Tuesday, 8 September 2020

What has lockdown meant to you?

A little boy in the woods with his daddy and little brother

What a weird time it's been, right?

Everyone has had different experiences of this pandemic, no two truly the same. We’ve all had to go into full survival mode, doing what it takes to keep our families safe, and get through this.

Fairly often Squidge looks at me and says “Mummy, lockdown has been hard” and with his eyes shrink-wrapped in tears (thanks Fight Club for that amazing line) he waits for my response.

I used to reply with “Yes my lovely, it’s been really hard” and I scoop him up and give him lots of cuddles, because I know he’s really feeling how difficult this situation has been. We’ve really aired on the side of caution, we didn’t go on daily walks (we live on a busy main road), we didn’t go to the beach every weekend since lockdown eased, we haven’t been on a stay-cation. We’ve played it safe, because it still feels very unsafe out there and we want to protect ourselves and loved ones.

He’s had to see some of his friends have the summer of their lives, with parents who were furloughed, or able to spend all day with them, go to the beach lots, go away on lots of trips like camping, centreparks etc. We haven’t done any of that. Two weeks ago we took them to a quiet beach, as it started to fill up at lunch time we left. The holiday we did have booked, for Easter, was cancelled and re-booked for next year. And once we went to our favourite National Trust place (Dyffryn Gardens), keeping social distance and remaining outside.

It’s been 6 months of house and garden for our little ones. Both the hubby and I have worked full time through this and for the most part, with no childcare. It’s only been since we were able to form a bubble with another household that the kids were able to spend one day a week with their grandparents.

Do I feel guilty about losing such a precious summer? Of course, but I’m also glad we’ve managed to stay safe. But despite this easily being the hardest time of my life, I’ll be eternally grateful that I’ve managed to spend so much time with the kids.

Now when Squidge looks at me, ready to cry and saying the words “Mummy, lockdown has been hard”, I reply saying “Yes darling, it really has, but so many wonderful things have happened, we’ve been so lucky”. I go on to explain that we haven’t lost any loved ones to COVID-19, both me and Daddy have kept our jobs, that we have a lovely home, that they’ve had wonderful weather for the most part, that we’ve kept food on the table, they’ve had a refresh of their toys, and most importantly, that we’ve got to spend so much time together. Yes, it’s been hard, but when we look back on this time, I want us to remember how lucky we were, not how incredibly hard this has been.

And that’s not to say his feelings aren’t valid, they absolutely are. They’re acknowledged and addressed, but I think trying to shift the focus to the silver linings and not dwell on what’s been is also important. Squidge and I are very similar, we’re both empaths, we both feel emotions strongly and wear our hearts on our sleeves. Feeling like that and thinking about how hard things have been does nothing for our mental health. Through my own experiences I’ve found trying to find the silver lining really helps to keep perspective.

One thing we do every day that I really love, is at dinner we sit around the table and I start by asking Squidge what he’s grateful for today. He usually reels off a list of good things that have happened, even when we haven’t done anything, he’ll always find something. Then I ask Dot, he often says the same as Squidge, sometimes adds something. Then I ask Daddy (he’s usually thankful to me for cooking everything and the boys being good) 😊 Then it’s my turn. I love how we round off the day talking about the things we’re grateful for, it brings the day to a positive end.

However lockdown has been for you, you’ve done amazing. We’ve never been through anything like this, and hopefully won’t ever again. Big warm hugs coming you’re way if you’re still struggling, things will get better x

What are you grateful for today?
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