especially my daughter who is right in the middle of the two boys! I just keep telling her she needs to love them and serve them and develop Christlike attributes, like patience. I told her if she does, I will take her on a major shopping trip in a few weeks! That’s not bribery is it?? We’ll just call it a reward she gets to look forward to! Of course the real reward is that she gets to feel good about herself! All the best to you and your family and your others readers of your blog. Hang in there Everyone! This too shall pass!

  35. Kirsten says:

    I am currently year 11 so teachers haven’t set any work yet! But have no idea on what’s happening with GCSEs.
    If only the government told us more infomation

  36. Nicole says:

    Reading this blog, to add what everyone else is saying, was quite relatable and thanks for the podcasts too. Also, more than anything I appreciate the reminder to laugh and find the humor in the family arguments. I’m a teacher’s aid for high school math, and I’m studying to become a teacher. Although even I’m having trouble concentrating, unlike my older sister and parents, I keep taking breaks to go for walks or hide in the garden.
    For me, being the youngest, it can feel a bit lonelier as well, everyone’s got important work to do and you don’t want to bother. And with so many accessible distractions on the Internet, it’s easy to not stay focused.

    Anyways thanks for the light-hearted read. Also, I just wanted to add that I support Nikki in all her work, I am sure she is doing an amazing job! Being a first-year teacher’s aid, I completely understand and want her to know she’s doing wonderfully. I hope and pray that you all are well. Thanks again!

  37. Mia says:

    I honestly think you are so underrated and you deserve more of a hype. I love tour comedy so much and hope to hear more of it.

  38. Mia says:

    I would just like to thank you for replying to my comments, you have made my day- my LIFE and I can’t even tell you how happy I am to the point where I have tears streaming down my face.

  39. Beth says:

    I can’t this article made me laugh so much! Sorry Nikki.
    I have to be honest though, I think I am around the same age as Paddy and have to agree that I’ll do my school work when I feel like it (which is normally times like now at 10.30pm when I just finished an assessment I’ve had since the start of the year). But considering school is almost over for the rest of our lives, I suppose we do need to knuckle down and do our part.
    By the way, the fights are non-stop. My mum and aunty are still fighting about who the favourite child is and they’re both in they’re late 40s

  40. Meredith says:

    i’m 13 and can definitely relate to paddy. why do we have to do work on this break? even though in fairness, i do know that it’s not actually a break. i can also relate to seeing my teachers in a new light, i’m starting to miss them compared to having my mom as a teacher!!! anyways, you guys are a lot like my family and i look up to you for being able to laugh about it, that’s is what i hope my family can do.

    • Kobe Lorendo says:

      Right now the world needs positivity and a good laugh more than ever. We all need to come together, not literally because you know at least six feet away, and have each others backs. Stay safe and healthy guys!

  41. Kate says:

    Oh, trust me.. I don’t think it’s much better with all girls. My sister and I have been fighting non-stop to the point we aren’t even isolating in fear of the virus. My mom has separated us (I still have control of the kitchen so I think I won that battle). I don’t know if I appreciate homeschooling as much as I thought I would’ve. To be honest, I am supposed to be working on spanish but I’ve been binge-watching old American Idol auditions. It’s all about procrastination at this point. I’ll get my pre-spring break work done but who knows when at this point! What a time to be in high school

  42. Camille says:

    Very nice speech. It’s a beautiful ode to love and especially to patience.
    A few years ago, I had a little bit the same behavior and the same reactions of Patrick. So I understand him, I think.
    Family is complicated, but it’s also the most beautiful thing we have.
    Take care of you and your family. I hope you’ll be okay !
    (I hope my English isn’t too bad.)

  43. Def says:

    Sam and Dom, I hope you guys get better as soon as possibile. And Paddy, i definetly understand you . I take online lessons too and i think it’s absolutely more enjoyable. Hope i can talk about these lessons a day with you

  44. Tereza says:

    Ironically enough, I needed a break from doing work for school when I opened this article. And it was just what I needed. It is funny and bring some sense of normal. So please, don’t focus on the fact that I’ve read it while procrastinating and thank you for the new found ability to continue with my work.

  45. Georgia says:

    As a secondary school English teacher, who is missing their job terribly, this has really made me smile. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Nikki taking on the task of teacher, and from the sounds of it she’s doing a wonderful job. I don’t think I could cope if kids were allowed all the distractions they have at home in the classroom – by the end of this she’ll be better at behaviour management than any qualified teacher. By the sounds of your experience, when we’re all back to normality I’m going to be greeted by nothing but adoring, well-mannered students, I can’t wait!
    It’s also great you’re both understanding you need time to be a family, to laugh and to bond – it’s so lovely to read about.

  46. Jaime says:

    I work as a primary teacher and there are days we have to handle 30 kids who are just as stubborn about learning and having to go to school, so I fully support Nikki lol. Now since Australia considers an essential service to front of line workers I have to educate extremely unwilling and anxious children (but at least it’s smaller numbers now) and then go home as the family appointed educator to me 15 year old step sister – which is going as well as Paddy’s I think.
    Anyway wishing you and Sam feel better, and the family all the best. Thank you for the laugh.

  47. Hendrina says:

    If well Paddy’s school-age boys like school (for, among other things) sharing with their friends, at home they have everything they like and don’t have to deal with the pressures (as you have written) of the group or the challenge of having to “outperform” peers with grades, behavior and interventions. He’s really free at home and that’s the best of all, so it’s no wonder he doesn’t miss school.

    Difficult task for mom and dad, definitely a fighting tempting distractions. Maybe it’s a girl thing, moms to the rescue; I think they love (me too and I’m not a mother) give tasks, direct, find order and make everyone find their place doing the tasks that correspond to them so they can later enjoy their free time.

    Dads are more “flexible”, they have a heavy tasks, helping mom by making some repairs … but it doesn’t last as long, instead mom always has something to do and finds something for us to do. They are the best at it.

    Boys need a challenge and it’s not Nikkie’s evil, she knows that. If Paddy is distracted, then you have to make it fun, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first, although that means being She Hulk.
    Mrs. Holland, that’s great praise. It mean that you are (and he see you like someone) strong, unwavering, but also charming and all you do are save/protecter him

    PS: And don’t worry, it’s not just a matter of sons, daughters are also distracting us (sometimes much more… fault of the creative mind, beautiful distraction), but we definitely managed to stimulate our concentration mode much easier, although obviously not always in such a good mood

    I hope to improve your health soon Mr. Holland and Sam. Keep taking care of yourself, be cautious, keep your defenses up, a little tea at night is always good against any nasty cold. You guys will be fine.

  48. Erin says:

    Hi Dom,
    I’m a sixteen year old from America and honestly, if I had to view in, I’d just spend time with Tessa and avoid all of the drama! Lol hope you have a good day! 🙂

    • Dom says:

      Then you are a wise 16 year old. As I sit and reply to ALL the comments on this blog – the whole family are asleep – including Tessa, who is on my bed. (Nikki and I are sleeping apart during my cough phase)

      • Erin says:

        Oh geez, well you’re certainly dedicated! I hope you feel better so you can ask Nikki to help you reply to everyone lol. Maybe you could get everyone to help? Just an idea. Adios amigo.

  49. Madeleine says:

    Believe it or not I’m the third youngest of a family of 8 kids, consisting in 7 girls and 1 boy… your latest blog captures our exact family relationship . Your brilliant at observing situations at a comical angle ( like the charger,a first world problem in any family). Thanks for the entertainment!

  50. Andrea says:

    My fave part was the small classes are better but only have 1 kid and are failing! What a lovely read! We are 3 girls and all are super studious, don’t know if it’s because we are women or because my mom was very strict. I love reading about your family. My parents have been separated since I was a baby so it’s lovely to read from a father’s perspective. Sending you love from Mexico.

      • Katie says:

        This picture made my day! Haha! It’s such a comfort to know that families across the world are at their wits end just like mine! But also, that they manage to get through it because they love each other so much. I hope you two are feeling better very soon and that Tessa comforts you. That is if Tom hasn’t stolen her! Thank you for sharing a glimpse of the occasional Holland chaos, so we can all stand back and laugh at all of our own. : )
        Much love to the family,

  51. Kimberly says:

    Lol me and my family are exactly the same except me and my siblings are girls but we r definitely more arty than studious. I can see Paddys view on the schools as well I’m studying graphic design at college and having to try and do my work from home is extremely stressful wishing I was at college with all my friends and all the supplies I need to create a peice of work that’s actually of a good quality but my dog makes sure theres lots of laughs with his crazy behaviour.
    Love from the north east of England

  52. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this smart blog. My husband and I to a T! I am sharing this and your TED Talks with my students, because like you & many of them, I, too, hated English growing up, and now I teach high school English. Now working from home, I keep my district-issued laptop plugged in at all times. It suddenly quit the other day, so I called my principal’s secretary, the principal, and district technical support department for help, only to find that my daughter had unplugged it to charge her phone. It’s times like those I turn into what my kids call the Momster. I will try to laugh. Bless the Holland family!

  53. Elizabeth says:

    My mom somehow homeschooled my sister and I when we were younger… I suspect, though, that there is a reason homeschooling families are always finding excuses to get out of the house and go to co-operative classes, field trips, sports, church, libraries, etc.
    Generally a task-based approach is more effective than a time-spent approach. Like, if all the work is done, you can go outside and play early or play video games or draw. My sister got used to this and when she went to public highschool she wound up taking her knitting with her so she could have something to do whenever she finished the paperwork early in class.
    I hope the social isolation situation becomes more manageable. I haven’t really felt it yet, as I work at the hospital and am around people at work. But Friday I came down with a low fever, so I am now stuck at home and finding out what everyone else has been talking about.
    By the way, my family enjoyed seeing Onwards at the drive-in theater before the mayor decided drive-in theaters were too dangerous. It definitely adds to the experience when watching the highway driving lesson scene through the windshield of your own car.
    Hope all goes well!

  54. LizR says:

    Chiming in one more time to say that of all of your blog posts so far, this comments section is my favorite. What a fantastic (and funny!) bunch of readers you’ve got! As far apart as everyone is, we’re all in this together.

  55. surily says:

    I’m 15 and I’m actually reading your blogs while my engilsh class is going on another page.
    Guess I’ll never find out what those words mean . (those are real words . right?)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *