The 2021 lockdown is here and there really aren’t enough adequate words to describe it. I don’t know what it is about things the second time around, but it’s felt harder, probably because I’m attempting to home school a five-year-old diva whilst a three-year-old nudist and one-year-old seek-and-destroy soldier wreak havoc on my house.
Kobe is at an age where he is almost impossible to take your eyes off. Bobby will lie directly to your face after taking a shit on your freshly cleaned couch, and Charli thinks it’s hilarious to ask me 55 questions about every single piece of homework she has been given.
Perhaps it’s because I also have to work myself now. I have writing to do and content to create for clients I work with, all of which is impossible with three kids pulling you in three different directions and a house that looks like it’s been ransacked by enraged bin chickens.
The first time we went into lockdown, the adrenalin kicked in. The fear of the unknown was all-consuming and no one knew what to expect each day. Coronavirus was a mystery virus that was destroying the lives of so many all over the world. The news did a fantastic job of scaremongering all (myself included) and the need to bunker down and protect your family seemed like the only thing that mattered.
But round two hits different. We know what to expect this time around, we know that as the numbers increase, our freedom decreases. Plans get cancelled. School needs to be taught at home, well attempted anyway. Seeing friends and family becomes a thing of the past and online trivia nights start back up. Every day is a barrel of emotions, boredom, hopefulness, sadness, confusion, happiness, frustration, depletion, gratefulness and not in that particular order either.
It’s groundhog day every day. It’s like the world is moving in slow motion, with fewer people around, and so much more quiet. The buzz that you would once get from your local coffee shop is now silenced by empty floors where chairs and tables used to be. Masked-up faces with empty eyes where the smiles from locals used to be.
One minute you are Captain Positive, making banana bread and light-hearted jokes and taking walks in the sunshine holding hands with your kids. The next day you are crying, throwing lunch boxes at a wall, drinking gin before midday, not showering and giving your kids 11 hours of screen time.
There is no secret recipe to surviving lockdown, especially not with three kids, so my best piece of advice is to just take each day as it comes and lean into them.
There are, however, a few tiny things that I try to implement each day that I find helps (a little) bit and if it doesn’t boost my mood, then it at least kills time. And that is vitally important when each day goes for 350 hours.
Always try to get out for a walk
I aim for one a day. Sometimes I do four if I’m desperate. If you are single, then a solo walk with music in your ears is going to make you feel so much better. Big deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, and if you’re menstruating, there are heaps of cyclists you can flip off just because.
If you have kids (and one like mine who refuses the pram), then be thankful that your 20-minute walk is probably going to take an hour. You might even kill two if you’re lucky. There’s no point in getting frustrated either because YOU LITERALLY HAVE NOWHERE TO BE… so let them stop to point at every flower, kick the dog shit around, pick up the sticks; let them do all of the annoying things they normally do when you are in a rush to get somewhere! I usually have my AirPods in (at a low volume) playing my fave R&B music to keep the mood light and my kids’ questions at a dull volume. Smile and nod, people.
Eat your lunch outdoors in the sun
Unless it’s raining, then skip this point and just know you are probably going to have a shit day. Vitamin D has special superpowers that can help boost your mood just by sitting in it for a few minutes. Put on a big warm coat, pull up a chair outside and eat your lunch basking in it pretending you’re on a vineyard in the Hunter Valley and not having apples dropped down the back of your shirt by a three-year-old.
ALWAYS find you need to go and buy immediately
I don’t care if it’s a litre of milk that you don’t need or a box of tampons in the middle of your cycle. You leave the house and you go and sit in the car for a bit. Play music as loud as you want, get a six-pack of nuggets and eat them at a leisurely pace, have a cry to no one or call one of your girlfriends and have an uninterrupted chat about how you’re on the verge of insanity and why it should be illegal to spend so much time with your husband. Whatever it is, at whatever time of day, make it a priority to have a good 30 mins breathing space on your own.
Make Mars Bar Slice
If you haven’t already made my Mars Bar Slice, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s minimal effort for maximum taste and I promise it will put a smile on your face every day. You’ll also put on a considerable amount of weight like I have if you keep making it for yourself every week, but no one is wearing anything other than tracksuits at the moment anyway so YOLO. You can find the recipe on my Instagram.
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Try not to drink every night
I know it’s easier said than done and I bloody love a wine or 13 but I try to limit my drinking to Thursday to Saturday night (might start on Wednesday if it’s been a real shitter). I don’t go without on those nights, however, I just have a hot chocolate, or I make a mind-blowing dessert. At the beginning of lockdown, I would drink every night, and it just fed into that dull sinking feeling every morning.
If you give yourself a few days off, I swear you look forward to it more come Thursday night. Think of a yum cocktail that you can make, and make it for yourself as a reward for getting through three-quarters of the week without head butting a brick wall. (Make yourself one anyway even if you did!). And if you feel like you need a drink at the end of each day, there is absolutely NO JUDGEMENT from me. You do you!
Please look after yourself
Whether that means. Running yourself a bath while your husband puts the kids to bed, or going and having a game of tennis with a girlfriend on the weekend for an hour. Even if you don’t play tennis but just stand on either side of the court catching up, remember to do something for yourself once a week. If the Mums are ever going to burn out and burn out QUICK, it’s going to be in lockdown, so I really, really want you to prioritise yourself and your own mental wellbeing.
Aside from those, there’s nothing else more I can offer. I wish I had a secret magic potion that I could send out to everyone to ensure we all woke up peachy and happy to be alive, but nothing could be further from reality and the end of the matter is we are all in this shit show together.
Such a strange, unprecedented world it is at the moment, but as the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.