Since lockdown, many of us have had to change our lifestyles completely. Has your routine with your children changed?
Completely! We’ve basically had to create a brand new routine. For us, I’m classed as high-risk so we have been at home now for six weeks. The first few weeks were a little bit of a novelty in not having to go to nursery, classes etc and getting to do lots of fun activities at home, but we quickly realised that would not last forever. My kids need routine as well as me! I need the structure to be able to plan the day and be able to actually achieve something productive in my day with two small children running around.
Do you feel more pressure as a parent in the current situation? For example, keeping routine, home schooling or explaining why we can’t go outside.
For me, I don’t feel pressure at all but I think that’s because my girls are so young – one is 2 and the other 1. I don’t have home schooling pressures or have the need to properly explain the situation going on apart from the basics. We have simply created our new normal which the girls seem very happy with. Apart from missing family of course.
Has the lockdown impacted your mental health? How are you trying to stay positive?
I’m lucky to be a very positive person so even on bad days – of which there are lots when the kids are going nuts etc – I just tell myself it’s just a day and move on. I’m also lucky to have a very positive husband who is able to really cheer me up and support when I’m feeling a bit down. I don’t think there is any escaping, however, the upset and anxiety this is causing everyone. Upset for those that have lost loved ones, or those that are working so hard as Key Workers putting their lives at risk, And obviously the anxiety of wanting to keep your family safe. A tip that a doctor friend recommended is taking Vitamin D supplements. We’re all going to be deficient as we’re spending so much time indoors and a deficient an cause low moods etc. Taking the Vitamin D supplement can help.
What would your advice be to parents who may be struggling with their mental health during the lockdown?
Talk. Always talk. I feel such a release after having a good phone conversation with my mum or sister putting the world to rights. Also to not be so hard on yourself. As parents we are responsible for so much; we’re teachers, cleaners, cooks, advisors etc etc. It’s hard! So if you are having a day where the kids don’t want to do school work and don’t want to do anything productive then who cares. Put the TV on and go make yourself a cup of tea!
Are there any ‘pros’ to staying at home?
Really appreciating time together as a family. My husband has been working from home for six weeks and we feel so lucky that he is able to have breakfast lunch and dinner with the kids every single day. It’s a total silver lining, and one we are very lucky to be able to enjoy.
Are you finding time for self-care? If so, how?
Absolutely not. With two small babies, a house to clean, meals to cook, I make it to 7:30pm and just want to pass out. But my version of self-care is taking myself to bed early and watching a movie. It’s not a lot right now, but I’m with my family, safe and well and that’s all that matters.
What is your go-to activity when you have ‘me time’?
How are you keeping your children entertained?
A great tip is to really lengthen mealtimes and make them an activity themselves. I try and get my eldest involved in the making of meals and tidying up so instead of rushing as we would usually before nursery etc, we really take our time and talk. Then after breakfast we do Yoga. I’ve discovered Cosmic Kids on YouTube which is the most incredible children’s yoga. My 2 year old does an hour every single morning! I do one big activity a day which can be baking, painting, colouring etc always around a theme but the rest of the time they’re playing by themselves in the garden or with their toys. I think it’s important not to entertain them every second of every day and to let them play on their own and be a little bored. It’s this time in which their imagination grows. I just love watching and listening as the girls create little stories with their toys. It’s magical.
If your family life during lockdown was a movie title, what would it be?
Eat, Clean, Cook, Repeat.
Finally, what do you wish to remember when looking back at this time? Is there anything you feel you have learnt so far?
Just how grateful we feel to be together as a family. And looking how much the community has pulled together to support those in need. It’s really heartwarming to watch.