It is Day 4 of lockdown. Day 8 since we took the kids off school because of a cough. About 2 -3 weeks since I started looking at the news an unhealthy amount, mainlined sugar again and gave up all my vague lent practices.
We’ve been in a strange new world for about a week, a world that has got smaller and smaller each day. A slow squeeze into the immediate world in front of our eyes. Gradually each day the restrictions on our lives have progressed, the today of a few days ago was different to now. We are learning new normals and it’s a rocky process trying to figure that all out.
Tonight though I sit on a sofa in our spare room and discover that the weather howling in my brain has calmed down a little. I find that the writer at the back of my mind has woken up and is tentatively offering her services to start to try and process thoughts.
So here we are.
We have two boys adjusting to full time life at home. They have told me it is not the same as school holiday’s because we aren’t going to different fun places each day. They’ve said school is better than this, but maybe homeschooling like the cousins with actual groups and seeing people would be a good idea.
We have slowly formed a very loose routine, fun exercise in the morning (sorry Joe Wicks you do not have fans in our house, we prefer super movers) followed by a bit of the work sent in from their school when they are at their most alert. Then we slowly move to baking, garden fun, ‘educational’ screen time (online maths games etc), drawing, colouring or playing. Then lunch followed by quiet time (genius idea of my sister in law) where they listen to audio books or read in rooms on their own and I mumble to God and then fall asleep for a bit. Then we are out for our walk of the day, up to the woods near our house where we do some den building, forest bathing (they manage about 20seconds of quiet staring before fighting again) and reading out loud on picnic blankets, after which we go home for more playing, power rangers and dinner. It takes effort to get them outside lots of the time but bribery and corruption seem to be working for now.
My routine revolves around their own but differs slightly, I get my exercise time and alone time first thing around 7. I also get some focused work done a couple of mornings in the shed whilst husbandface helps with their morning ‘school’ and play before lunch. I also work a bit around their screen times, checking in with people in and around the flow of the day. My course is still carrying on in a new way on a Tuesday evening over zoom and our church small group meets on a Wednesday, again on zoom. The rest of the evenings we talk to friends online or mainly just watch Friday Night Lights. I’m kind of confused that I’ve watch a season and a half of this drama about a small town American High School Football team and I still have NO idea what American football is all about.
Weekends we chuck most of this routine out of the window and I’m hoping we’ll do a big walk on Saturday mornings, Sunday morning is church online and then films/play/gardening in the afternoons.
The boys have mainly (I say very tentatively, hoping it won’t all change tomorrow) transitioned into this now after a fairly turbulent week of adjusting. They still fight, still have big emotions but are slightly less explosive than earlier in the week. I’m still a shouty mess some of the time but have also settled down a bit. I’m reading the news a whole lot less and morning exercise is helping my brain. I want to get into a reading groove again and then most of my self care strategies will be back in place.
It’s taken time to even feel like settling into this could be possible. I’ve been in various states of numbness, overwhelm, tears, exhaustion and anxiety. I’ve compared myself too much to other people’s lovely routines and amazing school work and how easy they have made it all look, whilst also holding down jobs and being incredibly intentional in their communities. I’ve felt like I’m barely surviving, barely hanging on, being battered by the waves of emotion which knock me down again just after I’ve got back on my feet. Yet somehow the waves are growing calmer and I’m starting to ease into our new normal.
(I would talk about husbandface’s routine but it hasn’t really changed much. He has to tag out a couple of mornings a week to do fun with the boys whilst I work but he’s still working from his shed, still doing cool stuff online, still a bit ill. He’s been prepping for this for the last few months of home working and is frankly finding all this desire for more online connection a bit tiring. He likes his quiet shed…)
I find it fairly ironic that my word of the year was ‘Here’, that I wanted to live more in the present each day. This new world of global lockdown certainly has dragged me kicking and screaming into the present of life. I can’t live in my plans for the future anymore. All holidays are off for the foreseeable future. I am faced with this today being enough. Obviously I can still be taken away from the present of my boys and husband by the online world but I want to try and find the new normal in online noise. I want to find better spaces to check my phone and actively engage with others, in ways that are helpful and that fuel connection. One step at a time eh.
So, here I am.
Wrapping my head around this new normal. Wondering what good this will bring. Hoping against hope.
For me writing and processing are the start of accepting this world. I’m glad the writer lady is back and I’m looking forward to what she might produce in these coming days and weeks.