I’ve always been one for finding the best in every situation and lockdown has been no different. I’m lucky in so many ways, I still have an income, I work from home, my mum is close by so I can do her shopping, we have a garden and plenty of ways to keep ourselves entertained. As well as these things that make lockdown an easier experience for me as a parent than it is for some, I’ve also discovered some great things that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I will Never be Afraid of the School Holidays Again
Every year, I dread the six weeks holidays. I get in a panic about how I will manage my work without six hours a day of peace and quiet, I worry about how I will keep the kids entertained day in day out and I stress about how I will manage my mental health with no alone time.
Ever since the kids were babies I’ve struggled with the need to balance their need for me to be constantly present and my need to be alone. It may sound selfish, and maybe it is, but it’s my reality, and I suspect the reality for plenty of other parents. So every year, when summer comes round, I arrange for my Mum to have the kids for a few days, I book them into holiday camps, I arrange childcare swaps with friends and I plan tons of activities to keep them busy. I even have a whole blog post about ways to find childcare in the school holidays.
If you’d have told me at Christmas that the kids would be at home with me, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for an undetermined amount of time, I’d have panicked. Luckily, the way things worked out, it became clear gradually that this was going to happen, thank goodness because if I’d been suddenly informed of it I might have had a breakdown.
What I have discovered is that my kids no longer relentlessly demand my attention like they did when they were small. At 7 and 9, they are capable of entertaining themselves for extended periods of time while I work or just be alone for a bit. When I am with them, they want to do things that I actually enjoy, like cooking or playing board games. While I am looking forward to that first day when I am alone in my house again, I will also never worry about how I will cope with them being home from school again.
I Actually Really like Homeschooling
I’ve always thought homeschooling is pretty awesome, all that scope to focus on your kid’s interests and teach in a way that suits them. As you’ve probably gathered from the previous paragraphs, it was the idea of them being at home with me all day that put me off.
Even with the limitations put on us by lockdown, I’ve really been enjoying teaching the children. Every week I create a (beautiful, colour coded) schedule of activities. I’ve used what the schools have sent us and then found activities to make it more engaging. Where my youngest has less work to do than my oldest, I’ve adapted his topics so that they can cover some things together. With careful planning I’ve been able to manage homeschooling and working fairly well.
The only thing I haven’t liked is the maths, which actually made me cry on day one because I just couldn’t understand it, luckily Chris has taken that over.
My Kids Do Actually Like Each Other
I imagine every parent with more than one child was dreading spending lockdown refereeing fights between their off spring and I was no different. As it turns out, having no one else to play with has helped my kids realise they quite like each other.
At the start there was the usual amount of bickering but as time has gone on, they’ve bonded over Minecraft (thank god because now they talk to each other about it instead of us). That bonding has spilt over into other areas and, while they do still argue from time to time, in general I am massively grateful that they have each other and aren’t just reliant on us for entertainment.
My Community is Pretty Awesome
Both of the kid’s schools have been amazing. The Infants set up email addresses for the classes and Girl Child has been loving emailing her teacher. The juniors have a toilet roll challenge running where all of the children are recording clips of themselves throwing toilet rolls and then they’ll link them all together at the end. The teachers also created an amazing video of them all dancing.
We live on a housing estate and the whole place is filled with rainbows, there are lots of families and everyone has got involved. Some people have gone the extra mile, with the local balloon decorator creating an Easter balloon display in her garden. When we go for our daily walk with the dog, everyone smiles and says hello, it’s lovely.
One of my businesses is running baby and children’s nearly new sales and obviously that has had to stop and we have no idea when we’ll be able to start again. I had about 40 people with stalls booked and they have all been so understanding and most are happy to hold the booking until we are back up and running. I’ve been so touched by how supportive they’ve been.
I’ve Eaten Lots of Great Food
We love food so, with restaurants closed, we decided we’d try and support the local independent restaurants by getting a takeaway every week from one of the ones still open for delivery and collection.
So far we’ve had Greek, fish and chips, Chinese and smokehouse. Next week we’re planning Indian and are going to get some delivered to my Mum for her birthday. All the food has been amazing and we’re looking forward to visiting the actual restaurants when this is all over.
Being an Introvert has Some Serious Benefits
While all the extroverts are FaceTiming friends, having virtual quizzes on Zoom and virtual nights at the pub on Houseparty, us introverts and quite happy to be home, not having to make small talk or find polite reasons to decline party invites.
While I miss being able to hug my Mum and chat with my friends on the school run, being an introvert means I’m coping with social distancing better than a lot of other people.
I now tag the following bloggers to post about their lockdown silver linings:
Sarah Lou Writes
The Neary Diaries
A Suffolk Dad
Dear Bear and Beany
Then there were three
Little Miss Eden Rose
Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs
The Honest Mums Club
Let Them Be Small
Miss Tilly and Me
Cloth Bum Mum
Mums the Nerd