Here it is, my first blog post! And what a way to start it than with a topic that is at the forefront of our lives at the moment….lockdown!
So, I know writing about this topic poses the risk of you frantically clicking ‘close’ and getting back to scrolling through Instagram, but I really think it’s something worth talking about. I mean, we’ve just lived, or should I say are living through a global pandemic. A blummin’ global pandemic!! And being mums we’ve had a pretty tough time of it, dare I say it.
Now I’m not taking anything away from anyone else at all. It’s been a pretty tragic time for everyone and I really do feel for and empathise with anyone who has lost their livelihood, been unable to see family during tough times, or has simply struggled with the loneliness that is isolation. I can only talk from my point of view, and that is one of a mother of three children under three (or under two during the height of lockdown) trying to muster her way through the endless days, weeks and months of lockdown; all with just the company of her husband, newborn twins, a toddler, and a million bottles of wine.
I’ll keep it short(ish), because quite frankly every day has been pretty much the same (although some days I choose a gin rather than a wine). But I wanted to share a small insight into what life has been like for my family these past 7 months.
I’m writing this currently in a local lockdown in South Wales. Just as things started to feel somewhat ‘new normal’ and BOOM we’re back in lockdown! Nice.
I will always remember that day back in March, when Bozza told us we must not go out.
Tabby and Wilf were 8 weeks old and Immy was 21 months old and in nursery 3 mornings a week to give me a break from, well, just her in general really. I had only just started to get over the shock of having twins, feeding them, getting out of the house before lunchtime and making sure I showered at least once a week. I was starting to find my groove.
My previous maternity leave was amazing. Weekly baby groups, cake and coffee with mum friends, strolls in the park. You know, the kind of thing you see on the telly. This one however… a bit of a different story.
Life with a newborn can be tough enough as it is, but having a newborn in a global pandemic is another story. Now I realise I didn’t actually ‘have have’ W & T during the pandemic, they were born 8 weeks before. But I do feel that most of their life has been spent in a world with limits. I can only imagine what it was like being pregnant and having to give birth during the height of the pandemic, with family members unable to be present, and the loneliness and perhaps helplessness that must have been felt for many mothers out there.
I also really felt for the working mums, who in the blink of an eye had to work from home, with their children causing chaos in the back of conference calls. Also a massive shout out to the mums who had to home school! Honestly, I don’t know how you did it – I get frustrated trying to teach Immy to do basic things like brush her hair (not backcomb it) and to put yogurt in her mouth as opposed to up her nose… let alone following a curriculum!
Motherhood is meant to be shared. We thrive having the support of other mums, meeting up and chatting (or ranting) and sharing stories of sleep deprivation, feeding, snoring husbands and poo. Lockdown changed that, and sent us into a world where we lost all personal contact (apart from those weekly Zoom quizzes of course – anyone remember those?)
For me, I craved my family. All of my family live in England, over an hour and a half away, and although we were never going to be able to see them every day, I had imagined spending so much time with them during my maternity leave. Ross’ family are from Vancouver and were due to visit us too, but as every country went into lockdown, it wasn’t able to happen. Although we will never get that time back, we are determined to make up for it as best as we can, just as soon as we can.
In some ways lockdown benefited me, in the sense that it gave me endless time to spend with Tabby & Wilf, without the pressures of trying to get out of the house to see people. Our life was stripped of all complexity and we were able to just ‘be,’ which with twins may have been a blessing in disguise. All of the anxiety I had about certain situations was null and void, such as how would I get them all ready and out of the house in the morning? Would I manage to feed one in public if the other was hungry too and kicking off? What if Immy decided to leg it and I had to ditch the twins and the pram started rolling off….you get the jist! We manage to do those things now (just about), but having those months of isolation to get used to life as a mum of 3 did benefit me in ways that I am now thankful for.
One little lady that lockdown did affect however was our darling Immy. It’s only now I realise to what extent, and it explains some of the behaviours she has exhibited over the past few months.
So for those of you who don’t know Immy, she is such a sociable, funny, cheeky, free-spirited (to put it nicely) little love. She loves music classes, running everywhere, trips to the pub (she’s her father’s daughter), and playing with friends (or should I say playing in the vicinity of friends, ignoring them and then talking non stop about them later on whilst trying to get ready for bed). She had gone from being in nursery to being off with mummy, having two new siblings, mummy being back in hospital with sepsis, and then just as we started to get into a new routine we were told to stay in. Our little girl had gone from what was already a year of change, to being in the house all day with two new babies who just pooped, fed, and slept, and a mum who was trying desperately to meet the needs of them all, but not always hitting the mark.
Like lots of other mums I started lockdown doing arts and crafts with her, I bought her new things to keep her amused and we went on our daily walk (with tears as we walked past the chained up park). However, she soon got bored and her sparkle was fading. She craved social interactions and with every “try not to touch people” comment I could see the cogs in her head turning to the point she eventually started saying “Immy doesn’t like people.” She wasn’t happy, and that crushed me.
Thankfully lockdown didn’t last forever, and now she has that sparkle back, with extra glitter, unicorns and rainbows, and has a new found energy like a little firecracker (she never stops, literally). Yes she still has her moments where she claims she doesn’t like people (usually me when I say she can’t have ice cream for breakfast), but that’s a toddler for you! Although we are still in local lockdown, she is able to see friends, go to music class and gymnastics, and just be a kid again!
So that’s the kids, but what about me, Ross, Reggie and Rupert (we can’t forget the fur babies).
Well, Ross is self employed and had to work from home, which I’m sure he would describe as just lovely, and not the reason he came running straight to the fridge for a beer every afternoon at 3pm. All jokes aside though, it was amazing getting to spend quality time together.
I spent the days knee deep in nappies listening to Baby Shark on repeat, and the evenings scrolling through Tik Tok, when I should have been sleeping in preparation for a night of double trouble (and Immy, who am I kidding) waking up to party. Every day was spent at home (well, apart from a short stint in Cardiff Children’s Hospital for Tabby’s brain surgery, but that’s a story for another time).
Reggie and Rupert were basically living their best lives. No more can be said there! They are pretty bummed that we now leave the house without them.
So to end, I wanted to say well done mums. Well done on getting through the last 7 months of chaos. Well done for getting up every morning and living yet another groundhog day. Well done for loving your little loves so hard and yet despite all of the moments you thought you might lose it, you made it through and they are happy. We might not be out of the woods yet, but the resilience you’ve shown and the pure fact you’ve survived lockdown with a child is just awesome. Believe me, there were times that I thought I’d lost the plot.
So be proud, look back on this time and smile, because they are only little once. Although we may remember the stress of lockdown and trying to keep it all together, I truly believe that despite the hard times our children faced, they will only remember us, being with us, and the memories we made. And for them, that is everything.