100 days since we were told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives
As I git up this morning and completed the usual routine of sorting Piglet out. Grabbing a drink, my phone from the charger and sitting on the sofa. I flicked onto social media which alerted me that today marks 100 days of lockdown.
I have to confess that I’ve not been counting the days. Although I have been keeping a ‘life in lockdown‘ weekly diary. I’m not sure what to make on the milestone of 100 days. It sounds like such a long time, it is such a long time. However, like most people, we have adjusted our lives to accommodate the restrictions and guidelines that we are currently facing whilst we attempt to work our way through the pandemic.
To mark 100 days of lockdown I thought I’d do a special catch up to give an insight into how our lives have changed and how we are coping with this extended period at home.
With the schools closed, all three children had to adjust to completing school work at home. Not exactly homeschooling, as that is a choice made by the parent. This was something placed upon us and something that I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to do given the option. As the saying goes ‘those who can teach‘… I can’t, so I don’t!
Finding our way
The first few weeks were a little muddling as the schools, parents and children found their way through the new way of schooling. After the Easter holidays, everyone seems to be much more in sync with it all. Tigger’s school switching to the SeeSaw platform to send activities and an easy way for him to submit work and gain feedback. Whilst Roo’s high school continued with Google Classroom for work to be set alongside Zoom meetings for live lessons and her performing arts activities.
Both Roo and Tigger managed to get used to being at the dining table completing work each morning. Piglet, however, soon became bored with the activities, worksheets and colouring options. So we took the decision to ‘unschool’ her, allowing her the freedom to learn through play, watch videos from the school on YouTube and access apps. It soon became clear that she was missing the social aspect of not attending preschool. Not likely being on her own in a room at home and needing to be near, if not touching, at least one of us.
Returning to preschool
Despite my initial reservations about whether or not to allow Piglet to return to preschool once the government allowed certain year groups to return to school. She returned back to preschool last week and the change in her is so noticeable. She is much more settled and happier to be able to interact with other people besides ourselves.
Countdown to the summer
Whilst on the whole homeschooling hasn’t been horrendous, we are all looking forward to the upcoming summer holidays in three week time.
One of the positives that came from my redundancy a few years ago was the push to work from home full time. I’d juggled working part-time and writing my blog for a few years. Something which allowed me to have the best of both worlds, although difficult to manage childcare etc.
Working from home
When the announcement came that we should work from home where possible, it didn’t really make much different to me – apart from having three children at home and homeschooling. A piece of cake – right?
My workload slowed right down as the lockdown began and if I’m honest, continues to be slow. In three months I have earned the equivalent of one month’s income – which worries me greatly. Thinking that this could just be a glitch and that as lockdown restrictions ease I will start to gain commissions that have been put on hold etc. However, what if they don’t? What if there is a continued downturn in the industry?
With Piglet starting full-time school in September, is now the time to thinking of returning to the workplace and gaining a steady income each month? Or have I been out of the workplace too long to be considered for a role that I’m experienced in?
The SEISS grant from the government has been a blessing. Similar to the furlough scheme for employed people, the grant offered self-employed people a lump sum payment for up to 80% of their previous self-employed income as per their 2018/19 tax return. Although I appealed my decision as they took into account a year I was on maternity leave (2016/17) so the amount I received was far less than I would have received if they had taken a different year into account. I know I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but it feels unjust to be penalised for being on maternity leave when they have my tax return for 2019/20 that they could use to find a more accurate reflection of my earnings.
Feeding the nation
Last year What The Dad Said changed jobs, allowing him more time at home with the children. Striking a better work/life balance than he has had since before we had children. The lockdown has sent many people into self isolation (or shielding) leaving additional shifts to be covered. Seeing hime working double his usual hours in order to breech the gaps in the rota. To help feed the nation as well as make up some of the shortfall in my income.
With friends furloughed and able to relax, play games etc. as much as they want. Not to mention seeing me at home with the children all day, every day, it must be difficult for home. He’s working twice as hard whilst the rest of us are at home. Not to forget the risk he is putting to his own health by working in a customer facing role.
Life at home
The first few weeks of lockdown I worried about how we would fill our days being at home. Between homeschooling, everyday chores and work we have managed to adjust to a new normal. I set about ticking things off that never ending to-do list. Which started so well, however, the last few weeks has seen this initial enthusiasm replaced by procrastination. Feeling as though I have all the time in the world to get things completed. However, I don’t feel as though I’m achieving much from my days/weeks at home. So I need to kick myself up the bum and start working my way through the list once again.
We have managed to create a children’s play area in the garden which was one of the big things on the to-do list. Something that we had planned to do in stages but decided to go all out and get it completed all at once to enable the children somewhere fun to play. There are still little bits and bobs to be completed in the area (I need to get hooks for my bunting) and set up a playhouse etc. But we are really proud of what we have achieved so far.
There have been some plus points to the extended time at home. I’d like to think that we are all closer than we were before. Instead of wishing for our time alone, we are coming together to watch films together, play games or have a jam session on Rockband 4. Smuggled together on the sofa whilst we read our own books and enjoy time in the garden. There are days when we need our own space but it is lovely to know that we are all safe at home together.
The outside world
What The Dad Said sees more of the outside world than the rest of us. But I do have one day of the week when I go and complete all my chores. Popping to the post office, checking on our old house, shopping etc. It’s nice to get out of the house and into the ‘real world’ but it plays havoc with my anxiety levels. Usually leaving me washed out by the time the children go to bed. My body craving sleep to reset from dealing with the added emotions from the day. Not that sleep has come easy to me during lockdown. Insomnia is plaguing me alongside night sweats and bizarre dreams – fun times, not!
We haven’t ventured anywhere together as a family since the lockdown started. Each of the children have accompanied me on my ‘chore day’ for a ride out in the car but we have stayed away from beaches and beauty spots etc. Although I have managed to have one socially distanced catch up with my best friend, being able to see her face and catch up on her news was lovely.
Planning for the future
Life still feels very much in limbo, whilst lockdown restrictions are due to ease I’m not sure that life will ever go back to what it once was. I’m not sure that I would want life to return to what it once was. Although there are elements of our ‘normal life’ we are missing – family, friends and the ability to head off on adventures. It has made us think about all aspects of our lives. The people who chose to be part of our lives, those who whatever reason find it better not to be part of our lives. The friends that have stayed and the ones who have faded into the background. Alongside the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves as a family.
Stay home, stay safe!