Like many of you throughout the world, the last few weeks have flung us into a situation we didn’t anticipate – we are making history each day we live through lock-down and it isn’t half as exciting as we were led to believe from the history books!
I have wondered over these last few weeks what to share on my blog. What parts to capture from these strange times – or just to stay silent.
I am aware of the pain of many – the sheer loss and struggle that I cannot believe I am seeing or reading about; it is truly heartbreaking and I am sorry for those of you that have experienced the horrific tragedies of COVID-19. It is so so sad!
I am also aware of the kindness and generosity of so many too. The lovely solidarity we feel each Thursday as neighbours and communities appear out of their homes to celebrate the incredible work of our NHS staff, supermarket staff and other key workers – it makes me so emotional and hopeful too!
But there is no denying that this, in lots of ways is a very hard time.
It is and has been so scary and some days, I have had to just step away from the press conference and from social media or more tweets on COVID-19 and welcome a little respite in the comfort of our lives!
It is an uncertain time – for we don’t know how long this storm and virus will rage in our lives or how life will look after it calms.
It is time like no other; and in all of it, despite being poorly for 4 out of the last 6 weeks, I have seen that I appreciate my home and family more so. I appreciate the time I have to sit and be with them, to play with them, to banter with them and to discover new things together. Yes, of course it is relentless some day’s but, it has been an opportunity to mother in new ways. And whilst this may be an unpopular view point, so far I look at this time in life and all I can think is “Mothering in a National Crisis has so far being quite an epic adventure!”.
In life it constantly amazes me how much different motherhood is in each season to what I envisioned – but then in moments like the current, how could any of us ever envision we would be working from home, living in lock-down and trying to home educate our kids too. The whole idea is sheer madness!
And yet here we are – doing just that…so well done!
None of us have ever done this before – yes, some home educate (which we know is more than being at home) and some work around family full and part time (but never simultaneously). Some are stay at home mums (which we again all know stretches far beyond being at home daily like this) and so we must realise that we need to be patient with ourselves. We need to learn what works for us and our families during all of this and how we (if we can) balance the demands we face. Be patient as you (through trial and error) find a new (and hopefully very temporary) normal that works for YOU!
I have realised when we hit unexpected things in life, we have to allow the part of us that will see us through, to emerge, grow and work through it. In this case, we have to allow the “national crisis” mother to be born and grow (I am hoping just not too much physically!) as none of us will have ever needed that side of us. I am sure when it began we wondered where she even existed and if we could do what was being asked of us? Yet here we each are – day after day, showing up in our uber messy buns, PJs and joggers and mothering the heck out of life to keep it varied, fun and safe for our kids!!! Its incredible!
I know in all of that, many of you will be and have struggled and so, I hope that you don’t find this post “gloaty” at all – I don’t want to sound that way at all, but in my experience, whilst there has been some “inset days” and shouty mum days, overall I honestly feel like I have found a facet to my mothering that I really love. A place within me that has been born and where I see mothering in this national crisis, so far as being an epic adventure together!
I am more grateful for the conservatory that 6 weeks ago I wanted to rip down – for it now provides a lovely space to hold our home learning, to play and build duplo together… have family meals and build stuff out of recycling!
I am grateful for the country side on our doorstep and the walks we enjoy here. I have loved the days we have had long walks – embracing Spring and admiring the many lambs and blossom that are around us. I have loved re-discovering the joy we have in our village and feeling so blessed to have nature so close – it has been so freeing!
I am grateful, through we have had a rough time of it health-wise, it isn’t nearly half as bad as others have had it. It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard…both of us being poorly with 3 kids in isolation, and me needing a course of steroids – it is worrying – but it has helped me to endure knowing it soon shall pass and we are okay compared to many.
But the biggest thing I have experienced in this crisis these last few weeks is the opportunity to mother in new ways. To grow in my imagination and find new ways to make life safe and exciting for my little crew. To teach them – academically, socially and spiritually. I have loved (mostly) our daily home learning together – it has been an unexpected adventure I have quickly embraced and I have also enjoyed the little family treats I keep creating to keep moral up…the baking sessions we do each week and little dance parties! I find joy in snuggling for film afternoons and it has been so special to witness the various scenarios evolve from imaginative play, crafts and even having fun family sleepovers at weekends! I have loved saying “yes” more and cracking out treats when they thought there were no more. And, I loved sorting the airing cupboard this week and giving them an unexpected new den…
Working in the care home on care as opposed to my activities as well as being at home with the children has been a challenge – I have done night shifts and it’s been tiring and out of my comfort zone some days. But it has also been a special thing too – to offer both my family and the elderly more care and joy in such a difficult time.
None of us have mothered and worked in a national crisis like this before and with uncertainty ahead and trying to balance work and schooling etc, it can take its toll. We have no time to ourselves like life before. We don’t have holidays on the horizon and we don’t have day trips or coastal adventures at our fingertips. We can’t pop out for tea or to see family or play out with friends. It is hard!
But in spite of all of that, we can discover beauty and sweetness in the ordinary and everyday moments together. I look at this time and choose to see that actually, mothering in a national crisis has so far being an epic adventure with my children! I have discovered a part of my mothering side I really love and am enjoying. And, with it I am loving the memories we are building together – the relationships we are strengthening and the time we have to play, be and enjoy nature together as a family. I love the safe place our home has become and I am thankful that all of that is an unexpected blessing in the chaos of uncharted waters.