Caroline P's blog: Lockdown life

I started lockdown feeling really enthusiastic. I saw it as a challenge, and an opportunity. I would get my work done around the kids’ needs; I’d be invested in their home schooling, and responsible for their physical fitness while maintaining a nurturing home. I would reset – losing the commute and the chauffeuring back and forth to tennis and gymnastics and the myriad of other activities, and I’d make pizza dough and homemade pretzels at the weekends. Smug much?!

A few months in, the enthusiasm well and truly waned. Home schooling became a box ticking exercise (Have you done maths? Have you done Geography?). I was tired of the 5am alarm, tired of negotiating with my husband for the home office and the uninterrupted work time it allowed, and bored brainless of the endless cooking and dishwasher emptying. I don’t remember the last time I had felt this way and can only compare it to is those early days of parenting – going so abruptly from a busy working life to a routine cycle of broken sleep, laundry (sooo much laundry), walking laps of the park and spending more time at home than I had ever done before.  This time, it’s overlaid with generalised anxiety and a sense of guilt for ignoring the children for hours at a stretch, and for being ungrateful when we have been some of the lucky ones throughout this pandemic.

So when things started to open up and normalise, I thought I’d be cock-a-hoop. First was the gym, with its relocated outdoor spin bikes and yoga on the terrace. Second were the shops and then the restaurants. I’d been desperate for all of these things, but I found myself feeling more, rather than less, anxious as I tried to test the waters of a more normal life. Despite everything I talk about above, I like having my family around me and I like that we have got to know each other on a level that would never have otherwise been possible. I don’t want it to end, but I do want it to end. Simple!

But I realise that this is lockdown life, where emotions are confusing and magnified – the stress, the anxiety, the boredom, the guilt – but also the joy. I was listening to a Louis Theroux podcast the other day, and he describes living through this pandemic as a type of privilege. And I get that, we are all going through something no-one has ever been through before and everything is unprecedented. Even these feelings.

Caroline works in communications for an investment manager and lives in London with her husband, 11 year old daughter, 7 year old son and - until COVID-19 - an au pair who kept the wheels of the house turning.

Category: A Citymother's Diary

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