We have now made it through six weeks of lockdown and we’re at the end of the government’s second three week lockdown period. For weeks now, I’ve been tired of the endless speculation on social media and the daily TV press conferences about when lockdown will end. I get that it’s bad for the economy. I get that people are bored. More importantly, I get that it’s bad for people’s mental health and for people suffering domestic abuse.
But hundreds of people are still dying every day. Every one of those is someone’s mum or dad, someone’s husband, wife or partner, someone’s son or daughter, someone’s brother, sister or friend.
So I’m happy for us to stay in lockdown for as long as it takes for people to stop dying.
We’re lucky that we have a spacious house and garden. We’re lucky that my husband is still working and that I have some work myself (the nature of my work means it’s up and down at the best of times anyway).
But I still have days when I get up and feel miserable. I have become very fixated on wanting a takeaway, even though we’re not big on takeaways in our house. I want to do a proper parkrun and go to a coffee shop. I want to nip to the supermarket and it not feel like a stressful, military operation. I even want to wander round some clothes shops, even though I don’t actually like clothes shopping.
I’ve worked at home since 2014, so being at home doesn’t feel strange to me. I was quite happy in my little bubble of working alone and had a nice little routine, which left time for walking, running, reading and household chores between periods of work. Sometimes, when work was quiet, the days felt long and I would even feel a bit lonely.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt lonely.
Strangely, I used to find trying to work in the school holidays quite stressful. It’s remarkable how demanding three self-sufficient teenagers can be. They all make their own breakfast and lunch, but there were always arguments and there were demands for lifts. Nobody needs a lift in lockdown. The kids have gone weeks without getting in a car, because of course they’re not even allowed to go to a supermarket.
Working in lockdown is actually much easier. I’ve got used to having the kids and my husband at home. We’ve got enough space that we can all be in separate rooms during the day, but will spend brief periods together during the day, then spend the evening together.
My younger two kids have been brilliant. They’ve always got on well, but now they are spending a lot of time together. They go on walks together, practise sprinting together and are spending more and more time at home together. My younger son is really coming out of his shell. For a few years, he’s had a bit of a fear of doing anything that makes him look ‘silly’. But he’s even been doing dance routines and TikTok videos with my daughter. He wouldn’t have ever done that a few weeks ago. My daughter chatters incessantly and I worry that she will irritate him, but she isn’t. He is happy to go along with whatever she wants to do, which is lovely to see. I hope their relationship continues after lockdown.
My eldest is coping least well with lockdown. He’s always been the least able to find ways to amuse himself, although he watches far more TV and films than anyone else. He has now been furloughed for a second month and often doesn’t get up until 1pm. He’s bought himself a cheap, second-hand Xbox for something to do, even though he has never been a gamer. Before self-isolation, he was managing to get up for a run with his dad at 7am once or twice a week, but he’s out of that routine now. Some days he doesn’t get out for exercise at all. Other days, he goes cycling or for a long walk.
He’s constantly being horrible to his sister and it’s hard work. She argues back a lot, and rightly so. It’s not pleasant for any of us to live with. He’s always been horrible to her, but it is magnified by being at home all the time and having nothing else to do. I know he’s doing it through boredom and not being able to burn up energy, which is why it seems silly for him not to get out to exercise every day.
On the days we don’t run, we’ve been embracing long walks as a family. We’ve always walked a lot, but gone for two or three short walks a day. Now we’re rediscovering local countryside walks I used to do as a child, along with the walks my kids have done with Scouts. My husband and kids claim they have never done my old walks, even though they are right on our doorstep, but they are loving them. I think we will stick with these walks once lockdown is over too.
So that’s lockdown for us after six weeks. I don’t really remember life any other way. And, after self-isolation, mere lockdown feels pretty good. It’s not all going perfectly, but I feel we are lucky that we can all be at home and nobody has to leave the house for work.
How is it going for you?