Well, this is a strange, surreal situation, isn’t it? We’ve all found ourselves in amongst a global pandemic that is effecting absolutely everyone – schools are closed, people are working from home and worryingly the virus is spreading. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been worrying about it – lying awake at night with the world on my shoulders, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. This has been an incredibly stressful and heartbreaking time, but being a parent at least keeps me busy. It’s certainly been a huge change of lifestyle for us but we are slowly getting used to our new way of life and finding our new ‘normal’.
Here are a few other things I’ve learned as a parent during lockdown:
The days are long
The days are SO LONG. I wake up every morning worrying about entertaining two toddlers for an entire day, without losing my mind. It’s so difficult! The girls are like mini-whirlwinds at the moment – activities last 5 minutes before they are onto the next, toys scattered across the floor, mess, chaos and destruction all around. I feel like I just chase my tail all day, tidying up after two small Tasmanian devils who just never stop. Wondering if I’m being ‘fun enough’ or ‘educational enough’ are hard to push away. By the evening time when I finally get a moment to myself, I’m exhausted so head to bed, ready for the next day of carnage.
The cuddles and smiles mean everything
I’ve learned to appreciate the little moments so much more. A giggle, a smile or a snuggle. They can mean the world and take your mind off any situation. Even when they are driving me crazy just a cute smile and it’s all forgotten.
Tidying up takes forever
I don’t know why I never learn from this one – tidying up takes MUCH longer than your children will ever play with any activity. I think I’m being so clever when I set up tuff tray activities, playdoh or painting – only to be the one scraping it off the floor two minutes later. I’ve now set a limit on one messy activity a day or they all start to merge into one big ball of chaos!
You don’t need to be a Pinterest mum
Saying that I learned quickly that I really do NOT need to be a Pinterest mum. I started the week looking up educational activities, arts, crafts, PE lessons nature walks and soon realised the more relaxed I am with the girls, the better day we have. They are so happy just helping out around the house, Violet’s learned to make a mean cup of coffee (hot water supervised, of course), she’s eating more now she’s involved with cooking and preparing her food and Pearl loves trying to mop the floor and hang laundry. They love crafty activities, but we don’t need to do them ALL the time, there is learning in everything – even things we would find totally ‘normal’ are new to them and fun!
It puts everything into perspective
I’m not sure life will ever be the same again, I’ve always been grateful for the life we lead – but now everything is in perspective. I feel more grateful than ever for my health, my home, my children, family and friends. When we finally go for days out again, I’ll never take that freedom for granted again.
Food shopping has become a full-time hobby
When I’m not looking after the children, food shopping is filling up the rest of my time. Scouring the supermarkets for delivery slots, finding local stores who offer deliveries, texting neighbours and trading items, Whatsapp chats and leaving carrier bags on doorsteps. We’ve got a whole system in place in our road to help each out with groceries and make sure everyone is looked after. It’s lovely in a way, it’s brought out such a brilliant sense of community spirit, I just wish it was due to different circumstances!
Leggings are my best friend
I’m not sure I’ll even fit in my jeans when it comes to needing to wear them again – I am just living my best quarantine life in leggings, jumpers and a messy bun. After all, who is going to see me! One thing I have done is put a little bit of make-up on every day just to feel a little bit of normality, it helps but wearing jeans voluntarily at home is a step too far!
Our daily walk is everything
The street I live in has never looked so interesting! We spot birds, sniff flowers, breathe fresh air and just take in the world at a slower pace than ever before. There is so much more to see when you slow the pace down. Our daily walk has become part of our routine and helps blow those cobwebs away and stretch our legs. Our neighbours have also put rainbows and teddies in their windows for the children to spot which is so sweet too.
It’s ok to watch a bit more telly
I started the first week of lockdown with a rule in my head that I’d only let the children watch TV for a set amount of time per day. I soon realised this is a pressure on myself I just don’t need. By the second week, we signed up for Disney+ and spent afternoons relaxing watching classic Disney movies and snuggling! This isn’t a usual circumstance and with everything going on we need to just do whatever it takes to get by. If the kids want to watch TV, that’s fine! In the same vein if I need some space and chilled time it’s okay to whack on the TV too. I’ve been feeling so stressed and anxious by the world news, sometimes I just need that time out and the TV has got my back to occupy the kids when I need it the most too.
Keeping them safe is a win in itself
This is a challenging time for us all – I know it’s tempting to aim for a routine, homeschooling, to be fun, stimulating, educational at all times. Social media is brilliant for sharing amazing parenting hacks, homeschool routines and more but it is also terrible for adding the pressure! When it all comes down to it – just staying at home and keeping little ones safe is the biggest win in itself, never forget that! Kids are not bored at home, they are safe at home.
I feel like life won’t be quite the same even when this is all over – going out for our first day out will be like exploring an undiscovered foreign land and I’m not sure I’ll get used to being within 2 metres of another human being ever again, but this will pass and those days will come again. I am counting down the days.
I hope you are all keeping safe and well!