I am now a mother, partner, website designer, pet owner, maths, English, art, science, geography, Home Ec and everything else teacher. Our house has turned into a cafe, restaurant and snack bar (my mood dictates the calibre of food each day – on a good day we’re a restaurant, on a sticky day we’re a snack bar). I so did not sign up for this. I mean, I know I always wanted children but that was in the halcyon days of knowing those children would be taken off my hands via compulsory school attendance for 6 hours a day 38 weeks of the year.
I’ve never before minded living in a small house. Preferring to think of it as ‘cosy’ rather than small and it suits us well. These days it feels like we’re living in the pages of ‘ A squash and a squeeze’. The house feels minute with everyone in it and a mansion on the afternoons when my partner takes all the kids out for an hour or so. My take away from this is the house may be small but at least it’s quick to clean.
The cleaning – oh my goodness, having everyone home means nothing is clean ever. Except in the five minutes between my partner doing a final clean before bed (think Petunia Dursley in her nightgown and rubber gloves giving the kitchen one more clean before bed and you get the idea) and us being up for the day. I’ve tried getting the kids interested in cleaning but it turns out that 6 and 10 year olds are much better at creating mess than they are tidying it up. What can I say? It’s a work in progress.
Practicalities aside, the general mood on my newsfeed swings between wartime ‘we’re all in this together’ spirit and impending doom and blame. We have ‘clap for the carers’ every Thursday, which doesn’t feel like it’s really taken off on my road and blame the politicians for not locking everyone down earlier/providing PPE etc.
Of course I have my own views but this blog is not the place to air them. What I can say is that lockdown is hard. With a capital H. Courtesy of WhatsApp and Facebook I’ve seen just about every meme ever created about lockdown and at different times of day I can relate to all of them. I don’t think anyone has escaped this period with a clean bill of health for their Mental Health and what it’s really shown us is that change is hard. We all go through periods of change, whether it’s children growing up, changes in a relationship, new jobs etc, it happens. What usually doesn’t happen is the changes happening to every household at the same time. Whilst the changes are essentially the same for everyone with just one simple instruction: Stay Home, what does this really mean?
For some of us it’s that we limit physical contact with others, have our families home with us 24 hours a day and don’t go shopping too often. For others it’s risk your life going to your jobs so that others can be saved. It doesn’t feel fair or balanced that some of us are doing so much, others feel as though they’re doing so little. Both groups of people are saving lives.
What’s poignant for me is how resourceful people can be. We can work together or fall apart and seeing people pull together gives me a glimmer of hope for what is to come. Every couple of weeks I walk to my Grandma’s to drop stuff on her doorstep. Her road is long and she lives at the very top of it. When I walk all the way up the road there are a plethora of rainbows in the windows, hopscotch squares drawn on the pavements and messages of support for people. There’s a toy exchange outside some houses and a book exchange outside others’. This definitely feels like we’re all in it together.
There is no happy ending to this period in our lives. The world we knew before now has gone. Lives have been and are still to be lost. No-one wins. What we can hang on to is knowing that it will end. We won’t be in lockdown forever, economies will eventually recover and hopefully there will be a newfound respect for those who are risking their lives so we can have groceries, sanitation, healthcare, deliveries, safety.
One day our grandkids will be asking us what life was like during lockdown, the same as when I had to do a history project quizzing my grandparents about the blitz. I won’t be telling them about the fear, the despair, the feelings of hopelessness as these feelings will be long gone. What I will remember is the happiness at putting my kids to bed every night and waking up with them the next morning. My attempts at home schooling which almost always ended up in teaching the kids to cook dinner for that night, the never knowing what day of the week it was and the happiness at seeing a painted rainbow in a window.
What I hope to be able to tell them most of all is of the kinder, brighter world which was born from this time.