Donegal mum Maria Rushe looks at the surprising positives she will take from her family's lockdown experience.
We’re all so looking forward to the lockdown being over and to returning to “normal”… but I’ve been wondering how much of this we will eventually miss.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a LOT about this current situation that deserves our frustration and hatred.
The sudden crash of everything, the sudden and immediate changes that none of us were prepared for, the emotional rollercoasters that we’ve been on since March 12th.
We’ve all had our worlds turned upside down. And for those of us who are parents, alongside trying to deal with our own grief and fear, we’ve had the added challenge of trying to provide security and stability to our kids.
And trying to keep one’s sh*t together so that our kids had to deal with minimal upheaval has been hard.
There is much to despise about Lockdown; not seeing family, not hugging, being limited to our homes and minimal journeys, the gauntlet that is the foodshop, the stresses of trying to save businesses, the “joys” of homeschooling our kids… all of these things have had us reeling. I know they’ve left me reeling anyway.
And for many of us, we’ve been trying to keep working while parenting. It’s been, erm, interesting to say the least.
And of course, MANY MANY MANY of you have continued going out to work on the frontline and in essential services, putting yourselves at daily risk to try to keep some normality going. (You are all heroes.)
We’re all at the point where the novelty has well and truly worn off.
We’re all at the point where we’re done with this situation, and yet we are a long way from returning to the “normality” that we all crave so much.
We are all different, with different realities and different “normals” and we all have our own struggles and triumphs right now. As with all things parenting, we can not compare our homes to other, nor should we. Some of us are LOVING this. Some of us are hiding at least once a day in the utility room or bathroom.
We might be all in the same storm, but each and everyone of us has our own boat, and those boats differ greatly. We shouldn’t judge each other’s boats.
Dare I say, there have been positives that maybe we have yet to appreciate.
For me, the biggest change has been slowing down.
I’ve gone from having a schedule which literally had something every hour of every day, for myself and the girls, to slowly realising that much of my running and “Busyness” was unnecessary.
I’ve realised that being Busy all the time is not conducive to being happy.
I’m enjoying spending time with my girls… and yet it’s still PERFECTLY acceptable to admit that some days I just want to scream and hide. You can be a good parent while admitting to needing a break. It’s not a sign of weakness, but that’s a WHOLE other article.
I love that the girls are getting this HUGE chunk of time with Myself and Daddy in the house with them.
I love that we’re getting to spend this chunk of their childhoods with them, with no interruptions or “other” stuff to do. We’ll never get this back.
I’m loving spending time with Himself. We’ve been together a LONG time, and yet I don’t think we’ve EVER spent more than a week or two in each other’s constant company. Certainly not at home. That joy is usually only achieved when we’re on or family holiday. (And yes, it has been an adjustment and a challenge for both of us!)
I’m struggling with plenty, but as we step into phase one of our reawakening, I find myself taking note.
Because some day soon, I’ll crave the nothingness, if only just for a day.
Some day soon, I’ll wish I was back at home watching the girls playing with the dog.
Some day soon, I’ll wish I had nothing to do or nowhere to go.
Someday soon, I’ll find myself missing Himself, because we’ll be back to our usual Sunday night joke of “See you Friday Baby!”…
Now, for fear of sounding romantic and idealistic, I’ll NEVER miss the zoom meetings, or teaching from home, or constant worry that has coated every day of my life since March 18th.
I’ll NEVER miss trying to work and train and teach and parent and feed and comfort and exist all under one roof, in a constant whirlwind of our new normal.
I long to get back to my jobjob, to get my girls back to the joy of their school and seeing their friends, to get back to having a hot cuppa in the staffroom with a friend, or sneaking a coffee date with someone in before doing the school run, to get the door of our gym open again, to wander around Dunnes at my leisure without fear or anxiety.
I long to hug my family, to see my brother and his family who are so near but yet so far right now, to visit my friends, to get back to rehearsals, to go for dinner, to go to the theatre, or the cinema, or just for a quick bite to eat.
I long to book a flight to see a sibling, or book a hotel for a night away, to visit a park, to drive to Glenveagh, to climb Errigal, to walk on a beach, to see outside out my own 5k.
And yet, I’ve never been so grateful for my own 5K…
This weekend, I took the girls down one of our fields on our family farm, and we had a picnic in the grass. It was where my siblings and I played daily as kids. It’s right on our doorstep and yet I do wonder if I EVER would have “had time” to take them down the field for a picnic in normal life.
Last week, we spent two hours on the shore near our house, again in a spot that I haven’t visited since I was a child. We’ve driven past it to go ANYWHERE for years. I don’t think we’d have ever visited under normal circumstances.
Himself has finally had time to walk the route that I’ve been walking my whole life. He never understood why I loved it until he learned to love it himself. He never would have walked these roads under normal circumstances. He never would have had time.
And so while I am very aware that lockdown is going nowhere for the foreseeable, with the glimmer of hope that is upon us tonight in the final night before Phase 1, we can begin to look forward.
But in looking forward, I think that many of us will begin to look back at this time too.
We’ll take certain parts of this experience with us as we walk towards our individual realities, and for me at least, I’ll be bringing a few new priorities into mine.
And while I won’t miss this one little bit, and I’ll embrace as much of my old life as I can, I’ll also look back and be glad of the time that I got with my wee team. (even if some of that was spent hiding in the utility room.)
(Remind me of this when I’m back fitting 38 hours into 24 and complaining about the things I’m currently missing! Because we’ll al do it!)