Well, what a mixed bag of emotions these last few weeks have been.
I just wanted to write a little about what we’re going through right now, especially as it is so totally unprecedented. People keep saying that we’re living through history and it is so true. What is happening now would have never crossed our minds a few months ago. Even now, living through it, some of it is hard to believe.
On the whole the children are coping really well. They obviously don’t get the gravity of the situation but they do know that it’s not right, that things are out of the ordinary. And even though they are happy enough at home, we are having the occasional outburst or meltdown, telling us that their little brains are trying to comprehend the unusual situation they are facing.
Our quarantine began before the schools closed because Miss C was displaying symptoms. (She’s absolutely fine by the way but we adhered to the rules.) But because the schools then closed while we were off, it was as if they didn’t even get a chance to say ‘goodbye’ to anyone. Their teachers, friends etc.
It was very abrupt and quite a big change for them which is why, I think, I found it difficult at first.
Did I cry a little when I hung their clean uniforms in the wardrobe, knowing they won’t be wearing them anytime soon? Yes.
Am I grateful for the fact that we’re all here, together, safe? Absolutely.
But this variety of different feelings is what I’m experiencing at the moment and it can change from day to day.
We’re all fine, we have each other and a nice place with a garden to live. But we are missing our friends and family so much, it’s very difficult.
And I’m having to tell myself frequently that on bad days it’s ok to feel a bit down. Because at first I felt guilty for feeling anything but grateful as there are so many people worse off than us.
I think that’s true in everyday life though, even before this situation. Whatever you are going through, there is always someone better off and there is always someone worse off.
We are who we are and we have what we have. And despite what other people think and say, my feelings are completely valid! It’s what I would tell anybody else and it’s what I have to keep telling myself!
This also includes the children.
When one of them is struggling and having a bad day, I’m trying so hard to remind myself that no matter how loud or frustrating it is, their feelings are still valid. We’re still encouraging channeling it correctly, ie, not lashing out and hurting, but of course they’re going to be struggling from time to time with everything that’s going on! If we are, they certainly are.
I’m not saying I always get it right either. When my patience is tested to the absolute limit I can lose my temper as well but luckily if I’m encouraged to walk away and take a breath, it helps. In that way my husband is very good and we are doing well at spotting each other’s triggers.
Myself and my husband are both doing roughly one day every 2/3 weeks in work so we are literally here most of the time. He works from home whereas I don’t but he still has a lot of time to spend with us.
In some ways it’s been brilliant, obviously, quality time, family games etc. But then we are physically together all day long! So to say that sometimes we get on each other’s nerves would be an understatement. That’s where we have to be aware and make sure that each of us gets some time to ourselves, even if only for ten minutes.
Learning-wise we’re pretty much doing what we’ve always done in our family which is to follow the children’s lead. We’ve always encouraged independent learning as much as possible and lots of learning through play. If the girls suggest an activity or express an interest in a particular theme we go along with it. Our role is to try and provide an environment full of music, culture, art, books, household responsibilities, technology, easily accessed toys and tools etc
I know this is not for everyone, and it’s nothing to do with the lockdown, it’s just how we’ve always done it and I’m a firm believer that it works. The more interested they are in something, the more they’ll want to do it and it’s always proved true with us. It hasn’t ever affected their schooling, in fact in some ways I believe it’s enhanced it. I want them to have a love of learning and not be fearful of it or find it too much of a chore.
Having my husband here means they are getting access to things that they probably wouldn’t have with just me. I’m ok with arts and crafts, baking and books etc but he sometimes takes it to the next level and him and Miss A actually built a pretend plane in the garden using bits of old wood last week. It was big enough for the three girls to fit in and they loved it.
We’re spending lots of time outdoors and when we made a little list of ‘lockdown rules’ it included making sure we get fresh air every day, whatever the weather, and we’ve stuck to it. Although we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather so far. The first week of isolation (in March) gave us an early summer.
I don’t know how long this will last and I don’t know what problems it will pose for us as a society. I do know that focussing on those kinds of questions all the time isn’t healthy, though, and we’re trying to take it one day at a time.
I also couldn’t finish this post without mentioning social media and the positives that it has brought to the lockdown. I couldn’t imagine what it must be like living through something like this and not seeing or speaking to our friends and family at all. The virtual kindness and community spirit that I am witnessing on an almost daily basis is so heart warming.
People are reaching out more than they ever did during their usual busy lives and families are in better contact, even if they can’t be with each other physically.
Yes, it is hard, but phone calls, video calls, group chats, online quizzes, group activities and games nights etc are definitely helping. Sharing family projects, videos, dances have all been really good fun too and are forcing us to make time for things that we may not have done before. We are still, thankfully, in good contact with people, in some ways more than ever.
So until we know what will happen, until the lockdown ends and things start to change, I’m going to embrace this weird situation as much as I can.
Even with their little annoyances, these are some of my favourite people in the whole world so if I’m stuck with anyone, at least it’s my lovely little family.
I’ll encourage, love, comfort (and probably annoy them a little, too) each day and try and remember that when the world stopped, my little family thrived!