I wake up every morning and instantly remember what we're all living through. Is this really happening? Am I still dreaming? Of course I'm not.
This is our new reality and even though we're nearly five weeks in, I'm still getting to used to it all. The sad truth is that the words pandemic, death toll and lockdown and live government briefings are just part of our daily lives now.
As someone who works from home and as a mum of two young kids, I'm used to being home a lot. But lockdown is another level and I'm finding this lockdown life hard. Really hard sometimes.
There are the obvious things that make it difficult - being separated from friends and family, not being able to talk face-to-face, not being able to hug and comfort each other, and the fear of the unknown and concern for what lies ahead. Like everyone, I miss care-free life too - taking the kids to the playground, going to the cinema, playdates with friends and trips to the supermarket that don't involve wearing a protective mask and gloves.
Beyond that, full-time family life is utterly exhausting and draining. Sometimes I feel like I'm being crushed by the weight of it all. I feel claustrophobic and desperate to be somewhere else, anywhere else. Sometimes, I just don't want to hear another 'mummy, mummy'. I don't want to get them a snack for the millionth time. I don't want to wipe another bum. I don't want to watch another episode of Peppa sodding Pig. I don't want to think about what we're having for every meal of the day. I don't want to think about phonics or creative play and I certainly don't want to pretend to be the shopkeeper. Sometimes, I just want the kids to be at school so I can go to the toilet in peace, work regular hours and for life to be normal again.
It takes its toll on relationships too. Like all couples, we're getting through it. Most of the time we're a team but it's not always easy. We're juggling work and kids in shifts. There are squabbles and fights; sometimes we're grumpy and tired and we let the small things get to us. I've had to let some things slide, like the state of the house and the fact my husband never manages to close cupboard doors or put his underwear in the laundry basket. I've had to accept that I can't control this situation and also that I can't eat my way through it either.
Yet who am I to say it's hard? I’m just staying at home, living in my own little bubble. I don’t work for the NHS. I'm not a key worker. I'm not suffering with Covid 19. I've not lost anyone close to me from this horrible virus. I haven't had to close my business.
I'm merely a mum, writing this from the comfort of my own home while having a cup of tea and a Hobnob biscuit because I'm privileged. I have a home and a supportive family. We have enough food and toilet roll to keep us going. We can easily self-isolate. We have a garden the kids can run around in, we FaceTime my parents every day, we catch up with friends and have quiz nights on Zoom. And we have plenty of wine.
I'm very aware that there are lots of people dealing with serious challenges out there, anything from terminally ill children, kids with complex needs to family members fighting for their lives in ICU. I know I'm one of the lucky ones.
But I still find parts of lockdown life hard. We all do, I'm sure. We're human. We have good days and bad days, we have mood swings, we find our kids annoying sometimes and we feel scared about the future. And because there are so many people who have it harder, I feel awkward about sharing the bits I'm finding hard. Chances are, you're probably struggling with the same things I am though and that's why I decided to write this blog post.
One thing that's kept me going is knowing that we are all feeling this. It may sound Hugh Grant level corny but actually, we are all in this together.
Whether we're staying at home or we're working on the frontline, we are all worried for our family, for our friends, for those vulnerable people and for how the world might look like in six months time.
Each week we clap from our doorsteps because we are all so grateful to our NHS heroes. Clapping is no real measure of our gratitude though. By now, we all know the only way to show our appreciation is to make their lives easier and safer by staying home. Sharing what we're all going through within our own four walls will hopefully keep us sane too.
Images taken from Unsplash.