So here we are having made it through the first six weeks of lockdown and what a whirlwind it has been, although usually when you feel like something has been a whirlwind you should feel like it has gone by fast but that is certainly something it has not. In fact, I am not entirely sure that I even know what day it is anymore as our weeks, days and months feel like they have completely blended into one, as all we seem to now be doing is either working, trying our best to home school the kids and keep them occupied or on the sofa falling asleep before it all starts again tomorrow. On the other hand, I am currently feeling proud of ourselves and the nation, as the Thursday clapping has really given us something to look forward to each week and working for the NHS myself makes it feel that extra bit special.
The Weekly Zoom Parties and Quiz’s
I need to talk a little about the Zoom Party/Quiz phenomenon that seems to have taken the world by storm and I can completely understand why, as we really enjoyed them when the first started and gave us a way of seeing our family and friends on the screen while having some much needed fun, which is always made even better when you win and luckily for is a couple of times we did. BUT this wasn’t easy on us or the kids, because as much as we were seeing these people on the screen it is nothing at all like seeing your loved ones in person. It mostly started really well with lots of laughs and smiles all round, but would very quickly turn into the kids becoming hyper and overexcited at seeing everyone, before usually finishing off with massive upset of why they cannot see them or go to their houses and this was really starting to take its toll on the boy, as bless him he is so loving and emotional sometimes that he just couldn’t understand why this was all happening to him and his family.
We very quickly decided after week four of the family quiz’s to pull out and not take part, which really felt like we were being spoil sports and ruining the fun for everyone but for us the end of the sessions when the cameras went off were just too traumatic for the kids to keep putting them through it, just so we can enjoy a quiz with our family and friends, so instead we stuck to the odd video call now and then to ensure we kept the face to face contact with the kids going and would regularly take our daily exercise in areas where we could walk passed their houses and wave as we walked passed with them all at the window which seemed to go so much better for the boy.
Daily Exercise Adventures
The first four weeks of lockdown were very difficult as we were basically inside all of the time and didn’t give enough priority to the daily exercise, which had to change as we clearly needed to get outside and enjoy some fresh air as a family. We know we are very lucky to have a garden and really do not know how those without gardens or outside spaces have coped and we really do give them all a much-deserved pat on the back for getting through all of this. I mean we would normally get out some days more than once, so the idea that we basically didn’t go out at all for the first four weeks seems so silly now and probably a mistake on our part, as since we have introduced the daily exercise adventures as a family there seems to be a whole different mood and atmosphere.
We have been going out now in the evenings most days and sometimes we have been going quite late, to avoid any crowds and basically be on our own. Some nights we haven’t been getting to our chosen destination until around 7pm, which on a normal school night would be completely impossible but we haven’t really got such a routine now, so we take advantage of them falling asleep on the drive home and then transfer them to bed, with some very careful and skilful transfer techniques that we have had to learn and improve on over the years. The rule of thumb for our daily exercise or adventures as the kids know it, is that every other day we either stay local or go out further, meaning we don’t end up bored with the same walk over and over again, with the options usually being a beach walk or a countryside walk.
These evenings have become something that we have really enjoyed so much, we have been to so many different places that we have never been before, we have gone to some of our old favourites and obviously been to a couple of places that we probably won’t bother going back to but that’s normal. We often get asked about where we have been and what the names of places are, so at the end of this we have listed some of the best places we have visited during the lockdown and where possible we have included links to their sites where they exist but otherwise give some of them a search online and get planning some trips yourselves. Our personal favourite is Minster on Sea, but that’s no doubt because we used to live there but it has everything you could need all in one and now with the pubs open too, you will be spoilt for choice.
The Struggle is Real
Among all of the of fun of the daily exercise adventures, the zoom chats with the family, the little cute moments with the kids and home-schooling routines which we haven’t been very strict with at all over the last ten weeks, there are hours and hours to fill each day and we cannot pretend that it’s easy as it’s not, it is actually so hard.
It feels like all we do now in this house is either take turns at working or looking after the kids, who of course we love so much and are doing our absolute best to make this whole situation as fun as possible but there are times where I just want to sit and have a coffee in the corner on my own, when Rich is so overworked that I want to just give him a hug and tell him that it will all work out and be fine. The problem is that I don’t know that it will all be fine, I don’t know when this is going to be over and I am now feeling so guilty as a parent, should we be doing more home-schooling for the boy, is his learning and development suffering, is the girly now going to lose her confidence around people due to the lack of interaction.
Let’s not even mention or think about us time, where me and Rich can get to just sit down together and enjoy a meal or something as the thought of that right now sounds like an absolute dream but then again for both of us the parent guilt comes rushing back as we shouldn’t be worrying about ourselves, we need to focus our energy on getting through this and coming out the otherwise with our children being just as confident and happy as they were before it all started.
Easing of Lockdown and The Return to School
Okay, so Boris has announced that Nurseries and Reception classes are now safe to re-open and the start of the easing of lockdown seems to be upon us but it’s not compulsory to send them back. Whatever happens we will still have to keep the girly at home, as Grandparents still aren’t allowed to look after her due to the restrictions and we are completely torn on what the best thing is to do for the boy and for us as a family. One part of me wants him to go back because we think he really needs it, the interaction with other kids his age, a different scenery and proper learning from trained teachers but on the other hand we know people will think we are making the wrong decision by sending him back and potentially putting him and our family at risk. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling like a complete nervous wreck about this whole situation and either way we probably cannot win, as there is always someone with an opinion that is different but we know him better than anyone and feel the right decision is for him to return to school.
I’ve been constantly questioning if we are making the right choice and have felt physically sick at the thought of our decision possibly putting him at any risk, but as parents you are the only ones who truly know your children deep down and sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling. I mean what is the worst that could happen, we send him back and he doesn’t like it and then we just change our plans and keep him at home again. I will no doubt walk out of the school on his first day back with that sick feeling, with a tear in my eye and then wait anxiously all day with my phone right next to me, just in case anything happens but hopefully all will go well and when I get to pick him up around 3.30ish that he will run to me with open arms and a huge smile.
Thankfully, all of my worries and anxieties about the boy returning to school were for nothing, as he did indeed come running out to me at the end of his first day with open arms and a huge smile. He literally loved every second of being back in school, his teacher reported that he was a ‘little chatterbox’ and I couldn’t be happier for him. I think deep down he has loved having so much time at home with us, but at the same time we need to remember that he is only five and needs that interaction with his friends his own age. Feeling really happy now that we made this decision together and it has turned out to be a good one and I have to say, that we are also very lucky that the school he goes to is so good and have been really supportive throughout this whole thing to ensure the parents and carers have had the confidence of their child’s safety.
The Rule Breakers
I feel there is absolutely no way at all that I could write a blog about lockdown and not mention something about the rule breakers, which is something I have managed to steer clear from bringing up too much on our Instagram or Facebook as I know sometimes how people are quick to jump to being defensive but I feel now is the time to share some of my thoughts. I have found it really hard watching other people blatantly breaking the rules and by this I mean the real obvious not giving a damn about anyone else attitude, where I have seen and heard things said like ‘I will be fine’ or ‘if I get it, I get it’ which has really infuriated me and has probably been best that I haven’t mentioned it at all until now, as I would have probably said a few things to people that I would have regretted.
We have literally stuck to the rules by the book as Boris has announced them, which I know sometimes have been a little unclear but this is to be expected with such an unknown virus on our hands but the reaction from some people has been nothing other than disgusting. Blatant rule breaking, where they clearly only care about themselves and nobody else. Some people have unfortunately lost their lives to this virus, some people have lost their jobs, some people have been furloughed with wage reductions where they can no longer afford their bills and we have lost our normally family life as we are now having to work what feels like every hour of everyday and yet there are still so many selfish people out there who aren’t worried about any of that. The reason we have been so strict about the rules isn’t just for ourselves, as we all probably fall into the “should be okay” category, but it’s our families and loved ones that we do not want to be putting at any extra risk. Especially with me going into the surgery and having to wear all the protective PPE equipment, it just wouldn’t feel right to have our parent’s round for a secret garden party and feel like we are putting them at unnecessary risk.
I will not go on about this for very much longer but I am sure there are lots of you who will be reading this right now and possibly putting yourself into either the rule breaker or non-rule breaker category and to all of you we want to say thank you. Thanks to those who really followed the rules, supported each other as a nation by doing so and to those who blatantly broke the rules with no valid reason, we also want to say thank you, thank you for absolutely nothing as this has been a very difficult time for me and my family and we are some of the lucky ones who haven’t been affected by the awful virus. If reading this makes you think about doing things even slightly different going forward with social distancing and the potential second wave, then I will feel like me finally speaking out will have been worth it, as together we are stronger and we need ALL of us to be together to really get rid of this virus once and for all.
Feels Like it’s Over, BUT it’s Not
The new normal is currently upon us, where we are still having to be socially distant as much as possible, where need to wear masks more often than ever before and where we need to basically try to get on with life as normal but with some adjustments in place. I do believe that there are times in the days now though, where it does just feel “normal”, which is really lovely. But we must all remember not to get complacent and to follow the rules, continue to wash our hands often and ultimately stay safe, because I am not sure how we will cope as a family if we do get a second peak and have to go completely back into a harsh lockdown again.
Our Lockdown Adventure Locations:
Lullingstone Country Park - https://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/kent-country-parks/lullingstone-country-park
Botany Bay Beach - https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/south-east-england/kent/botany-bay.htm
Whitstable/Seasalter Beach - https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/south-east-england/kent/whitstable-west-beach.htm
Knole Park - https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole
Scadbury Park - https://www.scadbury-park.org.uk/
Minster on Sea Beach - https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/south-east-england/kent/minster-leas.htm
Greenwich Park - https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/greenwich-park
Thorndon Country Park - https://www.explore-essex.com/places-to-go/find-whats-near-me/thorndon-country-park
Danson Park - https://www.parksandgardens.org/places/danson-park