This week I have handed my blog over to two amazing families. Each with different lockdown experiences and challenges, with one thing in common - family. We are all going through the lockdown together and there is no right or wrong way to go about this situation. We are making a brand new journey through the unknown with no rules. Over the last 7-8 weeks (I have lost count) I have noticed the power of communication and community value - even with our doors closed, we can still reach out through social media and the internet to connect with others sharing ideas and values. The fact is, we are never truly alone, we can share our stories good or bad. I wanted to give a voice to others, invite them to tell us about their lockdown moments.
Firstly, I caught up with the lovely Kirsten from Yorkshire, who is stay at home with her husband, Brad and little Baby, Savanna.
What have you missed?
"I have really missed baby classes I've missed the ease of talking to people who know what it's like to have a bad night teething. I never realised how much I gained from those classes. I know I can phone people but that doesn't mean they answer. Also it doesn't mean I'll remember to ask their opinion on something. I've also really miss being able to go out and eat anything I fancied, whether it was nandos, McDonald's or prezzo!"
What haven’t you not missed?
"I haven't missed getting the bus here, there and everywhere. I've really enjoyed walking more. Some of Vanna's classes I will have to get the bus to but the ones I don't I am going make more effort to walk to when we are unleashed. I mean through the walking I've been doing I found a conservation field near us and I felt so a peace there ( despite being right by the M5) it's somewhere I can imagine taking Vanna when she is walking on her own... I can send you pictures if you like..."
What has been the most challenging aspect?
"The most challenging aspect is trying to do my best for Savanna with little resources. I'm trying to stimulate, teach her and do everything I can for her but she's not at a stage where I can get her colouring in or anything like that. I'm terrified I'm putting too much focus on the tv; whether it's a Disney movie or one of her usual classes moved on line. What I hate most of all is the fact she needs shoes, I think it may help her start to walk unaided. I can't go to Clarks to get her measured. The most challenging aspect is I feel like I'm holding her back through no fault of my own."
What do you think you’ll remember the most in 10 years time?
"I think I'll remember the frustration more than anything. The frustration I couldn't pick up the pasta Savanna likes, the frustration at how much we wanted a McDonald's but had to order an alternative from the pizza place that costed twice the price! I think that will in turn help me not to take things for granted and appreciate more of the little things. Like a chicken mcnugget happy meal."
Can you tell me a best moment?
"Honestly, I don't really have a best moment. Just lots of little experience that have made me smile. Having video chats with my best friends. Eating Bakewell tarts in bed with my husband. Watching Savanna on her first birthday lighting up as she ate a huge slice of cake. I don't think it's possible to have one best moment. In a time like this you need lots of little ones."
What are you looking forward to the most after lockdown?
"I'm looking forward to seeing people obviously. But I'm really looking forward to getting my legs and eyebrows waxed!! I've been getting it done for years! I don't trust myself (or my husband) to do it!! I am really looking forward to seeing my family but I would rather do it without Chewbacca legs."
What would you say to people struggling?
"To people who are struggling. I could make up crap like see this as an opportunity or oh it won't last forever... But we all know that shit doesn't help. My advice is take it a day at a time. Some days are going to be shit, like when your husband bitches you out about the cleaning when you've just rearranged all the books in the house (I'm an avid reader and that's an awful lot of books). But equally there are freaking awesome days, like when you chat to your neighbour over the fence about everything and nothing and you get a window of normality
despite the madness. Those little things that usually wouldn't mean much are the makings of an awesome day now.
As for prepping for the end of lockdown, I doubt I'll actually hear it on the news... I'll know it's over when my parents car appears on my drive way at god only knows what time..."
Meet Charlotte and Lee, recently married with a baby on the way. Lee is an amazing Author with a new book being released very soon, check it out (here) and Charlotte is a Wedding planner from London.
What have you missed?
Charlotte: "I miss going out shopping for baby clothes, especially since we now know what we’re having and finding stuff for the nursery is harder since we can’t go out and look at them. I also miss going out for dinner and being able to buy food that I really fancy. I think that’s very hard when you’re pregnant. I really want to just sit down and eat a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, but it’s not something you can really get hold of at the moment since deliveries are so limited and we’re not willing to go out to the shops and risk our health."
Lee: "Being able to see my friends and family whenever I want. I always have dinner at my nan and grandad’s every Sunday but I can’t do that now, so I really miss that a lot. Also, not being able to go to the gym with my friends. It’s not something I really enjoy so I usually rely on them to keep me motivated, other than that I feel like I’ve adapted pretty well since during the week I act as Charlotte’s carer and write while working on the weekend so generally there isn’t much difference to my routine. I think it’s more specifically the loss of freedom I had."
What have you not missed?
Charlotte: "Everyone being so busy. Like we’ve had time to work on the nursery for a bit of leisure and my parents being off and helping us with it all. We never would have been able to organise everything so quickly if they were at work. It’s just nice having them home and being able to spend quality time with them."
Lee: "I didn’t miss work when I was furloughed. I remember the last shift I had before I was furloughed and I couldn’t believe how busy it was and how little care my workplace had given the staff. It might have been in the early days but it was public knowledge that it was spreading and shops like IKEA had already closed down. I was actually freaking out and had basically gone in so much protective gear that I looked like a low-budget Darth Vader cosplayer. I then had a day off for my birthday and took unpaid leave until I was put on furloughed so I was glad to be out of there for a few weeks."
What has been the most challenging aspect?
Charlotte: "Being stuck in doors all the time. I suffer with M.E and POTS, both of which already limits the amount of time I have outside, so now also being restricted when I do have the energy or when I have good days is really frustrating. I already get a bit bored being confined indoors so being able to just go out for a wander every now and then was a real help and could go a long way to making me feel better. Having that taken away from me has been hard."
Lee: "Not being able to go through this journey with my family. When we found out that we were having a baby I immediately knew how I wanted to tell everyone. We didn’t want to tell anyone until we were clear of the first twelve weeks so that corresponded with my birthday which also fell on Mother’s Day so the plan was to tell my family all in one go at my birthday dinner, telling my mum first by giving her a Mother’s Day card at the table that had the first scan. Obviously, that didn’t happen so we had to improvise by giving my mum a “Mother’s Day” care package with a card and the scan included. I dropped it over and told her not to open it until I video called her. It wasn’t how I wanted to tell her at all, especially since my nan had died last year so I really wanted the announcement to be this big family thing. It’s only as we’ve started on the nursery and buying clothes that it’s really hit me how limited all of their involvement is at the moment because we can’t go out and look at things together. Everything is done through online deliveries and talking on the phone."
What do you think you’ll remember the most in ten years’ time?
Charlotte: "Just how together we all are despite the isolation. Having my husband, mum and dad all around me during this whole thing has really helped."
Lee: "For me it’ll probably be how everyone has kept in contact so much more since everything locked down. Personally, I’m not someone who constantly texts friends and family but since this has all happened I’m making more of an effort to check in on everyone and they’ve all done the same."
Can you tell me a best moment?
Charlotte: "It’s not so much a “best moment” as it is the whole experience if that makes any sense. It’s hard, but I get to spend all this time with my family. My dad is finally making changes to the house that he’s been bugged about for ages and my mum is less stressed now that she’s having time away from work. It’s a difficult time but being able to spend so much time with my family has been great."
Lee: "We went for a private scan where we were told we’re having a little girl. We both really wanted to have a girl first and we had kind of gotten stuck in that mind set. Whenever we looked at baby clothes we would always gravitate towards the girl’s stuff first and actually had to remind ourselves to look at the boy’s stuff too. Everyone was telling us what they thought we were having on Facebook the day before which was nice. It was lovely to see our friends and family all getting involved and really excited for us. After we found out we video messaged my mum and then my dad to tell them before heading home to tell Charlotte’s parents. It was emotional because now we could stop saying “the baby” and could start saying “Clara”.
What are you looking forward to most after the lockdown?
Charlotte: "Going out for dinner or just walking around Sutton to look at baby clothes. I really can’t wait to just get out and do some proper mummy things."
Lee: "Seeing my family and giving them all a hug. Also going to the cinema again…I just don’t know what I’ll be watching since all the films I was looking forward to have been delayed."
What would you say to anyone struggling?
Charlotte: "Just keep focusing on what’s to come and try and keep in contact with everyone. Try to focus on the facts and not the misinformation people are spreading because it’s not good for your mental health. Try and keep that in check. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. The internet is a great way to destress now. Maybe try learning a new skill or something."
Lee: "I know it’s hard and this whole situation sucks but it’s not forever. It’ll pass and one day this will all be a story that we tell our kids. Try and focus on making plans for the future for when everything is back to normal and try to have as much contact as you can with friends and family. Just because we’re all isolating doesn’t mean that you’re alone."
Thank you to both families who spared their time answering my questions and sharing their experiences. Take care everyone and stay safe.
All the best,
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