So. It’s day 3567829 of lockdown and when I just logged on to this lil’ ole blog of mine it would seem that I haven’t actually even posted ANYTHING for a looooong time.
Don’t get me wrong, I had planned to post a ton of blog posts, all about my life in these crazy times and was actually genuinely excited about it. I had loads of other plans too, I honestly, in my 42 year old naive state, thought lockdown would last 3-4, maybe 5 weeks max?! Yes, we can do this!! I had images of my son smiling at the kitchen table, completing his schoolwork proudly whilst I tapped out a few hundred words of nonsense as I love to do. We’d have such a great time! We would spend the afternoons playing games, riding bikes, getting fit, eating healthily, it would be a fantastic chance to click that reset button and have a break from real life.
Oh, the innocence…..
I was going to finally learn how to play the piano. (Something I’ve wanted to do forever, mainly because I want to be that cool girl who could easily smash a cheery tune, much to everyone’s utter delight, at a house party. Remember them??)
I was going to cook every single day and shake off those pesky few pounds that I’d be wanting to say goodbye to for a while. Joe Wicks was going to be my new best mate basically.
I was going to bond with my little rascal child. I was going to be the BEST home schooling teacher you’ve ever seen.
I was going to start projects. Write the book, learn to knit, to sew, learn something new.
So many plans.
Ha! To the me in March when all this madness began - get a grip. So what the hell happened? Well, it has now been the grand total of 110 days since our lockdown started. And, surprise surprise it hasn’t been the few weeks of lockdown and straight back to school / normality that I’d hoped for.
The blogs didn’t happen. Well, a few did and then it just didn’t feel right to be posting daft content as is my way. I convinced myself that no-one could give a toss whether a middle aged old bird was posting content about her boring life.
Home schooling did NOT involve a happy child / cheery Mum starting work at 9am and lovingly smiling at each other across the table, with Mum correcting a few spellings and maths problems now and again in between baking cakes and bike rides. Nooooooo. It involved tantrums, a whole lot of frustration and to be fair, that was just me. My initial hopes for stationery, stickers, reward charts and loving the whole thing just didn’t really happen. The Mum-guilt hit HARD. Until I realised that most kids were in the same position and actually, we were doing our very very best.
The bike rides did happen however. Both my 8 year old rascal and I have learnt how to ride on actual roads so I can safely say he (and I) can pass the cycling proficiency test now quite happily, an important skill in my book. For someone who hasn’t been on a bike for a long time, it was an eye opener for me. I am proud to say I can now safely signal not only left but right too (I don’t have to go round in circles anymore, go me!) but I do have what I affectionately refer to as the “evil bin” which belongs to a neighbour down the road and which I am completely unable to navigate around without hitting it.
The attempts to learn the piano is actually going well though, I am fully signed up to a years subscription of an online course and so far have learnt a very basic rendition of a few songs, current favourite being “We Are The Champions” by Queen. And when I say basic, I mean incredibly basic. But it’s a start, right??
Cooking fresh and losing weight. Ha! I had the entirely stupid idea to sort out my wardrobe and try on all my jeans a few weeks back and was disturbed at best to realise that even my “fat” jeans were a teeny bit tight. ‘Nuff said. One renewal of a Slimming World subscription later and here I am, 5lbs lighter and trying desperately to get rid of the lockdown lard.
As for best teacher, well, if Ofsted popped in for a coffee and a quick look around, they would declare me shocking at best. Ain’t no-one chipping in for an end of term pressie for this one.
The projects. Well. I have actually managed to learn how to thread a sewing machine, something which I haven’t been able to do since circa ‘93 GCSE Textiles, in which my main achievement was shortening my school skirt while the teacher was out. (True story.) I’ve now been able to alter a few more items of clothing, have been to the absolute Mecca that is Hobbycraft and buy yet more stuff “to do”. Could this be a new passion? Or yet another fad? You decide my friends, you decide.
For all the things that I planned to do, there’s a lot more that has come out of lockdown for me. The main one, and thankfully one I have finally managed to deal with has been my own mental health. Or should I say lack of it. No one warned me that in the midst of a pandemic I was going to spectacularly lose my shit in a way I never dreamed of. Everything just got a bit, you know, weird.
For around a week or two, I Lost. The. Plot. I wish I could explain it but I couldn’t at the time and doubt I could now in all honesty. At that point, (it was a good ten weeks or so in) I had had maybe an hour away from the rascal and had been dealing with it all single handedly. My husband is classed as a key worker and although technically, I could have sent him to school, I wanted to do it myself and protect us I guess. But, in all honestly I found it hard. I was seeing social media posts from the yummy mummies saying how blessed they were to have their kids around them constantly and how much they loved it, busily uploading ALL the pictures of the enormous amount of work these kids were doing and for me, it just wasn’t like that. I should have been loving the fact that for the first time since he was four years old, I had the normally impossible opportunity of spending a lot of time with my rascal and due to the fact that rascal and I have very similar personalities we clash sometimes, well, most days. (For any newbies to this blog, I refer to him as the rascal in genuinely the nicest way, I adore him but - and shout me down all you want - sometimes being a Mum is HARD!)
I decided to make the house a peaceful place instead of a constant battleground. Attempting to deal with this “new normal” was hard for both of us and, I am ashamed to admit it was affecting us both pretty badly, so we decided to take a little “half term” and have a week off in Costa del House.
Luckily it happened to coincide with some fab weather so…….. we may or may not have spent a lot of that week developing our bat and ball skills and getting out and about. And getting a tan. Anyway….. It worked for us, don’t judge!
I couldn’t have actually got through any of that horrible week without friends, in fact if lockdown has taught me anything, it’s who my friends are. I’ve had daily, yes all 110 days, texts from my amazing friend (not going to name names as people may not want to be on here but you know who you are!) who has literally checked in with me every single day to make sure I’m keeping sane, to share daft memes, to make me laugh and to send me cards saying “you got this.” This lovely friend was also the one to come over when we were finally allowed to and have literally the best nights “out” ever dancing in the garden. Then I have the friends who send books between us, (is there anything more exciting than receiving a book in the post?! I don’t think so!) who have virtually the same lockdown moans as I do and simply just “get it”. The friends who text and say “I’m driving past, can I pull up on your drive and say a virtual hello?” And the Mum friends! The ones who absolutely know what you mean when you lose your mind. The ones who say “Have a drink. We’re here. Read this book. Facetime me.”
Ok. I’m going to stop being soppy and sounding like Gwyneth Paltrow’s acceptance speech now.
The thing is, lockdown has been different for everyone. If this had happened 16 years ago, I would be alone, in a tiny flat with no social media, no opportunity to meet with friends and almost certainly no job. I know things would have been very different. I have been so lucky to have a home with a garden that I can enjoy the flashes of sunshine in, a fridge with food, friends to contact and a head that I finally figured out how to manage.
So. To round this up, I’m going to go through my three favourite things about lockdown and my three least favourites. Let’s go straight in with a countdown from number three of the least favourites wiiiittthhhhh…… (anyone else do that in an “Ooh Gary Davies voice? Just me??)
3. Home schooling. Fun fact - when I was a kid I wanted desperately to be a teacher. Now, I’m at the point where I wonder what I was thinking and that my second career choice of being a pop star was far more viable.
2. Being my sons “Snack bitch.” I feel like if you’re a parent I really don’t need to explain this. If you are none the wiser, please take a moment to imagine if you will, a small version of yourself wanting to eat at two hour (at best) intervals but we’re talking specific requests here. Beans NEAR bread. Dippy egg that HAS to be dippy, not hard (don’t blame him on this one tbf) and ham wraps folded in a way that would make origami experts weep.
1. The isolation of the whole entire thing. I bloody love a day at home, I work from home, I am here most of the time but when you’re forced to, it’s not nearly as much fun.
Aaaannndd the favourites -
3. My house is stupidly clean. I have embraced my inner Mrs Hinch and invested in a label maker. My under sink cupboard is a thing of dreams. The Hinch would love it. Sure, it’s a little “Sleeping with the enemy” but it brings me joy.
2. I’ve realised what is and isn’t important in my life. I don’t need to get my hair, my nails, or my face done constantly. I can actually cope for a while without it and actually, not wearing make up for basically three months has done my skin a massive favour. I like the fact that I can nip out to the shop with nothing but a face mask and a smirk. (I should add, clothes too, but these consist of loungewear - my new capsule wardrobe.)
1. The simple fact that we are 110 days into this crazy thing and I am (and all my favourite people are) healthy, almost sane and cracking on in the best way we can.
Lockdown may not be over exactly (can I stop counting the days yet?!) but we’re getting back to SOMETHING. Surely?!
And just like that, (a few hours and numerous snacks for the rascal) I have finally done another blog post. Fun fact, my husband came home yesterday saying that he’d spoken to someone who actually missed my blogs - massive thank you and to be fair, you are the one who gave me the kick up the proverbial to actually write this!
Hope all of you lovely lot are well, are keeping safe and are keeping sane. Can I also add, this is (as all my blogs always are to be honest) very definitely a lighthearted approach to the entire thing. I am fully aware and totally in awe of every parent who has had to do this single handedly, who have been working throughout and to the amazing key workers. I salute every single one of you.