I think we’d all agree lockdown is getting a little bit boring now, and most of us are pretty much over it.
I was going to write a ‘positives of lockdown’ type of piece. But seeing as the whole point of my blog is to be honest and realistic I didn’t think that would really be telling the whole story. (Plus you know I like to waffle)
And let’s face it, it’s not all family walks and painting rainbows for most people right now, as you can see in my last post Feeling the pressure to be supermum in lockdown? so I thought I’d sum up both sides.
So here you have it – the best and worst bits of being a mum in lockdown.
THE BEST BITS OF LOCKDOWN
Spending time with your kids
Now however much of a pain in the arse our kids can be, it’d take even more of a hard-nosed person than me to say that you don’t enjoy spending time with them.
For mums with older kids who are all at school, this is probably even more relevant and a novelty. (Although possibly not seven weeks in…) Less of a thing for us preschooler mums, and especially the stay at home mums who see our kids all the time anyway. Like ALL the time.
But no matter which way you look at it, this global pandemic has afforded us family time we’d never have had in normal circumstances. Whether we spend it coming up with the most extravagant arts and crafts, playing board games, going on bike rides, or watching the entire Disney Plus channel in a fortnight because we’re also trying to work from home, it’s nice to spend time with your kids. Especially if you’re in a position where both parents aren’t working and it’s basically like a staycation without the packing. Or the cost. Or the laundry pile when you get home. Although not quite so rosy if you’re not in that position, I’d say.
Less time constraints in lockdown
So obviously I’m coming at this from a stay at home mum/freelancer’s point of view. So I’m not having to be on a conference call at 8am for a job, or work even harder during lockdown because I’m also covering the tasks of half my colleagues who have been furloughed.
But isn’t it nice to not have to do the school run? I’m loving not having to set an alarm at 5.45am and battle against the clock and mischievous toddlers to get everyone out the door on time – all of us looking vaguely presentable.
I started off with good intentions of trying to have everyone ready to ‘start the day’ at the same sort of time as leaving for school. I think we came within half an hour of that on the first couple of days, then it all went to shit.
Now I’m doing okay if we’re all downstairs and eating breakfast by 9.30-10.00am. And before you ask how my kids allow that to happen and not turn feral without breakfast – it’s called a little pot of dry cereal hoops upstairs first thing. Gives me at least another hour (sometimes two at the weekend!) of not having to rush downstairs.
Although starting later does make the day shorter sometimes. Or so I thought until I realised bedtime was just getting later too. But I am enjoying not having to look at the clock to be anywhere at any specific time. The most we’ve had to do is ensure the four year old is ready for a few one-to-one online Taekwondo lessons. And we still totally forgot about one of those until the teacher was Facetiming us ready for it.
Surely this has to be a big bonus of lockdown? No direct debits coming out for swimming lessons or clubs. No days out to local petting farms or theme parks, or entry into soft play. You’re not filling up your car with fuel constantly for those ‘please go the fuck to sleep’ drives up and down the dual carriageway. No nights out if you’re lucky enough to get a babysitter, and no coffee and a cheese scone at your local National Trust place with your mum mates. It’s a shame I seem to be making up for it with the Joules and Fat Face online sales…
Thank God for the garden
We’re lucky enough to have quite a big garden, and if I’m going to have one catchphrase for Lockdown 2020, it’s going to be “Thank God for the garden.” I must say it at least 10 times a day and to every single person I speak to. The weather might have taken a downward turn last week, but how amazing was it for the first few weeks? It felt like summer was here already, the paddling pool and water pistols were out, and all my boys wanted to do was bounce on the trampoline or fight over the swings. (Note: Don’t ever have a double swing when you have three children. Literally. Not. Worth. It. Although I *may have mentioned before, three kids was NOT the plan).
With the Other Half working long days and not finishing until just before bedtime, we’ve not been going out and about for our ‘daily exercise’. Mainly because I’m not stupid enough to want to take two year old twins who refuse to go in the buggy or to hold my hand, plus their whingey four year old brother, for a wander along my local pavements by myself. Hence ‘Thank God for the garden’.
Not having to be presentable
Isn’t this just AMAZING? It doesn’t matter what you look like because the only people who see you are your kids, the Tesco delivery driver (if you’ve won the slot lottery) and the postman – who is half way back down the road before you’ve even opened your front door. So it doesn’t matter what you wear, whether you’ve got make-up on, or have washed (brushed?) your hair. I tend to still put on basic make-up just to feel like me, but my hair is a different story altogether – complete with out-of-control fringe and ever-increasing greys. It’s not seen a hairdryer in 6 weeks, and I’ve forgotten what my straighteners even look like – constantly sporting the mum bun look.
And my LEGS?? I must be about ready to apply for the Guinness World Records book soon. In the real world I have them waxed monthly – my latest appointment was the day after lockdown started so didn’t happen. I refuse to shave them and ruin all my good work having not done so in more than 5 years, and I can’t be arsed to use my own wax strips at home. Luckily having waxed them for so long, they aren’t hairy all over, but the hair that is there is probably at least half an inch long now. I wouldn’t blame the Other Half for binning me when he’s actually allowed to go anywhere. It’s pretty grim. But who cares?? This is lockdown. We’re allowed to be Slummy Mummies.
And what about all you lot talking about not wearing bras? My boobs aren’t big enough to even notice, let alone feel restricted by a bra, so this doesn’t bother me. But oh what a bra-less silver lining of lockdown it must be for you lucky bustier ladies!
So for me, this has to be the BEST bit of lockdown. Forget spending time with the kids, this is literally the highlight of my week – chatting to my friends on Zoom/Facetime/Whatsapp. Had anybody even heard of Zoom before all this? Now it’s like the ‘must have’ app on your device. I am socialising more now than I was before, and my friends would tell you I’m a pretty sociable person. I’ve got a weekly Tuesday Girls’ Night with four ex colleagues, (update: they told me off for describing them like this, they are actually my oldest and best friends who just happen to also be former workmates) and have then had ‘Gin Nights’ with my other awesome girlfriends for the last four Fridays.
I don’t know about you, but these aren’t just an hour long catch up over a quick G&T. These are like four/five hour drinking and gossiping marathons, from the comfort of your own home. And I LOVE them! We’ve also done Saturday night Games Nights with other couples which are hilarious. I may never go out in the evening again once this is over. This is surely the way forward for lazy socialising? This week we did a Zoom games night with my oldest best friend who lives 4.5 hours away. We normally only see each other once or twice a year. Now we’re going to do this all the time!
Drinking ALL the wine
The socialising brings me onto my last ‘best bit’ – the wine. Or gin. Maybe prosecco. Basically whatever is to hand. Is it just me or have you also got to the point where you can’t make your kids’ dinner without a glass of something alcoholic in your hand? If I make it to 5pm before I’ve cracked open the wine, I think I’m doing okay. I like a drink as much as the next person (you may have realised that if you follow me on Facebook) but I certainly don’t drink every day. Well it turns out I do in lockdown! It’s the same with chocolate. After a day with three kids under five, it’s the least I deserve I reckon.
THE WORST BITS OF LOCKDOWN
Spending time with the kids
Okay, so I may have also put this at the top of the best list, but, seriously, you KNOW what I’m talking about. Yes it’s lovely to have them around. All the time. 24/7. With no break whatsoever. Absolutely lovely. But oh my fucking god, don’t you just want to punch yourself in the face sometimes? I definitely do.
Three boys under five is full on at the best of times. Three boys under five in lockdown, on my own 99% of the time, not being able to take them places is HARD work. I think we all know by now I’m not ‘that’ mum with all the wonderful, creative, entertaining activities up my sleeve. So mainly there is a lot of fighting. A lot of lego, a fair bit of Blippi, and more than a few under-my-breath swear words. There are tears from all parties. And there are biscuits for them, and wine for me.
Not seeing friends and family
Whilst ‘zooming’ my mates has been the best ‘best bit’, NOT seeing my friends and family has been the worst thing of this whole damn lockdown. Especially my parents. I expect like most of your children, my boys haven’t seen Granny and Grandad for nearly seven weeks now, the last time being Mother’s Day for a short walk (‘socially distanced’ of course – the phrase we all feel compelled to add to everything at the moment).
We Facetime every other day and they read the boys bedtime stories, but bloody hell, are we all missing them. The boys normally see them at least three times a week so they’re a huge part of our lives. We’ve not wanted to stand on their driveway and chat, because we know the boys, the twins especially, won’t understand why they can’t have a cuddle or go into their house to play.
My awesome mum has been writing letters to them, and sending them little things through the post a couple of times a week, including cute mini cress gardens, which they’ve loved. And I’ve been sending them postcards of the boys, homemade cards, or pictures they’ve drawn. (Granny won’t shove it all in the recycling like I do). But we’ve all had enough now. On a positive note though, they’ve already said they’ll have the boys for a weekend as soon as it’s all over. Babysitting bonus!
Days that last FOREVER
I may have said starting my day later is working quite well, but don’t the days seem endless sometimes? During the week I’ve hardly got a clue what day it even is! The morning seems to go pretty quickly (which is kind of what you’d expect when you don’t have breakfast until 10am!) but sometimes the afternoons drag, don’t they? Will bedtime EVER arrive? By 4pm I’ve given up and the TV is on.
And just when I think I’ve made it, and it’s bedtime, the boys get a second wind and getting them to bed and settled seems to take FOREVER! Twin Two has taken to napping again – despite giving it up at Christmas much to my dismay. But now it seems he likes a little doze on the settee, usually when I’m making tea and don’t realise until it’s too late. So obviously that means there’s all hell to pay at bedtime.
Plus the four year old is even worse. He’s just not tired enough like he would be from a day at school and tries every excuse in the book not to sleep. Once his light is off he calls us back in every five minutes for at least another hour sometimes, saying he’s not tired and can’t sleep. I’ve even had him doing laps of the garden, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Must try harder!
Making food every minute of the day
You know all that money we’re saving right now? It’s going to have no financial benefit, because we are spending loads on food and EATING ALL THE TIME! I think we’ve got the mentality that we can’t go out and do anything, so let’s just stay at home and eat. And eat some more. And did I mention the alcohol? But I’m sure I’m not eating as much as the kids are. Breakfast, snack, second breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, snack, snack, tea. Jeez isn’t it never ending? I’m so bored of feeding them! But at least there are no fucking packed lunches to be made. Every cloud and all that.
Not being able to go places
For someone that much prefers to go out rather than stay at home with my children, this whole lockdown thing is DIFFICULT . Normally the only very rare day I stay at home is when we have friends over for a playdate. I hardly ever stay in on my own with them. It’s just not something we find enjoyable. When I say we, I mean me of course. I’m desperate to get in the car and go somewhere. Anywhere. Other than a wander around the block. Somewhere exciting! I miss days out. Meeting up with my mummy mates. I miss going to my mum’s. I even miss the near-torture of taking the twins to their swimming lesson.
We’re abiding by all the rules (unlike some) in the hope restrictions are lifted as soon as possible. And as much as I feel pretty safe and protected in our own little bubble, I’m missing normal life. I’ve been to a supermarket once in 6.5 weeks, and that was at 9pm on a Saturday night to avoid people, so going anywhere normal again is going to be such a novelty. Did I mention Thank God for the garden? Bubbles again, anyone? And for once I don’t mean of the alcoholic variety.
The dreaded ‘homeschooling’
So I’ve saved the best (worst) until last. The delight that is homeschooling. Or home learning. Or ‘crisis’ learning. Whatever we’re supposed to call it. ‘Hell’ might be a good description? You may have read in my latest blogpost that homeschooling a four year old whilst the twins run riot hasn’t been among the most successful things I’ve ever attempted. Despite only being in Foundation, the teachers are still setting and recommending work for them to do, and there’s a fair bit of it. Albeit lately there’s been much more of a ‘if you can’ tone to it than at first. Maybe they’ve realised everyone is struggling at this stage of the game.
Now if you know me well, you’ll know I’m a bit of swot when it comes to work and being organised. So I’ve been quite determined to do as much of the tasks as possible with the four year old. That was until last week when there was a major meltdown and both of us ended up in tears over a challenge set by the teachers.
It made me realise it wasn’t worth it, and I binned all the school work the following day. I felt like I was bunking off and would be sent to the head teacher. The four year old thought it was the best day since schools closed. So from now on I’m going to dip in and out, and do what I can. Make the most of the fact he’s so young and it won’t have a detrimental effect on him. And think myself bloody lucky that I’m not homeschooling older children or teenagers that have seemingly ridiculous demands being put upon them by teachers from what I hear. Some of my friends in this position are pulling their hair out. However, I will also be queuing up at the school gates the second they are open again.
What are you enjoying about lockdown? And what are you hating?
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? If so, hang around and read a few more. If you want more lockdown stuff I’ve got a few about keeping toddlers and preschoolers and primary aged kids entertained, and some great homeschooling resources. Or if you’d rather forget the activities for a minute and enjoy a rant, check out my Mum Life section for more of a giggle.
If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.