As a self-confessed hypochondriac mum that has made worrying about my kids a daily pastime, navigating COVID has been somewhat of a challenge. When the first signs of coronavirus hit the country I had to find all the willpower in the world to fight an urge to go and immediately pick my son’s up from nursery and school and hibernate at home with them. Thank god I didn’t as little did I know that it would actually become government guidelines in the weeks that followed – they would have been home for bloody ages! And although staying at home with two kids had its difficulties, it was as the lockdown eased that the biggest challenges presented itself. Here are 6 things I have learned about parenting during COVID times as a (hypochondriac) mum…
Kids touch everything
This wasn’t something I necessarily noticed before COVID, but as soon as the virus hit and there was no knowing where it was or how it was going to strike, we adults sensibly decided to keep our hands to ourselves and anti bac them as soon as we came into contact with anything else. Not kids. Max was once shouted at in a newsagent by the shopkeeper for running his hands along the entire magazine shelf. I realised at that moment that I had to prep him before we entered another establishment in future; “Max, before we go in, remember to keep your hands in your pockets and Don’t. Touch. Anything. OK?” Max nods, we enter the aforementioned establishment, and no sooner can I say “good morning” than he’s managed to clasp both hands around the door handle in order to launch himself off as though we are in a playground, and lands in a bundle on the floor. Needless to say, I practically bathed him in antibacterial gel when we left.
Ice Creams Became Time Currency
Sometimes, when it all became too much, I worked out a bargaining tool that I will use as long as the summer continues… ice cream. Ice cream = time. Every day, I would buy myself 15 minutes of uninterrupted downtime by giving the kids ice cream. Whilst they sat there diligently licking their lollies, I would make a cuppa, phone a friend, read a magazine, or sometimes just go to the loo. The only drawback was the inevitable sugar high that followed and required Duracell level energy from me to endure.
School Zoom Classes Are Hell
When school resumed online after the Easter holidays it was not lost on me what an amazing feat the teachers had managed to pull off. They had all worked enormously hard to make sure that learning could go on despite the fact that we were all safe at home. However, the kids had other ideas and every zoom session began and ended with me literally screaming at Max “LISTEN”. There was the time I found him on the floor under the table, and another time where he insisted on turning the camera off, and one time where I left him for five minutes and came back to him playing on some digital game… crikey those were trying times!
Kids and Grandparents Are Drawn Together Like Moths to Flames
Nowhere was the two-metre social distancing more important than with the kid’s grandparents. But, my parents, too kind and relaxed to enforce the rules themselves, meant that I was running from one child to another constantly telling them to stand back, don’t touch and definitely under no circumstances sneeze.
They Need Their Friends
I asked Max what he missed most during lockdown, and he simply answered “my friends”. During this weird time we have all had to become much less social, and have had to stay in our little family bubbles. There have also been times where we have self-isolated to be with family and all this isolation has been tougher on the kids than we thought I fear. Our saving grace was our lovely neighbours – as the kids have been able to talk to each other over the fences and see each other at a distance in our front gardens. Max is so happy to be back at school and able to do the odd playdate again – although we’re still keeping these on the rare side to be cautious. But I massively underestimated how much he’d miss little people, and how quickly he got bored of his parents!
Self-Care Got Basic
I’ve written about self-care during lockdown here. And even post-lockdown, the philosophy remains the same, looking after yourself is so important but it needs not to feel like an added pressure. With the kids at home more and less time to yourself we all need to go back to basics and indulge in little things that make us happy, for example, a lovely candle; a face cream you’ll love applying every night as part of your evening routine, bath salts that you can add to an evening (or lunchtime – why not when WFH) bath. Little things that help remind you to take care of yourself are important, especially is so much energy as going into the kids and keeping them occupied these days.
words by Sadie Reid