Ok, so this isn’t quite the post I thought I’d be writing today. In this strange, surreal and worrying time amid a global Coronavirus pandemic I feel like all I want to turn to what I do best in a bad situation and write. It always seems to soothe and calm my soul, plus this is such a significant time in our lives so I wanted to write about our experience so far – hopefully for us to look back on in the future and learn a few things about how we coped at such a difficult time.
22nd March – MOTHERING SUNDAY
Mothers Day has always been a quiet day in our house, so it didn’t affect us too much – we were happy to stay in at home, we exchanged cards and gifts (I adopted a Sloth at Drusillas for V, she was made up!) so we had a quiet morning in with the girls. My Mum was on her way home from Spain, all British nationals had been told to come home so they were on the long drive through Spain and France to their home in the UK, so we exchanged texts and I’d given her a card to open before she left in February. I was relieved they were on their way home as the situation in Spain began to escalate.
On the news, people still were not taking the crisis seriously – photos of people sunbathing in parks, having days out at the beach and in town centres emerged on the news. This sent me into a panic as I was doing everything I possibly could – the UK was not yet on lockdown but the people were NOT listening. I felt like I was totally unsafe, even in my own home and whipped myself up into a frenzy of reading the news, spraying our entire house with dettol and fearing the worst. We cleaned the car and kept busy but I felt pretty anxious.
23rd March – MONDAY
I decided to throw myself whole-heartedly into childrens activities on the Monday. Social media was covered in homeschooling schedules for kids, toddler routines and PE/workouts to do and I really felt the pressure to keep up and make sure the kids were keeping occupied enough whilst stuck at home. Violet and I made rainbow collages whilst Pearl napped which we both really enjoyed – she’s just mastered using scissors so was so proud to cut little squares of colour out and stick them down. We stuck them in our window to brighen up the day of local children walking by. I mentioned it in our neighbourhood Whatsapp group (made for COVID19 support last week) and soon teddies and rainbows were popping up all along our street and surrounding roads too!
In the evening Boris Johnson announced the UK Lockdown in a much-anticipated speech. I knew something was coming when the normal announcement was moved from 17:00, to 19:00… then to 20:30. We put down our phones and listened to every word. For some reason I just burst into tears as he spoke, I’m not really sure why as it’s what I wanted and hoped for but suddenly it all just felt so real. It is like living in some sort of horror movie – I keep wondering if I will wake up any time soon and realise the whole thing was a bad dream. I was pleased and relieved for the UK Lockdown although I wish it had started sooner if anything – knowing there were actual rules in place made me feel safer and more secure. I hoped finally the British public might be forced into taking it seriously.
24th March – TUESDAY
Tuesday was a funny day for me. It was meant to be the start of my new routine as Pearl was due to start her nursery settles. It’s a day we’ve been counting down to for months, I was finally about to get some adult time to have two full working days within the week. I have the kind of brain that NEEDS stimulation and to work as well as being a mother – if I don’t feel stimulated and challenged during the week I start to get frustrated so I’d really looked forward to this time to add some balance to my life. Instead of dropping both Violet AND Pearl off at the nursery, it was a very different day – I had both girls at home with me instead and absolutely NO clue how to occupy them. They’ve started to realise at this point that we are couped up and were both a bit more emotional and tantrum-y than usual.
I tried to make the best of the day by having a schedule – doing exercise in the morning, live streaming baby group in the day and playing in the garden in the afternoon, but the girls didn’t seem very interested in much of it and it just felt like I was constantly clearing up the chaos!
25th March – WEDNESDAY
The sun was shining on Wednesday morning so we got into the garden first thing- listening to the birds singing and noticing the blossom starting to flower on the tree made for a much calmer morning. The girls pottered in the garden and let me sit and enjoy a coffee on the steps in the sun, which was a much better start to my morning. I soon learned that getting outside is the key to coping with everything and feel so grateful for our garden.
Another topic that is at the forefront of everyone’s minds during this time is food shopping. Suddenly, there are no delivery slots, shops are out of stock of toilet rolls, cupboard items, cleaning products and more. A huge proportion of my conversations with friends revolve around food shopping. My neighbours and I will add bits onto our food shops (when we DO get a slot) and then trade items, leaving them outside each other’s doors and reassuring them we’ve coated them in Dettol. We’ll return the favour by getting hold of items they’ve not managed to find. It’s like the black market on our road, only we trade in bread and oat milk.
26th March – THURSDAY
Thursday didn’t bring us too much to report – the days started to roll into one and I just longed for the weekend – not that it would be any different, but so that V would be home and able to support me a little more with the children. Another couple of emails dropped into my inbox to cancel or delay work. I started to worry that my business was going to take a tumble which left me with another knot in my stomach – after I’ve worked so hard to make my self-employment work.
That evening the government announced a scheme to help self-employed people during this time which was what I needed to hear. I think from looking at the guidelines so far I’ll be able to claim for some help due to the lost income, so that helped a little at least.
Something that did cheer us up on Thursday was that it was our neighbours 93rd Birthday. Neighbours from our street stood outside her house (2m apart!) to sing Happy Birthday. She put a sign up in her window saying ‘Thank you for good wishes. Made my day” which was so lovely and heartwarming. We kept our spirits up with our daily walk around the block and I cleaned our door handle approx 458 times.
27th March – FRIDAY
Friday was a very different vibe as V was home with us so life suddenly became SO much more relaxed with two people about. We had a slow morning and watched Frozen 2. I have no idea why the girls are so calm when V is home, when I’m on my own they are like whirlwinds and run circles round me!
I put my feet up, had a coffee and tried to think more positive about everything. Money was going to be okay, we were all healthy. The sun was shining – things aren’t too bad. I tried to limit my exposure to the news as I was getting too stressed by reading it all, I think it’s important to inform yourself but know when to back away too. We can’t live in fear every moment, it’s not healthy.
We went for a long walk with the double buggy – the girls got out for a toddle about in the fields, they ran about like crazy with Robbie, laughing and giggling – it was so good to get some fresh air and change of scenery! We all needed it. The sheep were out too, so they provided lots of entertainment too, bouncing around their fields. I made the girls binoculars from empty toilet roll tubes that kept them occupied on their walk, spotting trees and wildlife as we walked.
V let me have free-rein of the remote that evening so I chose the trashiest, easy watching programs possible to take our minds off everything. Although she rolled her eyes at my choices, I think she enjoys trash TV really she just won’t admit it.
28th March – SATURDAY
Another slow morning – I think I could get used to this slower pace of life. We got up and had time to do some decluttering that we’ve been putting off for ages. It always feels so satisfying to see all that clear space, so I enjoy a good declutter. The girls were happy to play together, I’m so pleased they enjoy playing together so much during this time – they are inseparable these days which is so cute to see. Violet made a jumping game where they’d jump off the sofa into a pile of blankets and cushions – I watched them secretly through the glass of the door. Every time Pearl jumped, Violet would say ‘Good boy!’ which was making me laugh.
So, that was our first week in lockdown. In the short space of a week, I’ve learned so much – I’ve been through every emotion, cried, laughed, fretted, celebrated and feel like I’m not sure how life will ever be the same again! Ultimately, I feel grateful we are all safe and well. We just need to learn to adjust, that’s all.