I can’t tell you how many photos and videos I’ve seen of families doing the Joe Wicks workouts in lockdown. I think I must follow every single one of them on social media. I reckon I’ve seen pretty much every ‘window rainbow’ too. But life in lockdown with teenagers is different, in my experience. We’re not ‘home schooling’ here and nobody has done a Joe Wicks PE lesson. If anything, I’m pretty redundant as I don’t even have any of my own work to do (the downside of freelancing, you’re always the most expendable).
As ever, I want to say this isn’t a ‘poor me’ post. I know we’re very lucky. None of us has either coronavirus symptoms or underlying health conditions. We are free to do our once daily government approved exercise as we please!
My 14 year old daughter cried when she realised school was off indefinitely, but she has adjusted very well to life at home. In fact, she never wants it to end. She’s got herself a nice routine and is keeping herself very busy. She starts most days with a run, apart from the days she does sprints training with my son later in the day. She does some stretches to improve her flexibility as she’s realised that she can no longer do the splits in her old age! Then she settles down to school work. Most days, that will take her until lunchtime. Sometimes she’s finished a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later. But she just gets on with it quietly, without complaining. She has spent days transforming our old bed for her own room. (I will write about our ‘new bedroom’ at some point, but it doesn’t feel quite right just yet.) She has sanded it and painted it with two coats of paint, all on her own. Apart from that, she is doing a lot of exercise – practising ballet, Oti Mabuse’s daily dance routines, a daily abs challenge and indoor circuits from the sprints coach to help them stay fit until athletics club can hopefully restart later in the summer. She goes to bed physically exhausted every night.
My 16 year old son has the least to keep him busy. As a GCSE student, he has no real school work to do. The school has sent a few little online bits over, but they can be finished in minutes and won’t have any relevance to his final grades. Luckily, he is always happy to keep himself amused. He has a daily conversation with all of his friends in the evening, with a lot of laughter. He mixes up his exercise, either with sprints training on a quiet road close to home (usually with his sister), a slow jog or a long walk. He also walks around the house a lot to deliberately increase his steps and does the circuit from the sprints coach. He is the first one to want to accompany me to the supermarket, just for a change of scene. I kept telling myself he shouldn’t go, as he is one more person to risk infection, but I feel sorry for him having nothing to do and he was a good help. The supermarkets have now made it clear that only person per household should shop, so he no longer goes.
My 18 year old son is working at home. He takes over the whole of the downstairs with very loud Skype phone conversations and frequently tells his siblings off for moving or talking near him BECAUSE I’M WORKING. He can be angry and negative a lot of the time, while everyone else is in remarkably good spirits. He is also eating us out of house and home and seems to have no appreciation that there are empty shelves in the supermarket (even though he’s seen them) and that we need to not be greedy. My husband actually bought him his own supply of cheap biscuits, to stop him eating the nicer ones all day. His daily exercise is either a morning run with my husband or a walk on his own at lunchtime.
My husband is still going into the office every day as he is the only one there. We have a decent-sized house, but it would be hard to find space for everyone to work in peace if he was at home. Now he’s only allowed to exercise once a day, he’s decided to run every single day.
And me? I’m running five times a week (I usually run four times a week, or five times a week when I’m training for a marathon). I’m here for the kids if they need me and I’m reading in the garden when the sun shines. There are extra jobs I could do round the house, but I’m not doing them. Because I still hate housework. Being stuck at home doesn’t come easily to me, so I don’t want to make it worse for myself by doing things I hate. If I can just read, I feel calm and contented. Strangely, having struggled with sleep for so many years, I am actually sleeping better. I still wake up at 4.30am, but I doze on and off until 6. I would expect to be worrying, but I know that I am keeping my family safe and, in doing that, I’m also keeping society and the NHS safe. I’m missing the radio, which I normally listen to a lot, because my son won’t let us have it on while he is working.
Shopping and cooking are big issues, as they are for every family. I’m shopping for my parents as well as ourselves. Shopping is way more stressful when you’re doing it for someone else, as you feel bad if you can’t get anything and don’t know what to substitute something with. Initially, we were shopping little and often, but then Boris Johnson said we should be minimising shopping trips, which of course makes a lot of sense to reduce the spread of the virus. But try shopping for a family of five, including three teenagers, only once a week! Between us, we get through a lot of food, so it’s hard to shop for a week at the best of times. Add to that empty shelves and restrictions on quantities and it’s almost impossible to shop even twice a week, but I’m trying my best.
One good thing that has come out of lockdown is that we are eating better food. We have time to cook, whereas usually on weekdays I’m always under pressure to get food for before my daughter’s ballet and I’m always driving around, so have no time to cook proper food. I have warned my family that the ‘proper’ food will be gone when life gets back to normal, because I won’t suddenly have an extra hour or more a day to cook.
So that’s our life in lockdown. How is yours?