Before writing this blog post I just want to express that I feel incredibly grateful that my little family have in the grand scheme of things been unaffected by coronavirus. Thus far, we have not been ill, we have had no financial issues and we have not lost any loved ones. I truly sympathise with the many for whom this awful disease has been a nightmare rather than just an inconvenience.
This blog is an outlet for me and all the other ‘lockdown parents’ that have had to navigate parenthood alone during these strange times, and my reaction to the changes to come.
An easing at last?
I sat watching the daily covid19 briefing yesterday eager to hear that lockdown would finally be easing. My main concern, can I finally see close family?
My reaction to this finally being a possiblity completely surprised me. Rather than jumping for joy, my feelings were mixed and erring on negative; this took me completely off-guard!
After weeks of moaning about missing loved ones and them missing Isaac, I was finally given the chance to see them and it was a complete anti-climax.
After sleeping on it (the best a new mum can!) I think I have worked out why I reacted in this strange way:
- In my heart of hearts I know it is too early to be ‘trusting the British public’ and lifting the lockdown this much. I was shocked that 6 people from a whole range of households could meet at once and I fear that very few will actually keep to the 2 metre outside-only rule. This will mean another lockdown in the near future and possibly a larger and more deadly second peak. Best case scenario: even longer before Isaac sees his grandparents. Worst case: one of us gets gravely ill.
- The rule change is incredibly bittersweet. Being able to see family but not touch them feels to me like the marshmallow test where you can look at the sweetie but not eat it! With our family all living at least a 2 hour drive away it has caused us a dilemma – is it worth the long drive each way for a few minutes outside together sitting socially distanced? Perhaps not. But then if we leave it and we are re-locked down because others can’t help themselves but to break the rules, how long will it then be until we can just take this small step again?
Will I miss lockdown?!
Then there is another factor- has lockdown really been so bad? Here are some of the things I will miss when it eases completely:
- Working things out for ourselves – as new parents we have had the opportunity to bond completely exclusively with our little baby. It has been refreshing (if a little frightening at times) to muddle our way through everything by ourselves. We have naturally avoided well-meaning family and friends telling us how to do things or judging various parenting choices we’ve made. I haven’t experienced the new mum confusions of battling with opposing advice from different people as I simply haven’t had that advice! With Isaac we have had no choice but to work things out for ourselves and I’m proud to say that so far I think we’re doing really well. I worry that in the future this well-intentioned advice will come and I may struggle to accept it, particularly if I feel I am being negatively judged. After all, I have coped and kept my baby alive very well up to now!
- My husband has had the incredibly rare opportunity to see Isaac grow and be a part of the childcare every day. We have been so fortunate that he has been able to work from home ever since lockdown (and therefore ever since paternity leave ended). Isaac has had an opportunity to bond with his dad far more than would usually be the case and their relationship will be better for it. The three of us have become so close and a bit of a formidable force. I worry how it will feel when my husband has to return to the office and can only see us in the evenings.
- Strangely, we have seen more of our family and friends than we normally would. With the wonderful invention of Skype and Zoom we have been chatting to close family and groups of friends at least once a week. Grandparents have been able to coo over Isaac and watch him develop and grow (though nothing compares to a cuddle of course!) With the 3 quizzes per week that we are now involved in we’ve also filled our heads with useless facts ready for the pub quizzes to come! I hope regular video chats continue when life gets a little more hectic.
- I will miss not needing to commit to anything! An event-less diary has become my norm and I feel I have become a bit of an introvert from it. I am certainly going to start rethinking what and who I’ve truly missed and what had actually felt like a chore… I haven’t missed clothes shopping one bit, for example!
The lowdown on the lockdown
Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I look forward to when the lockdown is truly lifted. I can’t wait to completely unashamedly show off my beautiful baby to anyone and everyone! I can’t wait to hug family and friends and embrace them for just a little longer than I used to. I can’t wait to leave the house without a mask and hand sanitizer and to not have to wipe down the shopping or parcels we receive. I can’t wait to sit in our favourite restaurants and pubs and devour the delicious food we have missed. I can’t wait to finally start baby classes and have a proper maternity leave. Above all, I can’t wait for my baby to see the whole world properly beyond the four walls that have protected him up until now.
Please everyone stay safe. Please don’t forget to socially distance – if you can’t do it then wait, hold off, see your family and friends when you can hold them and hug them.
For my sake and everyone else’s don’t risk another lockdown and more lives lost.
Am I the only one with these mixed feelings on the gradual return to ‘normality’? What are your feelings regarding the lifting of the lockdown? Too soon? Not lifted enough? Can’t wait? Tell me in the comments!