Oh lockdown number 1.
How I chuckle to myself at the difference a year makes.
You were so novel and new and with you came the joy and wonder of renewed time together as a family. Unending sunny days where we played in the garden from morning to night. There was no pressure to work, it was a never ending day of opportunity, filled with baking and Joe Wicks.
Ha I recall the sadness at the easing of lockdown in the summer and the fear of the loss of that magical time we had together as a family.
Oh lockdown part 1 how I belly laugh now. Now that I would give anything to spend a day away from people that have either been inside or have come out of my vagina! (Read that line somewhere and it’s so funny I had to include it!)
It’s 5am and the cretins are already in my bed. I have a 5 year old face 2 cm from mine taking up 70% of my pillow with his foot in my ribs and a 2 year old asleep planked on my chest.
Si is asleep with all the comfort of 100% pillow action and 50% bed. I’m giving him the dagger eyes whilst he sleeps and despite it not being his fault my hate levels are already rising. I’ve already been woken at least twice. No fair.
It’s 5:30, Ravey wakes and instantly wants to know what joys the day shall bring. Mummy can I make a spaceship? Mummy is it the weekend? Mummy what are we going to do today? Mummy can we get up? I’m trying to stop him waking Roo. It’s winter and still dark. I tell him to be quiet to not wake his sister, to go back to sleep, it’s still night time. The boy isn’t a fool, he knows if he persists she will wake and there will be no choice but to admit defeat.
At this stage daddy hasn’t moved. I know he is awake and he knows that I know but if he doesn’t move the kids will leave him alone. I tell Ravey to go to daddy, Roo is sleeping on me.
We both know he is the one getting up. Hell no mofo, I’ve been up during the night, I am not moving.
We play this game every morning. Every morning he gets up. It’s the deal. He sleeps like a king overnight and I am sleeping in as long as I can. On a weekday the latest I can really stay in bed to is 8ish. In reality I am awake at 4am, 5am, 6am. I take Roo through to join them if they get up before. Then of course I can hear the calamity going on in the living room the whole time. The joys of living in a small London flat. But I’ll be damned I am staying in this bed even if I am awake.
Ravey has 4 online school sessions; 9:15, 11, 1pm and 1:30. Perfectly timed to keep us prisoners in the house. Not enough time in-between to actually get out to do anything. Not that there is anywhere to go, let’s face it.
Oooh another walk around the block in that annoying frizz rain you say? I am utterly bursting with excitement at this tremendously riveting opportunity!!
Every single day I start the day with positivity and the promise that today will be different. Today I will be zen. I’m going to smash this online learning. I will not get wound up.
Every day by 9:30 I am livid.
I never knew that sitting next to a 5 year old on a zoom call could be so unbelievably triggering!
And bless him, Ravey is just being a 5 year old. 5 year olds are super annoying, it’s their prerogative.
The lesson starts and the teacher is all happiness and light. Ravey is too busy looking at his own face on the screen. Making faces, licking the screen and making inane sounds.
Before the lesson has even begun I’m there droning on. “Sit down, pay attention, stop mucking about”.
Looking at the screen it’s not just my kid, there are a few others too but on the whole all the others seem to be pretty well behaved. Unlike my kid who is now rolling about singing about poo. FFS!
The best bit about this madness is the teacher’s perception vs mine and her ability to be so patient. She will be giving it the whole “wow well done that’s fantastic work” and “great concentration Ravey” whilst I’ll be constantly checking we are still on mute whilst I’m yelling to sit down and do the damn work. I don’t see what she does in the moment of stress and fury.
Each time I feel awful because it really shouldn’t get to me the way it does but it’s so bloody stressful. And then of course there is always one parent with their golden kid. Doing the whole show and tell of all the fantastic stuff they’ve done.
Oh look at my unwavering motherly perfection. I am the zen mum you wish you were. I feed my kids nothing but pure organic. Today we are making life size paper mache versions of ourselves that we will recite positive affirmations to whilst watching our chick eggs hatch and eating quinoa.
I am equal measures in awe and murderous towards this mum. I think she is the most annoying mother on the planet but I also want to be her. Well at least a bit more her and a bit less me.
Sometimes my sane self holds it out and I get through most of the sessions without getting stressed out or wound up. Those times are good. When Ravey gets fed up or frustrated I can manage it and give him the support he needs and deserves. Other times we will be doing maths and the question will be “what is 1 less than 10?” And Ravey will say “30” and I will literally want to scream and throw myself through the window.
Yes yes I know this is not rational. Nor is it healthy for anyone. In these moments I can see my own wounded child self and I recall my own experiences of early learning with an infuriated adult and it breaks me. It is much less about Ravey and a lot more about being caught in a cycle of repetition and reenactment that I can see but cannot stop myself falling into.
The mum guilt has been living it large this lockdown. She is partying like it’s 1999, filling my head with all the reasons I’m totally whack, only stopping for a rest between the hours of 9-9:30 am when I am still at zen stage. Sometimes she pulls an all nighter and I practically wake livid.
When you aren’t doing school work, the only other activity lockdown mum 2021 is doing is being a snack bitch.
Breakfast is swiftly followed by an 8am request for snack. The perpetual “muuuuummm can I have a snack” is on a constant loop. “I’m hungry” being the start and end of all interactions.
How the hell have you been surviving at school kiddo? You get one mealtime in which you leave 60% of the meal and you are running round all day. How can it be that you are eating me out of house and home now you aren’t at school? Where is that food going?
Lunch this lockdown is like the days themselves, groundhog day of cheese and ham sarnies forever. I reminisce of lockdown March 2020 me, all banana bread and cookies. That mumma is dead and burried. I’m barely getting dinner cooked these days!
A year ago when this crazy ass world started to fall apart never for a moment did I imagine we would still be here a year later. I was banging at motherhood then. I was full of bright ideas, and energy and I felt GOOD.
But things aren’t the same now, the expectations and pressures are different since Ravey has started school and the weather is total shit.
Where before each day was an opportunity, now each day is a chore with a rigid routine set for us by the school system, all with the backdrop of grey and drizzly gloom.
It is no surprise we are struggling. This is not a natural way to live or learn. It’s not a reflection of homeschooling either. Homeschooling is far easier than this. Where you and your child set the pace and learn in a more organic way. This is far from that.
I’m starting to give myself and the kids a break and trying to not pile on the pressure. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t get all the work done or if we don’t attend all the sessions. Our sanity and happiness is more important. But it’s hard. Hard as we are hardwired by experience to feel like anything less than 100% perfection is failure.
In reality the real failure will be looking back on these times, in years to come, and the overwhelming memory being of guilt and stress, rather than pride for how we managed and gratitude for what we have.