The Truth about Staying Home

The Truth about Staying Home

Well hello there. Yes, it’s been a long time. Yes, I know you know that I haven’t had anything better to do so I don’t have an excuse…well I’m here now aren’t I?

It’s been a long and tumultuous few months. I could bore you with going through all the highs and lows in detail but I will burden you with that another time. For now here are some highlights: crying in the middle of a muddy ditch with my toddler daughter, crying because I miss Southend Road Tesco’s, crying because I ran out of snacks, crying because I didn’t get my own way. You get the general picture. There have been some good times too. Lockdown failed to ruin my daughter’s 2nd birthday, despite being at home we haven’t gained much weight and I am not clinically insane yet. Lockdown has also given me time to discover new things- good and bad.

In this post I will run you through some of the cool and not so cool things I have discovered during lockdown. DISCLAIMER ALERT* this is a blog post written in lockdown- limit your expectations and don’t expect too much excitement.

1. The Hinch Army

In all fairness, I have known and been following Mrs Hinch and her Hinching trend and its many Facebook groups for a long time now, but lockdown really enhanced the effort I put into all of this. With more time at home unfortunately comes more time to stare at your crumby carpets and dusty skirting boards. The need to clean incessantly during lockdown hit me HARD and I have definitely saved my landlord no money at all through all my dodgy DIY home improvements. I have all the cult classics such as the Pink Stuff and Elbow Grease and more funky stuff like laminate wax crayons and grout marker pens. My daughter has also made friends with the hoovers which is a bit jarring.

2. Overseas Zumba influencers

Again, Zumba is not a new interest of mine but lockdown has turned my ‘workout’ attention to an exclusively male, Filipino dance crew who seem to have the clout of BTS and the wardrobe of every TikToker ever. I have been following their YouTube workouts religiously, dancing to all the latest Reggaeton hits only to find out the English translation and end up crying in the shower that very evening. But on a serious note, I owe any fitness I have to them. It can all be a bit cringe but their enthusiasm for dance is something I haven’t yet witnessed in this part of the globe. I’m not sure what they’d make of a heavily pregnant woman desperately trying to keep up with their clean-cut dance moves however.

3. Perfect parenting pros

So another thing I discovered in depth was the big wide world abyss that is professional parenting. Owing to my daughter’s sudden onset of explosive tantrums, I decided to take to Jo Frost’s ‘toddler rules’ series. In all fairness, I cannot fault Jo for her methods, though I found that introducing them into our life wasn’t as clinical as they make it out to be on Supernanny. For example, what to do when your daughter finds the ‘naughty spot’ hilarious and a great place to be.I also followed a handful of influencers- who seem to live in an almost Olympia like world in which immaculately clean homes and children peacefully co exist, and baby weight is a farce. The most invaluable thing I probably embarked on was a Level 4 Child Psychology course which helped me not only to understand my daughter better, but also why I went for teaching in the first place. It’s great to see some of the apparent glitz and glam that accompanies Instagram parenting, and black and white methods but understanding how a child’s brain works has really been fascinating.

4. Not going out turns you into an psycho

I’m going to apologise, because this could just be me. But for a long time the ‘Stay at home’ message hit home too hard for me and I decided to forgo going outside altogether. This inevitable decreased any risks to do with the virus, but I’m honestly not sure that it was even worth it. At one point I struggled to open the windows and anything that came into the flat had to be heavily disinfected to an inch of its life. All of this had me obsessing over accidentally touching ‘outside’ things in case the disinfectant didn’t touch any part that I was touching. All of this came crashing down at a scheduled Antenatal appointment in which I was suddenly prodded by health professionals after 2 months of no contact.

So yeah, that was me in a not-so-small nutshell. I guess I also rediscovered that pregnancy sucks and that being heavily pregnant with a toddler who loves to kick can be sometimes problematic. But another time.

A Different Sort of Mothers Day 🥀

A Different Sort of Mothers Day 🥀

So it’s almost been a full week since we’ve been in social ‘lockdown’ and we are probably all a few pounds heavier and have a few brain cells fewer for it. I’ve exhausted myself, probably everyone else in the household, with particular attention to my poor debit card.

The hardest thing so far has not been being all couped up together, but the general change of routine. Not being able to visit my own mum, and not have the freedom to do the things we usually do in the day is devastating. It’s mad to wake up everyday and think that I’m not able to set foot into even the local Tesco to get a pint of milk, and have to stay away from people at all costs. Even my own family. The worst part is, we have no idea for how long.

The cherry on the cake is that it’s Mother’s Day today. If I could just postpone it to another time maybe six months down the line where we’re not living under house arrest then all would be fine… But I have no control over national holidays, nor am I American. In 26 years, this will be the first Mother’s Day where I will not see my mum, and if I’m honest it completely sucks. For me and the hundreds and thousands of other people that don’t want to take any chances.

It would be a lie if I said that today isn’t a reminder that I feel like a failure. I know that I am obviously doing what’s best for all of us in the long run by keeping us away from normal life and the ‘outside world’, but a 2 year old doesn’t understand that. I cannot reason with a toddler, the answers aren’t simple enough for her to comprehend. She knows we’re not going out as much or making our regular trips and I can see she is clearly frustrated. The tantrums are becoming more frequent and explosive, and I can only hope that we all get used to this way of living.

I was looking forward to spending my second trimester doing lots of things with my daughter, before the exhausting bit of pregnancy took hold. I guess now I can look forward to spending all of that under one roof with the space we live in getting smaller as I progressively swell like a huge balloon. Oh well.

This whole thing is also making it pretty difficult to prepare for a new baby. I’m constantly worrying about what might happen, or if my baby will be okay. With this being my second pregnancy, naturally I have not paid as much attention to the actual pregnancy as I did with my first. That, I have learnt is an unspoken given. With this thrown into the mix, it could be easy to completely forget that we have another one on the way. That is a sad thought. The world is a scary place right now and I have so many questions. How the HELL am I supposed to prepare for a baby when it feels like I’m stuck in a recurring nightmare…

So here I am on the evening of Mother’s Day. Somehow I am exhausted, my hands look like E.T- if he was sunburnt and I am crippled with antenatal angst and anxiety. It would be a lie to say that things aren’t 50 shades of crap right now, but I’m sure that lockdown will teach us a few things and help us to appreciate our immediate family a little more. At least I hope.

Selfishness: the pandemic that’s swept the world

Selfishness: the pandemic that’s swept the world

How your reaction to Covid-19 and your shopping behaviour says something about you as a person

When the Coronavirus became talked about in the Media, I remember the first thing people were saying was, “it’s in China, don’t worry”. Whilst at that point, the disease was limited to the far East, I struggled to understand some people’s lack of compassion. For some, the numbers of cases/deaths were nothing more than statistics in the paper, totally forgetting that this was many people’s reality.

In times like these, I really believe that people’s true colours begin to reveal themselves- it is easy to see the true nature of a person in these sort of situations. I get that we all have a base survivalist instinct, but when did that morph into selfishness and a complete lack of empathy for others?

Its only the old and the sick who are worst affected

This unfortunately has become a common phrase amongst many on various social media platforms. I honestly wish that I was making this all up for dramatic effect, but sadly I have seen this ‘saying’ used complete with the cherry on the top- “only” the old… it kind of reminds me of the phrase Stalin used when he explained that ‘only’ 5 million Russians died in the war…(hint: Stalin wasn’t a great guy).

Since when have we started to reduce the MANY people with underlying health conditions and the elderly to nothing more than a casualty waiting to happen. Everyone knows at least 3 or more people with basic health conditions. I could probably name at least ten. Alot of people, good and bad have health conditions- so we just leave them to it??!! Come on guys.

Ontop of that, the most of us either still have or have had grandparents in our lives- since when were the elderly ‘destined’ to go in this way. And guess what, believe it or not all of us will some day BECOME elderly….whaaaat. sorry to drop that bomb shell on you all, but how would you feel if no one cared about your well-being just because you were ‘old’. I hate to drop another one on you, but if you don’t care about the elderly then you are a bad person.

I’m going to stockpile everything I can in the supermarket.

Yep. We all know a few and have seen some self righteous selfies glorifying their exploits. In this outbreak, doing something like that will earn you the same status as a trophy hunter, I’m afraid. If you’re going to make a fortress of toilet paper, don’t take a selfie of it. Better yet, give some of it to people around you who can’t afford to stockpile food and are perhaps less able to clash around the supermarket and carelessly take everything off the shelves.

Stockpiling is not only selfish, it incites panic, and causes more people who otherwise wouldn’t have done so to… you guessed it, stockpile. When I went to the local supermarket, everything with any sort of anti bacterial property had been ‘erased’ from the shelves as if it had never even existed. Toilet paper, Baby formula, nappies, tinned goods, cleaning products, pasta… GONE. All that was left were the boxes which were in a huge disarray on the shelf. It looked as if someone had let a bunch of rhinos go to town in a store lock-in.

What made it worse, is most of the people I saw attacking the shelves were not rhinos, at risk groups or the elderly. They were fit and healthy looking young to middle age women. If this had been allowed to happen in wartime Britain, thousands would have starved to death. Those same people who adhered to the rations system in the ’40s’ are the same people now that we have to look after. Don’t be a hoarder.

I’m ill but I’m going to go out and go about my daily business as usual

We’ve all done it. But having the sniffles is a world away from spreading your flu-like symptoms everywhere. Until now, we had forgotten that people die at that hands of flu. It is no joke. I have heard stories of people walking into their GP after having travelled to at-risk areas, people not washing their hands, people ignoring self isolation. It’s a shame to say that some of us are so eager to ‘get what we can’ that we are happy to infect anyone an everyone we come into contact with, however vulnerable. Don’t. Be. That. Person.

If you’re reading this, maybe think about how some of your actions influence others. You going to work sick could result in someone getting seriously ill. You stockpiling could lead to a new mum panicking that she can’t feed her baby because there is no formula left. Just be a decent person and think about others around you too.

Valentine’s Day: A day like every other

Valentine’s Day: A day like every other

Picture this: you are walking into a forest clearing. The weather is gorgeous and the leaves around you are a beautiful green colour. Up ahead the sun is roughly the same size as the moon shots in love island- suddenly you hear a crack. Except it’s not a crack, it’s the sound of your partner’s disgust as reality bursts into your dream.

“Arielle has peed the bed” he says with disgust. “It’s all over my back”. Great.

Not only has my dream been shattered to pieces, but I will now have to spend the next however long running after a damp toddler and after that, disinfecting half of our possessions. It’s Friday, and not only that it’s Valentine’s Day. I could be upset that was woken with a profanity rather than roses, and that the first thing I had to do that morning was clear up piss rather than prosecco (forgetting I’m pregnant)… Neither of us would exchange cards and presents until the end of the day. But did any of this bother me? Not in the slightest.

Being a parent in itself completely clashes with all the fundamentals of ‘valentines Day’. There is nothing sexy or glamorous about co-parenting. Cleaning poo off the carpet is not at all sensational. Valentine’s Day requires the very opposite: romance and grand gestures and probably clean carpets.

It could be sad to look back and think about how different your relationship was pre-children…when there was time to focus on the both of us as a couple. After the initial elation of having a tiny baby that was ours, reality set in like a bullet to the eye and times could be tough. There were arguments, dismal discussions, banal decisions and we realised that love and our relationship takes hard work like it never did before.

In the evening, we exchanged our presents and cards and ate a fabulous M&S meal that my partner bought back for us. There were no surprise engagements or last-minute long weekends, just a toddler arranging Playmobil animals on the TV stand while we ate. Would I change a thing? No.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t really be all about romance because when you really love someone, romance can sometimes be dead. It should really be about friendship above all else and binge watching your latest TV fix into the early hours of the morning (and feeling crap the next day). Sometimes it’s more about “oh crap, we’re still here together” rather than Shakespearean sonnets and the moon and stars and all that.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels