I’m pretty sure we’re into our 10th week of lockdown, but I’ve been losing count for a while now. Although restrictions have eased, not a lot has changed for us. Only one person – my eldest – has been out to meet a friend. Although we are taking FULL advantage of being able to exercise multiple times a day! Every evening, we go out for a walk as a family. It should be a pleasurable experience and was initially. But now it is just an argument between my eldest and my daughter every day. It is tempting to leave one of them at home – maybe taking it in turns, but that would cause further arguments, so we are sticking with it for now.
My husband is still working at home – and we like having him around. But he is considering going back into the office soon. He might start with half days initially. With a bit of rearrangement of the furniture, there is enough space for everyone to be in the office and sticking to social distancing rules. The reality is, they are never all in the office at the same time anyway.
For me, work has been remarkable. For the last week before lockdown started and the first week of lockdown itself, I had no work at all. I thought I was going to be in trouble – especially as I don’t qualify for financial help for being self-employed, as I’m director of my own company (which consists of just me!). But, since then, I have had a good, steady amount of work. Generally speaking I either have too much or not enough, yet it has been constant throughout lockdown. The nature of freelance work means that it could still change at any time, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.
My eldest has now been furloughed for a third month – taking him up to the end of June. He is bored and unable to entertain himself. He is desperate to get back to work. He gets up between 12 and 1 every day and spends nearly the whole day playing on the second-hand Xbox he bought himself for lockdown. This is strange as he has never been a gamer. When he’s not on the Xbox, he is watching old comedies on YouTube. On the rare occasions he comes into contact with the rest of the family, he is just horrible to my daughter. He has met up with a friend on a handful of occasions – he has actually seen four different friends. Having started cycling earlier in lockdown, he has lost his enthusiasm for that, which is a shame. I think part of the reason he is so horrible to my daughter is that he isn’t burning off enough energy.
The one good thing my eldest is doing is the supermarket shopping. This is good on two counts – 1) he is actually pulling his weight in some way and 2) – I don’t have to go. For me, shopping in lockdown was a very stressful experience and I would spend shopping day and part of the previous day worrying about it. It was completely his idea to start going and it doesn’t stress him out at all. I took him off the car insurance because none of us are driving anywhere at the moment and it was basically costing £500 a year to have him on there, so we do need to drive him there and pick him up again.
My parents gave up shopping just before lockdown started. They don’t have underlying health conditions, but they are in their 70s. Initially I was doing all of their shopping for them, but then my sister and sister-in-law started doing bits too, so it was shared out pretty fairly. I genuinely thought we would be doing their shopping for a year, but a few days ago, they decided to go themselves. They’ve already been again since then, so our shopping for my parents days could be over.
My younger son should be halfway through his GCSEs now, but he’s not worried about that. He is settled and happy at home. He gets on very well with my daughter and they go for a long walk every day. They have always got on well, but it has been lovely to see their relationship develop during lockdown. My son does a lot of exercise every day. In between times, he is gaming and watching YouTube videos. He has talked about meeting up with a friend to kick a ball around, but hasn’t actually organised it yet. Every day, he helps out with the cooking, which has been a huge help to me. In the evenings, he always likes to watch some TV with us – mainly old comedies. We’ve worked our way through The Office and Derek and now he’s watching Fawlty Towers with my husband.
My daughter is still doing school work (apart from during half term, of course) and exercise every day. She starts the day with a short run, then goes on multiple walks during the day. She spent the first seven or eight weeks of lockdown working on her bedroom every afternoon. She decluttered, redecorated and upcycled and completely transformed her room from a little girl’s room to a young adult’s room. I was worried about how she would fill her time once her project was complete. She hardly ever watches TV in the daytime these days, but I had visions of her sat watching the same reality shows over and over again (which is what she used to do when she was younger). But she decided to paint the bathroom!
The paint in the upstairs bathroom was very shoddy indeed. It had been dark grey, then a couple of years ago, my husband decided to paint it the blue-green colour of our ensuite. And he didn’t use enough coats of paint. I have no idea why he didn’t finish it, but he didn’t. My daughter finished off all the walls, including the very tricky wall behind the heated towel rail. Then she painted the skirting boards and the windowsills and window frames. She got a bit of paint on the floor, so decided to mop it. Then she cleaned the shower screen and all of the tiles – all without being asked. It was probably the best clean the bathroom has ever had.
She has now also repainted and cleaned the downstairs toilet and is working on our ensuite. She is thinking of touching up the paintwork in every room in the house! Who would ever have thought it possible?
She has just had confirmation that she has got the GCSE subjects she wanted and her school has decided to only give work for GCSE subjects after half term, which seems very sensible.
How are you managing with lockdown – or is life back to ‘normal’ for you?