I think we can all admit that lockdown came as a massive shock to us. One minute we were bustling about our daily lives, moaning about lunchboxes and missing school shoes. And the next minute, a novel virus appeared, and countries were being placed in full lockdown left, right and centre.
If you step back and look at what’s happened, across the world since New Year’s Day, it’s enough to make your head spin.
I’m pretty confident that not many of us were prepared for a pandemic. I wasn’t. I was looking forward to 2020 being a year of more fun. And I’d bet the contents of my fridge (not bank account, because that’s empty as always) that not one of us thought anything could be worse than the summer holidays. But here we are, some (I’ve lost count) weeks into lockdown. And mostly still functioning. I say mostly, because it’s currently 11.23pm, yet there are still two naughty monkeys jumping around their beds. Giving zero fucks by the way, when I plead/beg/shout at them to go to sleep.
But as with anything, lockdown has been a massive learning curve, which has uncovered quite a few surprises for me.
The surprising lessons of lockdown
I’m a really crap teacher
There was a time where I thought training to be a teacher was a good idea. I love kids. I love their humour and their wonderful way of looking at life. But attempting to get any of my children to do their school or college work is nervous-breakdown-inducing.
I can’t do it! Honestly. I can’t motivate them to do it. I don’t really understand half of what they need to do. Google classroom stresses me out. I don’t know why that surprises me, because the online lectures I used to do stressed me out so much. And I absolutely lack the discipline to keep them home learning for longer than half an hour.
So I’m glad, for all the children that I could have potentially taught (if I’d have done a PGCE) that I didn’t become a teacher. Because I’d fire me.
The origin of all the mess
The biggest surprise for me, is the realisation that it’s not the kids that make the majority of the mess. It’s the dog. I’ve been moaning and groaning at them for flinging their shoes everywhere, constantly leaving clothes all over the place and depositing rubbish all over the house. But it isn’t them. It is 100% the dog.
Now we’re at home pretty much 24/7, I have seen them put things away, put their rubbish in the bin and not go anywhere near their school shoes. But I have seen the dog dragging shoes by their shoelaces, reaching into the bin for assorted empty packets and running riot with clothes from the dirty laundry basket. This is not what I imagined lockdown life was going to be. I assumed I would be arguing with children over the constant mess, not a furry little terror with the cutest little face. (Yes, I both love her and forgive her).
Time is a concept
In lockdown life, time means squat. It could be morning or afternoon at any point in any given day. I have no idea. All I know is that I start every day absolutely knackered, drink a lot of coffee and end it absolutely knackered. I couldn’t tell you what day it is either. And I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I didn’t even realise we were in April until today. (Where did those 9 days go?)
Living life without alarm clocks, specific times we need to be dressed and out the house for and without school runs is actually quite nice. I know this isn’t the same for everybody at the moment, and I’m in no way saying this is what everybody is experiencing. We are all living in slightly different versions of lockdown after all.
The thought of living outside of a routine filled with me panic to start with. But we’ve definitely adapted pretty quickly to never knowing what time or day it is. And so far, nothing bad has happened because of that.
My kids have actually grown up a lot
One of my very first thoughts when I learnt about lockdown was that the last time I was home all day with my youngest two was before they started preschool. I think I still have PTSD from that time. Because they were horrors. They were into anything and everything that they shouldn’t have been. They were constantly up to mischief. To the point where I called Ruby ‘Miss’ and Emily ‘Chief’. They really were the terrible twosome.
Purse in the toilet? Yep. Drawn on each other? Yep. Remote control hidden so nobody could turn off Peppa Pig? Yep. Bank cards posted through the letterbox? Yep. Tag-teaming screaming all night so I couldn’t sleep? Yep. Daring each other to leap off anything they could climb on? Also yep. I couldn’t take my eyes off them for a second. Even going for a wee meant inexplicably finding them watching the Teletubbies being murdered on YouTube when I returned from my 45 second time-to-myself.
Lockdown hasn’t been the nightmare I thought it would be. So far, we’ve had very minimal arguments and falling outs. Emily hasn’t done any of her usual crazy-scientist experiments with anything she can get her hands on. And Ruby hasn’t stropped so much that I’ve Googled how old children have to be before I can move out. They’ve been friends, played together all the time, respected each other’s space, and not dragged each other down the stairs by their hair. This is very surprising. As is their maturity and general levels of calmness.
They have the odd spat. But nothing a bit of name calling and giggling hasn’t solved.
I have become a dog
I don’t mean I’ve grown fur and started licking everyone that comes in the room. But I have started getting very excited about going out for our daily walk. Probably more excited that the actual dog, thinking about it.
Living la Vida lockdown has also brought about my excitement in seeing other humans – like my postman. Poor Steve. I’ve kept him chatting (2m apart of course) more times in the last few weeks than I have done in a year. I also very much look forward to treat time. And just like the dog, I give myself a treat every time I sit.
Unfortunately I don’t get to nap like the actual dog does. But I do get to potter about the garden in the sunshine. So it’s not so bad.
The kids don’t need me for entertainment
I thought that I’d have to fill every minute of every day with different activities. I spent hours on Pinterest looking for new ideas of things to keep them occupied. Now, I’d never normally say that any time spent on Pinterest is a waste. But in this case, it really was.
I’ve suggested doing a few of the things I’d pinned in preparation. But was met with the withering stare of tweenagers that think I’m pretty lame. Aside from doing one school-set activity a day, they’ve been really happy doing TikToks, playing Roblox, chatting and playing online with their cousins, giving each other makeovers and chilling in the garden with the dog.
I’ve got to say, I feel a little bit redundant. If it wasn’t for them remembering me for snack requests, I think they’d forget all about me until mealtimes.
And I NEVER thought I’d lament the days were they were permanently attached to me.
Even when I do have time to clean, I don’t
One of the things I was looking forward to about lockdown, was finally having the excuse to stay indoors to clean and sort stuff out. Well. Imagine my surprise when it turned out that not being at home all the time, wasn’t the reason my house wasn’t spotless.
I DO have time to do a lot more than usual. And as I’ve said, the kids are happy entertaining themselves. So theoretically, I should have ample time and opportunity to get this house spic and span.
But, I spend a lot of time procrastinating instead.
And it’s actual procrastination. I’ve even completely neglected my blog, social media and everything else in favour of sitting in my garden in the sunshine.
Basically, the reason I don’t get anything done, is because I’m a lazy procrastinator.
We take our freedom for granted
Before lockdown, it never really registered just how lucky we are. We live in a unique part of England. We’re a few minutes’ walk from the beach, and a few minutes’ drive from the South Downs National Park. We have lots of play parks near us too, and some really great places for days out too. We’ve got so used to going for a picnic in the sunshine or driving somewhere for a different walk that adjusting to life in lockdown has been a challenge.
We’ve also been really used to just popping next door to my Mum’s house, or going to see other family members or having friends round for sleepovers as and when we please. For an introvert, I’m genuinely missing contact with my family and friends. The girls are struggling with this too. They can chat and play online with their cousins, which is fantastic, but neither of them really want to talk to their friends on the phone. Emily says it makes her miss her friends even more, and Ruby is just useless at remembering to charge her phone. So it’s usually dead, and lost somewhere in the house for days on end. (Like now).
When lockdown is finally over, I’m never taking our ability to do anything for granted ever again. And we will be spending a lot more time with all the people that matter to us.
But for now, I’m happy that we’re healthy and safe, and hope we continue to be. And I dearly wish that you all stay healthy and safe too and hope we’re out of this very very soon.