Our family diary during the COVID-19 outbreak: Week 1
A look back at our week: what we've been up to, how we're feeling and reflections.
I admit, a few weeks ago I was considering wrapping my blog up. It was consuming a lot of my time on top of my business and I felt I owed that time to my family.
Now, however, I'm making a conscious decision to keep my business to a minimum level so I can be at home for the Ruggies and attempt to 'home school' Jack. I'm now grateful I kept my blog going. I think it'll be my form of escapism over the next few weeks and months.
I thought I'd use this space to capture our adjustment to everything that's happening. There's a lot of emotions, worry and angst. But I realise with two children, there's an importance to inject some normality and happiness too. I hope we'll come out the other side of this - and if we do - hopefully this diary will be able to remind me to be appreciative of the small things, more than ever before.
So, here it is: week 1...
Week 1: Monday 16 - Sunday 22 March 2020
How we're feeling
Monday 16 March started as most Mondays would with the madness of the school run. The sun was shining so we walked. We even decided to have a play in the park after school as the weather was so beautiful.
Many parents at this point were speculating about the schools closing, but we didn't realise this decision would come so soon.
Tuesday 17 March the reality of everything hit me...
After Mondays announcement advising employees to work from home, something switched in me. I woke up Tuesday morning emotional and feeling sick with anxiety. Jack was still due to go to school. But as Pete was now working from home and I was at home with Erin, I couldn't help feeling we weren't protecting Jack. I realise it was irrational thinking, but I couldn't stop myself sobbing as he got dressed for school.
In the end, I couldn't physically bring myself to take him in. Thankfully, the school were more than understanding. I've soon learnt I wasn't the only mum going into complete panic mode!
Pete and I have had many chats about the situation...
Our family's emotions, like with many I'm sure, have been up and down this week. One minute we feel like nothing has changed when the Ruggies are doing their usual bickering or having our usual breakfast time together. But as soon we read another sad message from a friend or family member, or read the news with the latest update, we're back to worry, fear and angst.
Thankfully (and I do feel extremely thankful) we're in a much better situation than many other families in the world (touching wood 100 times over as I write this!) Our parents are in their early 60's and currently healthy, our jobs seem to be ok for now, we live in a caring village with everyone looking out for each other, and we have plenty of outdoor space around us. Our biggest worry is my lovely Nan and my brother's family who are now all self-isolating. We need to protect them the most over the next few weeks.
The situation has however made Pete and I have deep and meaningful chats more than ever. We're realising what's the most important, and that's being there for each other and our family. Perhaps, it will bring us closer together than ever before.
BBC News for facts, Daily Mail ignites the anxiety...
Many of Pete's and my chats take place at night when the Ruggies are asleep. Most evenings the first thing we do is check BBC News online to get an update on the situation. I then tend to switch over to Daily Mail online and joke "now's the time to feel scared." My anxiety definitely shoots up after reading Mail Online. We then have a chat about what we've read, sometimes make a decision on steps we need to take, then both agree to put light-hearted 'trash' on TV. Anyone else feel like they can't watch anything serious at the moment? Celebs Go Dating has been taking our minds away 'from the real-world' this week!
What we've been up to...
As Jack has been at home since Tuesday we've had to make adjustments sooner. I've been juggling work by doing the 'early morning shift' from 6am to 8.30am and then logging back on at 6pm.
With two children at home I've had to really think about ways to entertain Jack and Erin, while keeping them safe and sticking to the new rules. They demand a lot of my attention. I find if I give it, they're well behaved. If I don't, they play up.
This week, we got up to:
Playing in Boxford Park
The Ruggies love Boxford Park and it's always quiet. I think we'll stay away from parks as of next week, but this week with the children still at school it meant we were the only people there. They loved running around and had a rare 'bonding moment' on the swing!
A walk in The Chase
We're so lucky to have this place on our doorstep. We've lived in our new house for six months and only stepped into The Chase once or twice. I think we'll be making the most of this great outdoor space over the coming weeks.
Playing schools, my teacher name is apparently Mrs Poo!
I didn't feel too much pressure to home school Jack this week as our emotions were running high. But, one day when it rained I suggested a game of 'let's play schools'. Jack loved this idea. He named me Mrs Poo! His name was DJ and Erin's was Nelly. Nelly, sorry I mean Erin, got bored of the activity quite quickly and found something else to play with. It was nice Jack enjoyed it, but I'm not sure how long that will last.
Making Mother's Day cards for the Nannies
A few weeks ago I'd picked up an arts and crafts pack from Tesco to make Mother's Day cards. I was quite pleased I was prepared for once as this entertained them both for about 30 minutes. I'm not very good with coming up my own arts and crafts ideas, think I'll need to get better at this sharpish!
'Treasure trail' around the house
Anyone else struggle to make dinner with the kiddies running around your feet? To get the Ruggies to give me some space I wrote a list of things for Jack and Erin to ind around the house. Jack's not a huge fan of reading, so I thought it might get him to practice without realising it too. The good news is, it worked! They ran around the house, instead of my feet, while I cooked the dinner. For once I felt I was winning!
iPad and Nintendo Wii action
My parenting skills are nowhere near perfect. I do allow Jack and Erin time on the iPad and to watch Kids YouTube. Erin loves swiping through the Kids YouTube app on my phone. Jack loves computer games. He genuinely gets enjoyment out of them. I think he's too young, but then I also think teaching them about moderation isn't a bad thing. I'm mindful and strict on what he plays and limit his time. His favourite things to play at the moment are Super Mario, CBBC games online and Red Ball on the iPad. To gain time on the games I always make him do two 'school work' tasks on Education City first. Thankfully he sticks to these rules...for now anyway.
A bit of DIY
Being in the house has made all the jobs at home jump out at me. I've wanted to decorate the play room for a while. I'm still yet to decide what I want to do, but there were a few 'slogan' pictures lying around from our last house that I thought might make a nice start. This wall is nowhere near finished, but it's a start...
Taking a walk up to Donnington Castle
The sun finally came out on Friday so I took the Ruggies to Donnington Castle. The last time we went Jack was a baby. It was lovely to see Jack enjoying learning about the castle and for us all to get some fresh air. Think we'll be discovering more of the outside spaces on our doorstep over the next few months!
Resources I've used that have worked for us
This past week businesses have really ramped up their resources to get us all through staying at home. I wrote a post about businesses in West Berkshire who have things going on to help us. I'm adding to this all the time, so do check it out.
Friends will know I'm not hugely technical. I can use technology, but I'm nowhere near an early adopter - I'm normally a very late adopter! I just don't like change, and if something's working for me I stick with it no matter how dated it is.
There have however been a couple of things this week that I've enjoyed using. I thought I'd share:
House Party App
I have to thank a very cool friend for this one. "We should have a wine in the house party app" she said. "Say what?" I thought. Anyway, she made it easy for me and sent me the link. I clicked and before I knew it I'd downloaded it. We "waved" to each other and then boom we were chatting on the sofa on Saturday night. It was so nice to see her face and talk. I'll definitely be doing more of this.
Children's books on my Kindle
Now this is NOWHERE near new, but I've never allowed Jack to use my Kindle. I love reading and without fail I read every single night. I tend to switch from a novel to a book about running a business. I'd be totally lost without my Kindle. Jack finished his school reading book this week and I was panicking about where we'd get more. I searched on my Kindle and downloaded the 100 Fun Stories for 4-8 Year Olds. I'm not totally convinced about all the stories, but I'm sure we'll be downloading many more for him over the next few weeks.
Finally, Happy Mother's Day!
Our week has ended with Mother's Day. A very different day today for many. I had planned to take my mum out for dinner but we've cancelled that. Instead I called her on Face Time this morning and got some flowers delivered to her door. I miss my mum a lot, but am so lucky she's just around the corner and can post things through her letter box.
Home schooling fills me with dread...
Next week will be the first week of me home schooling Jack. Honestly, this feels me with dread. I was quite relaxed about it at first, but then as more of us mums talk about it, I realise there's some pressure to keep our children's education up. I'm just thankful I can make my work fit around the children and down tools to focus on them during this time. Wish me luck!
Stay safe everyone.
Much love, Abbie x