As we pass the four month mark of working from home things have started to change. We have begun to leave our “new normal” for an even “newer normal”. As the lockdown rules relax establishments are opening their doors and we can spend time once again with our friends and family.
Monday 27th July marks a big day for us, our son Robin Oleander returns to nursery after 4 months of being away. Ask me about 6 weeks ago and I would have literally done anything to get them to open their doors, now that it has come around I feel a mix of emotions. On the whole I’ve come to the conclusion it is a good thing. Good for Robin and his social needs, good for David and I as we will both be able to work a solid day (no more split shifts) and good for the whole family as our work/life balance starts to level out. Still I can’t help but feel a bit sad that our little lockdown bubble has come to an end.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned during the COVID-19 lockdown which have opened my eyes.
1. Working from home with a young child is HARD
I’m sure anyone out there in the same boat have felt a multitude of emotions whilst trying to figure out how to work this. After the first week in lockdown we were in a new routine of sorts which saw us juggle looking after Robin and work in shifts. Typically we would work 4 hours shifts and then swap. Depending on who was on Robin bed duty that night I would then jump back on the laptop in the evening to do more work. Cue the non existent divide between work and life.
But it wasn’t just trying to fit in work that was the issue, keeping Robin happy and entertained was tricky too.
2. Spend quality time with your child
I won’t deny it, the reliance of tv and screens has increased in our house since lockdown, I’m so grateful to the Disney Channel! Unfortunately just because I’m not “on my work shift” doesn’t mean I can always switch off. Deadlines occur meaning I sometimes have to be on emails even when I’m supposed to be looking after Robin. That is where screens came in handy. For us getting him out for a walk or to play was important and usually one of us would go out in the morning. Nap times were important too. Robin dropped his naps as we entered lockdown but it became very apparent quickly this was negatively impacting his behaviour the next day so we reintroduced them.
Like many others I tried to implement an activity timetable, this only lasted a day. But despite this I tried to introduce new activities we could do together for variety. I invested in puzzles and games and we spent time in the garden planting seeds, and playing with toys.
For those of us who work full time and have their child in nursery it has given us the opportunity to break the usual cycle and spend time as a family. Over the last 4 months I have seen Robin grow so much as he approaches 3 an a half years old. My daily highlight is the cuddles I get to have with Robin every morning when usually we would be trying to get out the house to get to work and nursery. Perhaps I could say our bond has grown, it has certainly be tested but on the whole its been good for both us and Robin to be a bit more present in each others lives.
3. We are all the in the same boat
Whenever things felt tough I’d sit back and think “we are all in the same boat”. This experience of having to juggle entertaining our 3 year old son Robin whilst working was not unique to us. This isn’t a situation we have chosen to be in, we just have to do what works for us. No matter what your circumstances, there will be good days and bad days. For me it helped me to message or talk to my friends who I knew were experiencing similar challenges as well as talk about it with my partner. Like I said we found it HARD, really hard.
When I think back to how I felt in March verses now it is completely different. I remember sitting at work whilst things were getting bad and other countries were going into lockdown feeling panicky. As my anxiety about what was going on rose I felt like I couldn’t get a full breath in my lungs and my chest felt tight. I knew then that this situation was making me feel very anxious and unsettled. Like many others I bought extra pasta and loo rolls and waited for the news that I was going to be working from home.
4. Life in the slow lane is welcome
Personally I am not the type of person who likes to spend a lot of time at home. Usually at the weekends we are up and out exploring or visiting family. Coronavirus changed all that and apart from our daily walk we are spending all our time at home. I thought I would hate it but in actual fact I got used to it pretty quickly. Having to make an effort to do more with Robin has been great, it has given us the excuse to spend more time with each other and just be in the moment without the usual distractions. Puzzles and games that sit gathering dust are coming out to play, and we have time to just be with each other without the usual stresses of everyday life.
Now that we have the freedom to travel further I need to remind myself that it is OK to stay at home and stay local. We are fortunate to have an amazing walk down by the River Don so close to us that we can still get out and enjoy nature without really leaving home .
5. Talking and keeping in touch is important
We are lucky to live in an age with so many apps available to us to make it easy to keep in touch. Whether it is social media, video calling, exchanging TikTok videos or dueting with your friend over Smule, it is so easy to be social. Friends that I speak to once a month or less, I have spoken with multiple times during lockdown and it was great.
My birthday was in June and although things were starting to relax I still couldn’t really celebrate like I would have. My closest friends sent me flowers, made a photo book of our lives from school to the present day and threw me a Zoom party. The party was amazing and featured a Camilla quiz which covered subjects such as “guess which of Camilla’s crushes this is by the initials”, a music round featuring songs by my favourite bands throughout the years, a ‘Camilla’ general knowledge round and “identify the missing word from Camilla’s Facebook posts over the years”. Honestly it was amazing, I felt so loved it was brilliant to see my friends and have such a hoot virtually.
So there we have it, 5 things I’ve taken away from lockdown. A truly unique period in our lives where the world stayed at home.
What have you learned from lockdown?