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The Coronavirus Diaries | Month 1

We are literally living a part of history right now, when has one ‘thing’ ever united the country like this? We’re all in this together – and that really has been my saving grace. I wanted to write about these coronavirus times as something to look back on and fist pump myself saying ‘we bloody did it’ when this ‘unprecedented’ nightmare is finally over.

Friday 13th March – A break from reality!
There’d been some murmurings about this coronavirus thing over the week, but nothing too scary at this stage. Daily stats weren’t being broadcast over every newspaper headline and social media channel yet. I’d headed off on my girls weekend to Sandy Balls (yes really!) – we talked about it all, but felt like we were in a little safe haven at our wood cabin in the woods.
The mood definitely changed after that weekend though.
17th March – The start of our ‘new normal’ 
This was the day we started working from home. Everything was fairly normal though, the kids were still at school and nursery and we all just continued as before – just with a lot more Google Hangouts!
18th March – The announcement we were all waiting for 
At the 5pm daily ‘Coronavirus Update’, Boris dropped the clanger! All schools to be closed from Friday 20th March ‘until further notice’ (except for children of key workers and any children considered vulnerable) and GCSE exams are cancelled.

Various memes about toilet rolls, pasta and homeschooling whilst working from home were sent around.

It was all so surreal, it just didn’t feel real – so we continued on as normal. 

20th March – Our last visit to Paulton’s Park for a while
I decided to take Arlo to Paulton’s Park  as we hadn’t been this year. I felt a bit unsure about it but figured that we’d live our last day of ‘normal’, well just that – normal. Seeing as schools were still open and everything else was operating as before, I decided to go. We had a great day, so much fun and we could forget all about what was happening around us.
I picked Sofia up from school and her friend came to play – we hung out at the park for longer than normal, making the most of being out and about and it seemed like a lot of the parents had the same idea. Who knows when they’ll see each other again?
I felt a real mixture of emotions; sadness for her, for the teachers and worry for myself. It’s all so uncertain and there’s no end date in sight. I’m not a maternal mum at all, so the thought of two of them together 24/7, no outside help and none of our ‘usual places to go’ open, fills me with dread. I can’t cry or I don’t think I’ll stop!
BoJo’s 5pm coronavirus update… pubs, bars and restaurants to close at midnight tonight.
Mothers Day comes and goes. No Sunday Roast at the pub. No spa voucher in my card. Stuart got off lightly this year!
I’m eating so much food. I should be rationing but I’m literally gorging on share bags of crisps (and I’m defo not sharing them) and biscuits. Oh god, I’m scoffing biscuits like I need them to breathe. I don’t even eat biscuits – coronavirus got me like….

I’m still not concerned about getting coronavirus – I’m more concerned about when this will all be over. And when it is, what it’s even going to be like. 

It’s safe to say, after week one – I’m not enjoying it one bit.
23rd March – Say Hello to your new teacher!
The day starts full of optimism, the home learning chart has been drawn up, the snack shop is fully stocked and I’m ready to don my lycra number with the Nations PE Teacher. The kids aren’t. Sofia does it for 5 minutes before declaring ‘this is boring’. Stuart and I attempt the 9.30am work call. This is hard work and it’s only 10am.
The chart gets abandoned and we just go into survival mode.
The kids constant demands for snacks, their inability to ‘just play’ or to play together without one of them crying starts to really grate. Stuart and I argue over whose work is most important as we fight for time in the home office.
26th March – Arlo turns three!
Well this will go down in history as the shittest birthday ever. After asking umpteen times ‘when we going zoo?’ he finally gives up. We Facetime parents as he opens presents from them that were sent/dropped at the doorstep. He does have a Cecil caterpillar cake though, so all is not lost.
The highlight of today? Going to Asda to do our weekly shopping. I’ve been struggling this week. Mum guilt is sky high. I’m struggling with this adjustment of being in, so lord knows how the kids must be feeling. They act up, that gets on my (already high) nerves and I just want to escape the house. I can’t. 
What have I learnt this week? I seem to have forgotten how to put a bra on….and I’m absolutely dying for my weekly McDonalds fix.
Saturday 28th March – My brothers birthday!
Another non-event. It’s funny because I wouldn’t usually bother calling on his birthday but it seems lockdown’s bring us all closer together, so we Facetime. His birthday treat is ‘a walk’.
We decide to treat the kids to a movie night and lounge sleepover. We watched Up! and it was so good. Sofia cried at one part as she felt ‘so sad for the man’. I’ve never known her to feel other peoples emotion in that way, she suddenly seemed so grown up.
On Sunday we get into our groove a bit. Enjoying the garden, I’m so so grateful for the garden… It’s nice having us both not working too as it’s a lot easier when we can take one child each and not have to split our attention or stop the other legging it into the middle of a video call.
I take the kids for a (first of many…) ‘go to sleep’ drive whilst Stuart washes his car and clears the gutters out. It’s all rock and roll in a lockdown!
30th March – Another day, another lot of hours to wile away….
We’ve decided to ‘split shift’ our working so we both get something done! Client work has, naturally, dried up a bit, but there’s still lots to do. It’s helping to keep me sane and my mind busy!
30th March – Pay day.
We got paid our usual salary which was great, but the lack of shops open really takes the shine off having money in your account doesn’t it?! Sofia saw her teacher doing ‘spelling dancing’ as one of their home activities and she got quite upset, she said ‘I really really miss Miss T and my school‘.
It makes me feel happy to know she loves it there so much but equally sad that I can’t tell her when she can go back and have fun with all of her friends. 
31st March – Furlough!
I’ve been expecting to be furloughed so when I was told at the end of the day it came as no surprise, but my initial reaction was – ‘Fuck, what will I do now?‘. No more going into the office to ‘work’ [AKA – downtime from the kids!]
1st April 
I wake up totally miserable. Furlough’s taken a huge weight off me; no more balancing work and the kids – feeling guilty for not doing well/neglecting one or the other but it actually doesn’t make the reality easier.
I’m a control freak so losing control fills me with dread. Let alone knowing it’s solely me doing the kids now. I’m not cut out to be a SAHM, let alone a home schooler – or I would have chosen to be one. I feel dreadful for feeling this way though. It’s a constant wrestle this working/mum life.
Now the decision has been made, I better embrace it.
2nd April – The Worst Day Yet
Today was my dad’s birthday. After sending the obligatory ‘happy birthday’ video messages, we found out that my grandma (my dads mum) passed away unexpectedly. This year has been shit news upon shit news.
So I decided to pop to our little Tesco Extra to get mum and dad a meal for tonight and drive it over. I knocked the door and stood back; dad looked so upset but happiness crept over when he saw it was me there. When I brought the kids out of the car I thought he was going to burst! When mum came to the door I burst into tears, I wasn’t expecting to…and I didn’t realise how much I wanted a hug from them! I didn’t get one (obviously) but I’m saving it up….alongside the ‘babysitting’ vouchers!!

I’m switching my mindset now and refuse to wallow about. Instead, I’m choosing to feel grateful for our house, our garden, this amazing weather and then fact I’m in lockdown with my family…and embracing no school runs and lie-ins. 

Oh, and TikTok – my new addiction.

This weekend has been so much better; I’m finally getting in to the swing of things. I’m learning to slow down, to relax, to take off the pressure. To enjoy just being. It’s a novelty for me, but I’m slowly adjusting to this new way of ‘just being’.
Sunday is now officially my switch off Sunday and boy it feels so refreshing and stops me from being all ‘stop, stop let me take a photo’. I just enjoy the moment more.
Yesterday I noticed on our walk how a little bit of time, our time, is all the kids need. Sofia’s been on her bike again for the first time in months, and Arlo’s scootering is amazing. It’s crazy what ‘time’ does, just spending our daily exercise time out in the fresh air is great for us all and the kids really appreciate going out.
It’s made me feel guilty for always shipping them off for ‘paid fun’ when actually a bike and scooter trip is enough for them.

If there’s one thing this lockdown has taught me it’s that the simple things are just as good. That just being with the kids is enough.

And that’s a life lesson right there!
6th April – It’s becoming normal
I’m actually getting used to this coronavirus isolation life. It may have taken four weeks, but it’s three to create a habit, right?! This morning I woke up and read my Kindle, Sofia went downstairs with Stuart and Arlo came into bed with me to watch Paw Patrol. Really appreciating these simple moments.

It’s so lovely not to be rushing around, or be constantly wondering what’s next?

7th April – BoJo is admitted into hospital with coronavirus
In a dramatic turnaround our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is admitted into hospital with coronavirus. It suddenly feels really strange. Imagine if he pops it now? Sofia is still really clingy which is slightly irritating, I guess it’s the anxiety of all that’s going on so I do feel bad for shouting at her, but she’s a literal limpet. Whenever I leave the room, she’s there. She won’t play in the garden if I’m not out there.
I just want some time for myself!  
I’m struggling with this the most. Back in pre-coronavirus life, we had an active ‘out of work’ life; there’d be a club to dash to/from, one of us would be out at least a couple of evenings a week. To now being in close confinement with each other 24/7 is tough. So? I’ve ordered a bike and I’m going to go out each evening for a podcast and a cycle.
9th April – Let’s let the kids do what they choose day!
Today should have been the start of our four nights away from the kids whilst they went on holiday with nanny and gamps, but that’s not happening, obvs. Cheers coronavirus!
Instead, I said Sofia could choose what activities she wanted to do that day. This went well. I had set no expectations so I couldn’t be annoyed/disappointed with them not doing what I’d planned. So Sofia wanted make up on. Tick! Arlo wanted to scoot early morning rather than afternoon. Tick! They wanted the paddling pool out. Tick!
The weather has been amazing, so hot. That is definitely helping. I popped to Asda at 1pm thinking it would be quiet as everyone would be sunbathing. Wrong! I queued the length of the carpark for 30 minutes. At least it was sunny. It was carnage inside, people not following the arrows, getting too close. Families out on a jolly day out, my favourite – a couple with a baby in a sling. One of you, stay the fuck home!
I was shopping for us and four other members of the family (vulnerable – elderly and medical) and it was stressful. I had the most lovely lady at the checkout who said ‘hopefully after all this coronavirus stuff, we’ll all change how we behave and they’ll be less rushing around’.
It’s so true and I do hope I continue to take that one thing away from all of this.

FYI: PMT doesn’t stop. Even when the world does.