Less grumpy, more knackered

Lockdown 3.0, or Lockdown 2.0 as some people (who can’t do simple maths, let’s hope they aren’t home schooling) think.

Our last piece on here was in the summer of 2019. When life was so much simpler. Naturally, we had no idea how simple it was. Oh, such fools. We thought it was quite tricky and, if we could somehow just slow down, we’d be able to parent with more clarity and shiny brilliance.

Well, as the kids’ Tik Tok memes/jokes/whatever say, THAT ESCALATED.

Here we are, in January 2021. Life is slower. So much slower. It’s pretty much stopped really, hasn’t it? Like a permanent glitch on the Wi-Fi. Same day, same nothing, every day. Feed them. Clean the house. Work. Repeat. Less, Eat Sleep Rave Repeat, more eat, drink, sigh, feed the kids, sigh, eat, sleep, sleep, what day is it? We really did learn how to slow down. But not in any kind of braking order. We didn’t have time to ease down through the gears, reach neutral with a calm flick of the gear stick and a turn up of the radio. We slowed down, like taking a hammer in the face. Or a brick wall at 100mph. Pick your metaphor.

You’d think we’d be more prepared this time.

You’d think we’d be more prepared this time. We all saw it coming. And we’ve all been here before. I’m not sure why it’s so hard. Is it because it’s winter and it’s dark ALL THE TIME? Or is it just that we’re drained by a full year of this? And no, I know it’s not the war. Five full years of it. We’re just one week into this third Covid war, and I’m knackered already. It didn’t seem quite this bad last time. The famed Blitz spirit reigned and we were all in it together. Or we thought we were.

For those of us who weren’t (and still aren’t) doing anything helpful for society, it was quite nice for a couple of weeks there, last March, wasn’t it? When we thought we’d get those two weeks off from parenting. When we could get back on top of the washing, finally clean the bathroom – properly (with actual rubber gloves and Nana’s baking soda mix, rather than an anti-bac wipe and a slug of beach down the loo). And so we did. We baked, we cleaned the bathroom, we made home-made soup with veg from the local farm (not because we’re super-fancy, but because we couldn’t get a time in any of the country’s supermarket delivery slots. Even Waitrose. That’s right.

Of course, being the over-achiever that I am, I had to go one further. We built an allotment spot in the garden. I planted veg and flowers all over the place. I did a daily Gardner-ish World Facebook Live. We rolled the lounge carpet back, moved the sofa and started daily family workouts together, well before Joe Wicks even thought about being a PE hero. It was fun and it was funny – honest. And the neighbours bonded over the garden fences and it was all just so very British and The Good Life. Anyway, that was short lived, as my mum died suddenly in the middle of lockdown and everything went to shit. And I had planted too much of everything and half of it didn’t grow. I lost interest. The kids got bored. And that was the end of that. Plus then we had to go out and Eat out to Help Out and the kids had get back to school and all that stuff.

But here we are again. And this time, what have we learned? Well, I’m far less grumpy. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’m not really grumpy at all anymore. I’m just knackered. And a bit lonely. And no, three kids and a husband is not all a woman needs. She needs her friends and coffee and the odd curry or garden drinks. That’s what we’ve learned, isn’t it? That, actually, we don’t need very much at all. All the things that we thought mattered just don’t. Things we’ve given up on:

  • Fancy holidays to far off places. We’ll just stay in the UK thanks; it’s nice here.
  • Kids bedtimes. They aren’t going anywhere, who cares?
  • Kids getting dressed. Well, changed out of their PJs. Just no need.
  • The kids washing, brushing their hair, etc. Nope. Don’t need an argument about any of that crap!
  • Devices. They have to be logged on at 8.50am for school. Scuppered there.
  • Devices. They have their music lessons on them. Scuppered again.
  • Devices. They all play together nicely in the same computer game? What?
  • Devices. The only way they can talk to their friends. Or Snap them. Or something.
  • Snapchat. Stupid weird messaging that makes no sense. We have a family channel now…

I’ve learned that I’m the one that needs her devices confiscated and I need a decent bedtime. I need to get up and get dressed and wait, no. No I don’t. I don’t need to do anything or be anything other than present and breathing. (I’m taking work out of this equation, otherwise it ruins the flow of my point, which is annoying).

So, I haven’t achieved anything in lockdown. Didn’t learn a new language, didn’t write a book. Didn’t become vegan or give up alcohol. ARE YOU INSANE? And I didn’t manage a single pull-up. But what did I do? I realised what I love and what I need to be happy. I realised that life is going to be so much easier when this is all over. Because all I want is to sit in my back garden, with friends and family, drink wine, laugh and eat nice food. That is all. And that has made me so much less grumpy.

Still knackered though.

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