Updated: Apr 14, 2020
As days turn in to weeks and weeks will be months , we are all feeling the isolation in every sense of the word in this current climate. The connection we all had with our families and communities and social circles are broken for now. And it is hard on everyone. But I'm having the opposite problem. It's the lack of isolation for me. I have hubbie home, teens home, toddler under feet and crabby as she cant run free or play with others home. Even my carefully planned rotation of toys is now boring to all of us . She's too wee to do an activity and has an attention span of a newt and thats being unfair to a newt ! And don't get me started on home schooling ... and duelling teen musical tastes on a their break either. Plus insult to injury, their father is messing with my routine with his helpful input ! I don't think I am the only household that this lock in is having this effect on....... They say birth rate will sky rocket. So might divorce ! Kidding.
Im somewhat being used to being without my nearest and dearest, as Im not from here and my lot are all locked down in the Southern Hemisphere. By choice of lifestyle and limitations of huge distance, I don't see them that often. I haven't got them on the door step as support crew or babysitters like I know a lot of families here have and rely on. Im used to the limited forms of communication available. So I’m used to missing them from afar. But I am feeling the gap is even wider now there is no chance of jumping on a plane if I needed too.
But like most at the moment , I'm stuck in two worlds, I cant get to family if I tried and cant get away from family if I tried. We parents , are in times of golden handcuffs as such. Gilded cages, we should be revelling in this time with our nearest. Opportunities to get all those jobs done. A chance to bond with our kids and be creative and free. And yet I find I want to kill them most of the time. Ironic as we are all home trying to stay safe. And nothing is getting done as, as soon as I do, someone comes in and messes it up again inadvertently. Im finding the days melting, into each other and the monotony of daily in house routine depleting. It's depleting my motivation to do anything. Getting dressed from pj to essentially sweats is even tiring. My patience levels with the other housebound residents here is definitely depleting. My list of things to do, is not depleting , and growing daily. Im ashamed to say my interest in this virus is depleting as the news just tells of how many have died not survived and they get a bunch of talking heads with ear buds in from their lounges to spin the same news a different way. Where is ' in other news' x amount of babies were born today , pollution levels are a record low, and crime is non existent?
Im finding having all the extra attention is depleting my energy level and sunny disposition , its just bloody stressful. Just as much as being socially distanced from people , having my family on top of me day in and out also is just as bad. It effects my state of mind and I'm sure others are feeling the lock in/down in the same way ?
We, especially Mums are ALL feeling , almost guilty , one way or another on one day or another. There is an expectation of us to hold it together, to be strong and keep everything grounded and churning along and over. We are the glue between the generations. So being separated and cooped up together at the same time , can have a profound effect of ones purpose and psyche. But it's ok to admit that we feel claustrophobic by suddenly having every one home and wanting our attention. And helpless, detached and cut off at the same time.
Mental health as well as physical health is most definitely on my mind. I think all Mums after the lock down finishes , should get a day at the spa ! As I feel we are battling, on so many different levels within this confinement. ( see first paragraph ). Im trying to find ways to cope. Music is my go to, for a variety of reasons. I grew up with music in the house so I love to have it on in the background as it feels like home. I play the songs that my Dad likes, I baked this morning to Elton John and The Eagles as it is what he played and it lifts my mood. Reminds me of us in happier days when I wasn't so far away. It was a tonic to my soul and tether ( you know the one we reach the end of without actually knowing how long it is ) . Music has a way of soothing you , energising you , reaching out to you, reminding you of times and changing you and ones disposition . I love that it teaches my children a generational back catalogue for their music appreciation in years to come . My wee one loves jumping and dancing around to any beat so I take a break from Disney and nursery rhymes once in a while to play songs that mean something to me instead.
Im trying to keep a loose routine, as the days do all run together. Finding a new routine with everyone in the household involved, helps me to divert some of the stress . You're all in here together so everyone has to pitch in. But I've found that others who are not used to being part of the day to day running of the house can have differing opinions, so communication is key . I make lists , its been a wee bit of a life saver to my wreaked memory and time keeping skills as they have become very laxed in this present situation. I write a bucket list for every little thing and job and even try to do some of it. I have found the achievement rush when you actually get something done is a good lift for the funk. Carving out a time in the day to do that wee item that is always on the back burner is good for the spirits. Finding a positive to being lock in !
Im getting technical, I've started talking to people on my phone/fb/zoom/ whats app/WeChat the list goes on... on a much more regular bases. It's so easy to get lost in life chaos and easy to lose touch with people. Now more than ever we need to stay connected. Im old enough to remember the days when a phone conversation was a life line on a land line. I still know everyones number from home. My Dad is taking the time to call everyone in his phone book to touch base, as we have the best intentions but never get around to it , Im trying to follow suit. A wee message, how is it going , goes along way. Just because we cant see our friends and family doesn't mean we cant keep up with them.
Ive found, finding something that brings you a moments peace and quiet, a split sec of joy in the grind is of vital importance. A boogy around the living room or a quiet few minutes in the sunshine alone in the garden is invaluable to staying sane. Making time to talk, to fulfil the need for human interaction , be it just a good old natter with someone on the phone brings a semblance of normality to this abnormal situation we find ourselves in . Now it is about quantity as well as quality. Finding what works for you to keep your households sanity. And keep us mums from going crazy with cabin fever and endless demands.
I also have found I need to own the feelings that are happening , be they anger, scared, bored, lonely, frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, tired, guilty for not knowing what to do and resentful that I’m supposed too. To acknowledge this is a weird time, one that we have never seen nor experienced before and to adapt and adopt a different pace and way of life. These feelings are the norm of being a parent I know ! But it isn't helping with the added pressure of a world wide pandemic, segregating us and forcing us into close quarters at the same time. We will get through this , all of us hopefully in one piece, but I cant promise my sons music collections will ! For parents of wee one and not so wee ones , the mantra of we are in this together and you're not alone has never been so true , just in a whole different way!
Stay safe, stay well , stay sane while you stay home !