I woke up yesterday morning and couldn’t remember for the life of me what we did for my birthday. My husband couldn’t remember either! That’s how uneventful it was. I had some time to reflect on this yesterday and decided to write a blog post about it.
It’s the last day of April and we are about midway into our sixth week on lockdown. I had an inkling that this would be the case a few weeks prior as more cases of people with the virus were reported and my husband’s employer put in place a working from home rota, I didn’t expect, that we would go into lockdown a couple of days before my birthday! While we hadn’t planned anything elaborate (well, my husband had tried to arrange something, but those who were going to provide some childcare cancelled a week or so prior), it would have been nice to spend the day whichever way we chose to, rather than feeling forced to stay indoors with a takeaway. Shout out to my girlfriends who also made an effort to call me and popped some champagne in my honour. Mother’s Day was a few days later – and again – it was simple as we stayed in and had a home-cooked meal made by my husband. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not ungrateful – my family did the best they could with the circumstances. I am also very aware that there’s a lot worse happening in the world at the moment, however, life feels rather different when one doesn’t have a choice in the matter.
Since then, I (and the rest of the world) have had to adjust as well as we can. Being home is nothing new to me (I have been at home for most of the last 2.5 years since leaving London). Since lockdown, I’ve only been past my front door once in 6 weeks!!! Most people are very surprised to hear that – I’m not sure why because everyone knows I’m the definition of a true homebody. Reliving the first and only time I went out sends me to a not so good place. That was about 3.5 weeks ago where I ventured into the supermarket about 5 minutes from my home. It was very odd and left me feeling extremly uneasy and brought up all the OCD in me. Right now, I’m grateful for my husband who does all the food shopping for our family – and for my little unfinished garden (long story!) which provides some sort of escapism from everything that’s going on and a place to workout daily. Let’s not talk about what I’ve been eating though – because – well – you know how it is!
This was the year that I was planning to get back to employment. Working from home would have been my preference but I was open to the fact that I would probably have to travel into a place of work. And so, I passed my driving test in January and had even planned to be working by April. Ha!! Talk about spanners in the works! Although my plans didn’t quite pan out as I thought, I am very grateful because this homeschooling business is no joke and requires more time and patience than I expected. I honestly don’t know how working parents are able to do both! I am blessed that right now, I can attend to my daughter, the blog, the podcast, and keep all the other balls juggling with nothing (okay – maybe not absolutely nothing) slipping. One thing that I have learnt about myself is that I am no teacher and homeschooling isn’t for me. I’m however grateful that my husband comes to the rescue every so often and helps with this new way of life. By the way, if you are looking for a great homeschooling resource, listen to our latest podcast. We interviewed the lovely Andrea Fender, a school teacher with over 15 years’ experience who shared some great tips with us.
Speaking of family, having my husband and daughter around has been absolutely great. We all seem to have adjusted well. Granted, there are moments when we all wish that everything was back to normal and times when we’ve found it difficult to cope. It is at such moments that I take an extra 5 minutes in toilet or close the door to my bedroom for a few hours or allow myself a day to for pampering and when I emerge, I am grateful that they are here with me and we are all healthy and happy. Outside homeschooling, the it has been challenging to keep my daughter entertained outside electronics. I’m grateful for my church which has put together different fun activities during the week to keep her entertained. They’ve been great! My husband also deserves a medal for taking her out for a bike ride every other day which they both enjoy.
So far, my mental health has been generally fine apart from a small wobble on week one and the odd day here. I think the pressure of not knowing what would happen next took a bit of a toll on me earlier on. Now it almost seems like a new way of life – not that I would like this to stay this way for much longer – but I have accepted that this is what it is at present. Several things have helped me to keep my mental health together:
- Starting and ending the day with gratitude and biblical meditation and prayer
- Reducing my news consumption (it is limited to once a day in the evening). I have also put some people and groups on mute on WhatsApp because it all gets a bit much.
- Creating a new daily routine which has helped me remain focused and efficient.
- Keeping calm and carrying on. After all, there is still a live to be lived.
- Staying close to my tribe – we have periodic pamper days and phonecalls to connect, check in and have some fun.
- Being honest in the moment about how I’m feeling, having some self-compassion and allowing myself to sit in my feelings.
- Being hopeful for the future – working on my goals as much as I am able to at present and keeping an on going list of things that I would want to do when things go back to normal – whatever that will be.
I’m not entirely sure how I will feel when this over and look back at this time in our lives. One thing will be for sure – I’ll be glad that we survived it.
Comment below and let me know how you are doing. I’d love to hear from you!