Well, it had to happen at some point, and some of you who follow me on Instagram will be glad to have seen it: I crashed. I went from smug ‘yeahhh I can do everrrrythang!’ mum to ‘ugh, fuck this’ in less than a fortnight. And, yeah. This shit is hard. So instead of calling this blog ‘the shit keeping me (almost) sane’ like last week‘s, let’s go with the ‘shit that beat me down’ and then ‘the shit that got me back up’. Catchy, huh?
The lull I fell into across this fortnight was spurred by the niggling feeling that everyone else was actually achieving things on lockdown (and I’d managed to hoover, oh, ONCE in a fortnight), and that I was failing at the things I did try (because I had a toddler completely uninterested in an easter egg hunt, couldn’t get the ingredients to make a roast dinner and was continuing to run seriously behind in delivering work to my freelance clients).
Thankfully, for me, this was only temporary, but still, it was shit to navigate. I’m sure it’ll happen again, but I feel like I know how to pick myself up when I need to.
If you feel like you need to chat to someone who knows what they’re talking about with mental health, please consider talking to MIND, the Samaritans, CALM, or your local GP (they won’t make you go in to the surgery anyway, so if it’s been something you’ve been putting off because of face-to-face embarrassment, now is the time!).
So, I went out…
I ventured to the supermarket during week two of lockdown because we forgot to buy nappies on the usual shop. So off I trotted with my little rubber gloves on to Morrisons safe in the knowledge that I was shopping for ‘essentials’ (the ULTIMATE essential as far as I’m concerned) and… ugh. I can deal with the whole queuing-outside-2m-apart thing. I can deal with the whole occasional-person-wearing-a-gas-mask strutting past. Apparently, the thing I can’t deal with is the constant quiet broken only by government-sanctioned announcements on social distancing. I freaked.
Got myself home (with the nappies, I’m happy to report), and had a little cry, and gave my son a big cuddle once I’d disinfected myself from head-to-toe. It’s not a trip I’ll be looking to make again anytime soon.
…and I ditched the plans.
In week one of lockdown I made sure I filled out a day planner every weekday. In week two and three, I decided I didn’t need to do that any more, because I’d still get shit done, and I should be taking it easy on myself, shedding the pressures to seek constant achievement through a difficult period. For me? WRONG. This made me worse.
I’m definitely someone that has to have a lot of plans and lists to achieve anything on them at all, and as soon as I stopped writing out what I was gonna do that day (with myself, my toddler, my work and my house), I stopped doing any of it. I’ve run out of print-outs now, but I’m still writing myself lists to get shit done. Without them, I forget everything and there’s no serotonin boost for me when I tick something off.
Then ordered in supplies.
The weather wasn’t the best, with lots of cloudy days and even a few rainy ones. Without being able to venture into the garden as much, I needed to find new indoor activities, FAST. I ordered in some Hobbycraft ‘paint your own’ sets and some giant chalk. The former we used to make up presents to post to people for the all the birthdays and occasions we were missing during lockdown, and the latter, to decorate the garden fence and patio when we could get out. Both were a godsend and have (and are continuing to) provide hours of entertainment. Never have I been so grateful to see a courier arrive at the front door than I have the guy delivering the Hobbycraft parcel. Apart from maybe the one delivering beer.
I’ve seen a lot of chalk pictures drawn on pavements by children recently, so maybe once I’m over my phobia of silence other than 1984-esque announcements, I’ll take the toddler out the front door rather than just the back!
Oh, and we kept loo roll tubes. Exciting, huh? I’d seen a much more complicated version of bog roll tunnels for balls etc to run down on the internet, but I just sellotaped the tubes to the radiator/door/windowsill and we experimented with shape sorting and driving cars through them. Happiness. (I sent a video of us playing with these to our nursery as a learning game… hopefully they see the desperate measures ventured to and immediately send us a full time childcare worker.)
I ran, a lot.
I’ve written before about taking up running post-partum, and fuuuuuck am I grateful for it now. I’m only leaving the house to run (let’s be friends on Strava?) and exploring new places and paces as I do it.
In week #3 of lockdown, I learnt that my London Marathon deferral had been cancelled, so unlike most other runners, I’ll be running it six months EARLIER than I’d intended to. Time to run more, I guess…
I kept as much adult company as I could.
I had my first Zoom pub date this week and looooved it. Full of the faux ‘YAAASSS I’M SO POPULAR’ spirit I gained in week #1 of lockdown, I made sure to still speak to anyone who wasn’t a toddler as much as I could.
We watched Tiger King finally, which at least gave me something to discuss with those over the age of 7, and worked through a couple of series of Sex Education. Is it wrong I wanna be Jean Milburn? Anyway…
Keeping me going the last fortnight has included lots of chats on Instagram, downloading TikTok (ok, ok, I know I’m too old for it but WHATEVER, I’ll delete it later), playing more Bongo’s Bingo via Twitch and visiting Brewdog’s Open Arms, their online bar. I’ve worked more evenings than I’ve managed to interact actively with others, but I’m really valuing the time I do get to actually talk to other adults.
So… yeah. Lockdown with a toddler is fucking difficult. Thankfully I realised when my mood and momentum was slipping and managed to take stock and bring myself back up to speed when I needed to. I’m gonna keep at it (because duh, there’s no choice) and keep writing as I go. Who knows what novel entertainment or kid’s activity I might find next? Stay tuned. If it involves very little expenditure and a tired toddler after a few hours, I’m there…