As lockdown is easing up and we can see people again, even popping into a household as long as we don’t touch anything, I’ve been reflecting on the past few months. It’s had its ups and downs for all households all across the world and with so many people in our house, we definitely haven’t escaped unscathed. With our fingers crossed that from 1st August people will no longer need to be shielded and life will feel a little more usual (I would say normal but I think the ‘normal’ ship sailed, never to return somewhere around the end of March) I’m thinking on what lessons I’ve learned from lockdown.

Babies are hard work!

Yes, yes of course I know this having had 2 other babies but when remembering the sleepless nights and the inconvenience of lugging a small person and all their equipment around, somehow I had forgotten about the pesky development leaps. To the uninitiated development leaps are certain times in a babies life where they try to break you are learning about their world around them and their resulting behaviour from all this new information is very trying. There are 10 leaps between 0 and 18 months. We are in the middle of leap 6. It’s hard, send Gin. And prayers.

Bad weather makes things so much harder

In the beginning lockdown didn’t feel so hard. It just meant we were all going to spend a bit more time together, work was going to take longer to complete and whilst not being frontline workers, we could still do our bit to keep people safe.

I started to wonder when the good feelings around lockdown disappeared and I can pin it to when the good weather upped and left. As I write this I’m watching the relentless rain which is synonymous with the British summer and realise the 2 are connected. If we can leave our house, go on a bike ride, walk the dog and just get some personal space without being frozen to death or washed away by rain, it makes a massive difference to how we feel about life/ourselves/those we’re living with.

Compassion makes the world go round

One of the problems with lockdown is that it’s taken away a lot of face-to-face interactions. Whilst Zoom and Skype/Facetime etc are enjoying a huge burst of popularity a lot of people try to only bring their best selves to the video calls and leave out the smaller niggles that are going on in their day to day lives.

Thing is, life is made up of the small stuff and constantly sweeping it aside to only focus on the bigger/more positive stuff can leave everyone feeling a little…. lacking. Luckily I am the Queen of voice notes and my besties are constantly filled in on the smaller details of my life in glorious, technicolour detail…. whether they like it or not. It’s much easier for us to all feel more compassionate to each other when we know there’s more to everyone’s lives and feelings than the standard ‘I’m fine, now tell me what’s happening with you’ conversation.

Not everyone is where you are at

Often when friends tell me they’re struggling with someone in their life I trot out the phrase ‘people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves’. It’s not a cop-out I promise! A reminder that we are made up of the experiences we’ve had, the hours on the therapists couch (for some of us) and the situation we’re in. All of our situations differ and it’s not surprising that we have different friends for different phases of our lives and those handful who weather all of our storms, as we weather and support them in theirs.

A few years ago I was the first of my friends to divorce and carve out a new life for me and the kids. My friends were amazingly supportive but it was still hard as no-one had the same experience as me. I started looking for things I could relate to, that would help me to not feel so lost as I navigated this experience and found a network of authors/public speakers who I still follow today.

One of them (Glennon Doyle) has released a new book, Untamed. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ‘heard’ by a book and my goodness do my family and friends know it! I find myself constantly dropping it into conversation, screenshotting pages and sending them to friends and generally making a nuisance of myself. It may be massively relatable to me (and some of my friends) and I may feel that my life is enriched by it but the reality is I’m probably just ensuring that no-one ever buys her book as 1: the passages I’ve sent them are out of sync. 2: They’re not in the same place as me so can’t relate to it anyway.

However, if someone’s looking to buy a new book…… look no further!