It sounded like a dream, almost romantic… 4 weeks of sleep ins, lazy days at home, no pressure, no rushing around juggling work, school and after school activities. There was almost a sense of excitement as we entered the lockdown. A banding together as a nation in an effort to protect our vulnerable against this invisible enemy.
There was some planning and preparing, last minute shopping to get activities to see the kids through the time at home. Stocking up on paints and paper, treats and baking goods. I set up a ’shop’ to limit the snack foods and to keep the kids motivated to do their chores. I was realistic with the idea of ‘home schooling’. We set expectations early on that were fair and relaxed while ensuring they continued to do something towards learning. We planned structure to our day and also had the realism that they would probably spend far too long in front of the TV or on devices. I felt prepared, well at least I thought I was prepared for what I thought would be the challenges.
Turns out that no matter how ‘prepared’ I was this is actually hard….. Like REALLY HARD! And it’s not the stuff I ‘planned’ for that has been hard, maybe that’s because I was prepared for that stuff. It’s been the stuff I didn’t even consider that has really made this lockdown a struggle.
It’s been my 9 year old asking me every morning “Mum what are we going to do today?” I don’t want to say ‘not much’ which is the truth, because she gets upset. I don’t suggest ANYTHING because whatever I say isn’t what she wants to do and she gets upset. What I say most mornings is “what would you like to do today darling and I’ll try and make it happen!”… but that’s not right either. This morning her response was “This is dumb and I hate this house and I just want to run away”… the thing is I agree with her, running away sounds good right about now!
The fighting is also hard. My kids fight, apparently it’s normal for siblings, I grew up an only child. But this fighting is next level, it’s not the same ‘you pissed me off’ fighting, it’s deeper. ALL my children are on edge, they are all showing signs of stress and anxiety, they are all missing their ‘normal’ lives and as much as I try and explain stuff and as much as they say they understand I can see they are so frustrated. They are all school aged and have lives outside this house. They miss their schools and teachers, they miss their friends, they miss their sports and group activities, they miss their freedom… and I don’t blame them because I feel exactly the same.
It’s the emotions I’m struggling with. The anger in my son driven by frustration and boredom. The sadness in my almost teenager because she can’t see her best friend. The short temper of my husband because just like me he’s also worn down by all the same struggles as me…. Then there’s my emotions which are the same as everyone else’s.
It’s the fact my sleep is so screwed up even though I still go to bed at a normal hour. I’m not sleeping well… maybe that’s because I’m not as ‘busy’ and worn out. I’m sleeping in when I normally wouldn’t and I don’t feel that getting up has the same purpose even when I have reasons to start my day… I am longing for the day I fall into bed after a hard days work and it’s because I’ve actually been to work!
And it’s the constantly being with the people I love the most. I didn’t think I would find spending so much time with the most important people in my life so god dam hard. If I had to choose only 4 people to see again for the rest of my life I would 100% choose the same 4 people I’m currently stuck in a house with, but that’s doesn’t make it any easier…. I just want a break from them and I think they want a break from me.
But I am also so grateful to have had this time. I am grateful for the drop in Covid-19 cases, I am grateful no one I know is seriously ill from it. I am grateful I have a home to be locked up in and even more grateful it’s warm and every day we have had good food on our table. I truely am grateful for the time with my family, the games, the activities, the joining in with the 'school work, the walks and the talks. BUT it has also made me realise I am grateful for the morning rush, the nagging to make school lunches and get out the door. I’m grateful for the juggling act of 3 children's after school activities alongside running and working in my own business. I am grateful for the mundane routine that was my life and I absolutely can’t wait to get back to it.
Let’s hope there isn’t too much longer to go…….