National Day of Reflection, the first anniversary of the UK lockdown, commemorating the tragic loss of life and standing together with everyone who’s grieving. Since the first lockdown began in 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have died.
Today marked the one year anniversary of life in lockdown. What a year it has been and how our lives have changed. Whilst I didn’t partake in the two-minute silence earlier today or stand on my doorstep clapping and banging pots and pans. I have been looking back and reflecting on things. The highs, the lows, the difficulties and everything in between.
Just another virus?
After first hearing about the COVID-19 virus I did think it would be a similar pandemic to Swine Flue and Bird Flu etc. that we have dealt with in previous years. Whilst I know that lives were lost to both of those viruses there was a large part of me that didn’t give this pandemic the full weight of worry that I possibly should have to begin with.
Not that we didn’t take the hand washing and social distancing seriously because we did. I did, however, think that that talk of a national lockdown was simply talk to apply pressure on us all to comply with the Coronavirus guidelines. Of course, I was wrong and this time last year we all began living our lives from home.
I’ll be completely honest and confess that the prospect of us all being at home with each other day in, day out for an extended period of time was daunting. Panicking that the children would declare that they were bored within fire minutes etc. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how we have adjusted to being around each other all day, every day.
I’m not saying that it has been all sing-songs and rainbows but it has been really lovely having this time together. I know hat we are lucky to have each other and not everyone is in the same situation but I can’t help but count my blessings for our little family.
Learning from home
The adjustment to being at home in part wasn’t too difficult for me as I worked from home. Used to the extended time spent indoors, however, simple things like the school run, popping to the shop of getting out and about with the children were soon missed. The children had a big upheaval as they adjusted to learning from home. Slowly growing tired of worksheets provided by the school during the first few weeks.
Thankfully this changed after the Easter holidays with the schools understanding that the children were going to be at home for longer than anticipated. Switching to online learning with Zoom chats and lessons soon becoming part of their everyday lives. Piglet didn’t adjust to home learning as easily as Roo and Tigger. Missing the social aspect of school and the environment that is set up for early years learning. We took the decision to unschool her and allow her the option to select the activities she wanted to do rather than force her to sit down at the dining table with her siblings.
With some restrictions easing, we were fortunate enough to be able to send Piglet back to preschool for the last half term of the school year. Watching her thrive as she gained the much-needed interactions from others outside of our little family unit.
Back to school
Back to school in September felt like a very different affair to previous years. Partly as I hadn’t completed any of the uniform and accessories shops until the last minute. Convinced that the government would continue home learning until a Coronavirus vaccine was put in place. This wasn’t the case and the children were able to enjoy a full term of education at school. Albeit different to what they had previously experienced within their schools and classes. The high school reporting several cases in different bubbles, although, Roo wasn’t affected by any of the cases.
feeding the nation
Whilst the government advised us all to work from home where possible and the affected non-essential businesses that were closed offered furlough to their staff. What The Dad Said has continued to work throughout the social distancing and lockdown measures. Helping to feed the nation he has taken on more hours to cover for those needing to shield and self isolate as well as providing us with a much needed financial boost.
Being self-employed, especially as a blogger/freelancer can be a fickle business at the best of times. With no set income coming in each month. The lockdown restrictions meant that many of my campaigns were put on hold (and still haven’t been approved). My earnings have tapered off and whilst they are had picked up slightly during the year they are nowhere near what they were compared to my previous tax return.
Thankfully the SEISS grant has been a welcome boost (paying my tax bill for this year as I’d had to utilise the savings I’d set aside due to lack of income). I was, however, frustrated to lose my appeal for them to consider last years earnings instead of 2016/17 as I was on maternity leave with Piglet so my earnings were reduced. It is what it is at the end of the day but I can’t help feeling cheated.
Returning to employment
Although I had been considering returning to employment for a little while, especially with Piglet starting full-time school in September. The reduction in my blog earnings forced my hand. Sadly I didn’t have much success to start with, but a short-term festive contract at a supermarket has let me return to the workplace. Extending my contract until the end of April and working many more hours than I’m contracted for. It’s a nice and easy role that gets me out of the house, whilst making me feel useful and helpful once again.
Friends and family
It’s been over a year since I last saw any of my family. Last seeing my mam as she recovered from major surgery, leaving her in the critically vulnerable category I know that it is for the best that I can’t see her. Especially with the children. Surviving by adopting the ‘at arm’s length’ approach to keep my emotions and anxiety at bay as best I can. It’s sad to think about all the time we are missing out on but I’d never be able to forgive myself if I passed something on to her.
You’d think that with all this extra time we have on our hands that my best and I would be messaging and FaceTiming each other as much as possible in lieu of being able to physically meet and catch up over dinner as we would normally. however, the days blur into one and before we know it a week or two has passed before we have exchanged an update on what is going on in our lives. Only able to share snippets of what is on our minds or keeping us busy. I can’t wait to see her in person again – how soon before we are allowed to hug?
Life at home
Like many people, we opted to utilise the first few weeks/months of the lockdown catching up on all the chores/tasks around the house that we usually push down the to-do list. From transforming Roo’s bedroom into a teen’s bedroom to creating a children’s play area in the garden. Sadly this enthusiasm for all things home improvement/decorating feel by the wayside. So I’m hoping the brighter days will spur me on to complete our bedroom transformation as well as adding a gallery photo wall in the hallway.