Much of the past year has been surreal, at times joyous, sometimes hell. As with most other parents on the planet, I’d never envisioned a time where once my kids were school-age, I’d be home-schooling let alone working simultaneously. Thankfully, during the first lockdown, both myself and my husband were furloughed. For me, that was a saving grace. That and the prolonged warm weather. We grappled with schoolwork but mostly days were filled with sunshine, trampoline competitions, country walks, bike rides and laughter. We did all we could to keep things as normal as we could for our two young daughters. Everything felt new, the kids excited by the unusual concept of home education and we felt energised with our newly appointed roles. It was the first time in our lives where we’d been given a free pass to unapologetically spend 100% of our time with our little family.
Feeling fortunate, the global pandemic never drifted far from consciousness. At dinnertime, like so many, we tuned in for the daily Covid-19 update. The news was getting worse. Yet, somehow, it was as if our familial bubble had enveloped us in a blanket of safety and security. Each evening, we’d sit in my husband’s log cabin watching the brilliantly red sunsets as the sun bade farewell and the first tendrils of night slowly crept across the sky. A welcome pause in the normally uninterrupted daily rhythm of life. Of course, with two kids, there was no chance for binge-watching Netflix, reading a stack of long-yearned for books or taking up a new hobby. Yes, there were one too many Gin and Tonics I’ll admit. Despite the challenges, I sensed this would be a once in a lifetime experience to be imprinted on my memory for the rest of my life.
As time moved on, we got up later, did less schoolwork, and relaxed into it. The kids will catch up when they get back to school the teachers assured us. We came out to clap for the NHS every Thursday night, rejoiced at Captain Sir Tom’s achievements, celebrated VE Day with scones in the garden, laughed at all the parodies on social media of families facing lockdown and wept with those that had lost their loved ones. Still, we felt proud, unified and united in the belief that we’d come through this and life could and would be good again.
When restrictions were lifted in the Summer of 2020, I rejoiced with the rest of the country, not fully understanding what potentially still lay ahead of us. With the kids on track to start back in September, I began work again and took on more freelance writing work. The prospect of regaining my identity after motherhood filled me with both excitement and nervous anticipation. But fast forward a few months and the situation began to look very grim. Another mini lockdown, then the third lockdown arrived.
This couldn’t be more different. It’s been tough. Very tough. Now that I’m back working, I can empathise with what working parents have been through in the past year. Life consists of getting up ridiculously early to work, followed by a day of zoom lessons and schoolwork, then back to work and after teatime and bedtime, guess what, more work! I’m just about keeping to all my deadlines but it’s close to the cusp sometimes and more often than not, I’m still working at midnight. Like everyone else, I’m exhausted and fed up. The cold weather makes it all so much harder too. Who really wants to go out with 2 kids when’s it freezing cold and it’s raining horizontally? Only a sadist would enjoy this stuff!
On the subject of kids, unquestionably, I love my kids. The truth though is that some days I haven’t liked them all that much. It turns out that they’re pretty done with home-school and zoom lessons now. I dread the power struggles that it brings, the tantrums or the voice inside that shouts ‘noooooo’ as I agree to some ridiculous request whilst they extort yet more bribes from me. I can’t believe our shopping bill either. Our food cupboard is bare again usually within five minutes of the Ocado delivery as the children eat their bodyweight in snacks. I seem to have completely forgotten what the word No means. I just don’t have the energy for it anymore.
One thing that has got me through this difficult period is my Scentered Mindful Aromatherapy Mini Tin. It’s really been my support tool-kit and contains five of their best-selling 100% natural balms - SLEEP WELL, DE-STRESS, HAPPY, FOCUS AND ESCAPE. I’ve used these 5 aromatherapy balms to help me mindfully transition throughout the day. As soon as you inhale them, the result is instant and they positively impact on your mood. From applying HAPPY as I wake up, to FOCUS before beginning work, DESTRESS at the end of a hard day, ESCAPE whilst I have me-time and of course, the simply wonderful sleep-inducing SLEEP WELL at bedtime.
Yet there are glimmers of hope. We have a date for schools to reopen, a world- beating vaccination program, and once again, the country has united to keep our joint spirits up. Whilst the situation of being locked down at home, day in, day out, in the midst of winter is downright depressing, I for one won’t be beaten by this. I’ll keep on going, whether consciously or on auto pilot. That innate positivity is still in there, bubbling under the surface, pushing to come out, never giving in. And it’s only a matter of time now. In years to come we’ll look back on this and probably strain to remember quite what it was like. In the words of the world’s newest icon, Captain Sir Tom Moore, tomorrow will be a good day.