Surviving Lockdown Life as a Mum of Two

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Checking in on my two children tonight as they both sleep soundly in their beds, weirdly and suddenly brought home how difficult it’ll be sending them back to the childminder when the time comes.

As a full time working mum I’ve missed out on a lot of the day-to-day stuff but that was just our normal up until COVID.

Billy went off at 4 months into daily childcare, and Maddie has been there since 7 months old. It’s just how things have had to be to get the mortgage paid to afford our family, and I can’t regret it, as that’s how we’ve had to make things work. I’ve always chosen to see childcare as an opportunity for our children to experience lots of different things, in a variety of settings with different adults and kids at a young age. I’m sure that’s why Maddie is now a very confident little girl.

It’s now really hit home how much I’m missing out, and now I know different, I think it’s going to be slightly emotional to say the least, when we get back to our normal roles, and our normal lives.

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There we were, plodding on with our family routine, when on Sunday, 15th March at about 11pm, Billy starting coughing in his sleep. We both lay in bed thinking ‘OH SHIT!’ having just received an email from our childminder hours earlier instructing any children with a new cough or temperature to stay home and self isolate for seven days. With Maddie in the house too, that meant 14 days home for her.

Our lockdown started a week or so earlier than the rest of the nation.

Don’t get me wrong - working full time hours around two little ones for the past three months has been preeeetty hectic, especially at the beginning while we adjusted to the situation. Coincidentally, Maddie also decided it was high time she dropped her 2.5 hour afternoon nap about a week in to the proceedings. Yep. Fabulous timing!

Getting into the swing of things

Probably like everybody in the same boat, there have been some monumentally shit days. You know the sort, deadlines at work, a teething baby AND a tantrumming toddler at the same time. Falling out with your husband over it all and feeling like the entire world is against you – just for a little bit, anyway. I think we’re all allowed a bad day, but hey, they pass, just like the good ones do too…

So yes, there have been some really frustrating days, but by about four weeks in, we’d all gotten into a rhythm that worked for us. Up early, split shifts taken in turns, I think we’ve managed really well to get our full time hours in around the clock and spend quality time with the kids, so they haven’t taken a back seat. It’s been fast paced, with no downtime, but once you get in the swing of it, you just keep going.

Being able to spend so much extra time with them rather than waving them off Monday to Fridays, seeing how much they’ve grown and developed over such a relatively short space of time - well, it’s been incredible.

I won the lottery in some ways – we were given some time back, and time is the most precious thing you can have.

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The gift of time

Billy was turning eleven months when our lockdown began, and the changes in him physically and mentally since the beginning of all of this have been huge. He’s now thirteen and a half months. He’s not walking yet, but in the past three months, he has grown from a baby into a mischievous little boy.

Maddie is a brilliant big sister (most of the time!) and in the past three months her vocabulary has rocketed – some of the things she comes out with have me belly laughing on a daily basis!

She can ride her balance bike like nobody’s business, says herself that she’s a ‘really good dancer’ and also that she’s ‘really good at running’ – which she is - like shit off a shovel to be honest!

I’ve taught her how to draw smiley faces; we’ve tried to improve on her counting “one-two-six-seven-eight-nine-ten-eleven –twelve-thirteen-fourteen-fifteen-sixteen…” (never too sure what happens to three, four and five) and she’s now a ‘big girl’ proudly sleeping in her newly acquired 3ft single bed.

So. Many. Changes.

And when this is all over and we go back to the old normal, I’m really going to miss having them around all the time. I’m going to miss that part of the new normal. I wonder how we’ll all get on?

Sending them off in the morning, waving goodbye, and turning back home to start work… What will I be missing out on then? Will I see our boy take his first steps?

I’m wondering whether Billy will even remember our childminder, so I’m anticipating that we’ll be starting from scratch in terms of shipping him off out of the house. He’s a sensitive chap, so how he’ll get on without us I’m not sure. Maddie will be with him though, at least until September when she’s due to start nursery (all being well!).

Life is passing by at breakneck speed but lockdown for us has given us the gift of time. I know I say it a lot, but it’s another reminder how lucky we are to be here living a life with these two in it. That is then positive I shall be taking away from all of this.

Ellie Thompson

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