This is about our 5th week of lockdown here in the UK, I’m losing track of the weeks! I’m sure you’re all feeling the same, in that lockdown has been a bit of a journey both individually and as a whole family. The first week was pretty emotional settling into home school and adjusting to our new normal. As the weeks have gone by, we’re discovering more about each of us; both the good and the bad, how resilient the children are and also how we as a family can make the most of a situation. I decided to write this post to document the things that we have learnt during lockdown, so we can look back and remember this historic time.
We have become more resourceful and inventive in many ways at home. We use up everything we can in the kitchen, as we have all learnt that food can’t be taken for granted. From saving leftovers for another meal to whizzing up stale bread for breadcrumbs we want to make use of all our ingredients. The kids have even become less fussy as a result of having to make do some days when shopping is low. We now have our eldest making bread and our younger children making biscuits as they have soon learnt that we cannot be going out to the shops just to fill up the biscuit barrel!
What used to be chucked into the recycling box has been turned into craft projects or a container to grow garden seeds in.
We now have a yoghurt maker and all of us have made one or two kilo pots of yoghurt so far. It’s great for reducing single use plastic and also another reason not to have to always rely on a supermarket.
Batch cooking and filling the freezer full as become the new normal in our kitchen.
We have looked at hand me downs in a new light. I have to admit that I often used to buy new and then look at what I had put by in the cupboards. This season I was so grateful to have so many lovely hand me downs to fill my younger ones drawers for summer. Flo loves the fact she has her brother and sister’s old clothes to wear.
We have all realised just how little we need to wear in our wardrobes and will find it easier making do with less going forward.
White vinegar has been used to tame the weeds on the patio as we no longer had weed killer to hand. A switch we will be moving towards as there are no harsh chemicals used.
Our children have learnt that music lessons and school work can be done online and still be fun and inspiring. We have even attended a Zoom concert!
From the shed to locking the toilet door to hiding on my bed to hiding on the sofa under a blanket. We have all learnt to be inventive in finding places to escape to!
We have each been on our own separate lockdown journey as well as a family journey. There have been days with a range of emotions to navigate and consider. Each of us have dealt with the emotions of it all so differently.
We have learnt even more about the characters and personalties of our children. We lead such busy lives normally and with long school hours we don’t always have the luxury of time to get to know everything about them. We now have more of an understanding on their likes and dislikes, sibling relationships, how they play, how they learn, their resilience and also how they deal with and process their emotions. I really never had considered that I didn’t completely know my children until now.
They have become the focal point of our day. We come together and talk and eat for so much longer than we used to. We all chat about our day, the current situation what we would like to do in the future and just silly stuff. I have also encouraged them to enjoy their food at a slower pace.
The children have all taken turns to cook meals. This is something we never made time to do much of before. I’m feeling more confident that they could fend for themselves a little if needed to!
I’m appreciating my husband who is still out working as a key worker and coming home and getting stuck into gardening and projects in the house as well as parenting more after I have had a tough day. Especially where I feel like I’m losing my mind! He says he appreciates the time and effort I’ve made into homeschooling the kids so well, as he’s not sure how I fit it all in!
We can now fully appreciate what our family and friends are to us. When it comes to seeing each other face to face we will really know how much some of us mean to each other.
Our eldest two have learnt that they can be together and get along. They initially bonded over an online game which then translated to them chatting and playing in the garden more. They are learning that they do need each other.
I think the whole house has learnt that once or twice a month (ovulation time as well) it’s wise to give me a wide berth! We have also realised that our tween and teenager are a little more hormonal than we realised!
The kids and us have read and seen so many good news stories come out of these sad times. We have been inspired and now share so much more with the children.
Whether it is discussing facts about countries, tales of our own childhood or current affairs we are all talking so much more.
I have managed to work out how to incorporate more choice words under my breath but occasionally let slip, especially during home school sessions!
I think we have all cried at something or other over lockdown. I have found myself crying even more than I usually do.
I’m usually quite lucky with my own mental health. During lockdown I have been through such a range of emotions. I started off quite angry, tired, sad and anxious. I then moved to a stage of acceptance where I focused on our own little bubble and how to survive. I now feel like I’m growing again and I’m finding new ways to incorporate some minutes of calm into my day and be a little selfish after a day of being selfless.
We have realised the importance of slowing down and appreciating the little things. Yes there have been days where the time has gone a little too slowly but on the whole I have been saying for years that there is not enough hours in the day and here I have my wish!
We have been blessed with time. The time to appreciate each other, get more done, learn things that we have been wanting to do for while but never found the time. I’m hopeful that we will spend more time in the future just enjoying what we already have rather than rushing around spending money and time on days out and material things.
We are noticing more about nature and wildlife. Spring is the most welcome it has ever been this year. We get excited over a fruit and veg box being delivered, milk on the doorstep, lambs in the field behind us, bumble bees on the blossom trees, seeing beautifully decorated windows in the neighbourhood or a freshly decorated stone placed by someone to make you smile. I really hope that we can continue to notice these things post lockdown.
I have had my patience tested so many times (and yes I have lost it regularly) but there have been plenty of times that I have stopped and waited. Waited for my preschooler to put her own shoes on rather than me rush her out the door. Stood by and let my kids make their own meals, measure, bake and cook. Sat on the floor and sorted washing out with my little ones rather than run around when they’re in bed doing it.
We have also appreciated our grown-up time together. We have had some early bedtimes after the long days and then been able to sit down and have some quiet adult time to ourselves. The peace is always welcome after 9pm in our house to watch a good Netflix series, scroll, read or have a bath. It is all so much more deserved after another day during lockdown!
We have learnt during lockdown, just like we did in our own childhood, that being bored is ok. That’s the time we create and look to do different things. Our kids have had screen free time where they find some new or old games they can play or pick up books that they wouldn’t have normally read. It has allowed me on occasion to just stop and let them play in the garden and I have just sat down, zoned out and not moved for a few minutes!
I haven’t had time yet for this myself as our four kids have kept me busy. Although technically I have remembered or learnt new things during their homeschool lessons. My kids however have learnt lots of new skills. Like I said our eldest son now makes bread and can make a meal or two. Our eldest daughter bakes batches of treats, knows how to hang up washing and has also learnt that sometimes my craft ideas can be more fun than she realises! The little ones have learnt how to muck in and make their beds and help with chores in-between playtime, go on long cycle rides, know more about nature and earn new Beaver badges.
Myself and Dougie have really put more effort into making the garden look nicer instead of focusing our free time into days out. We’re using packets of seeds to grow our own food. For the past few years we have played at growing a few tomatoes and strawberries but now we’re really making an effort to grow more. I’m enjoying seeing our windowsills filled with plants and enjoying spending time watering the plants and chatting about them with the kids. Dougie has been busy tidying up lots of areas of the garden and making a mud kitchen and a pond. I’m really pleased yet surprised to see how much he’s enjoying doing things in the garden as it’s usually just me that enjoys gardening.
So many businesses have adapted to sell locally and deliver to us. We have made use of a few local suppliers and are really enjoying fruit/salad and veg boxes, having a milkman and farm shop meats.
We have found new walks and cycle routes, have enjoyed watching the lambs grow and know where to find small patches of bluebells. We know where to see the best blossom trees in the neighbourhood and where you can spot fish in the local river.
In a good way I have learnt to lower my standards. I don’t fuss about the kids outfits being perfect. They are happy running around in fancy dress, swimming costumes over shorts, bare feet and messy hair.
My home doesn’t have to be fit for unexpected visitors who may just pop in. I have learnt that doing the bare minimum of housework and tidying up really is adequate. I now have lots of helpers and I don’t need to seek cleaning perfection and re-do what they’ve done. I’ll definitely carry on cleaning less going forward as the house is a home not a showroom!
I don’t need to put make up on everyday. I have worn make up once in the past month and haven’t scared anyone (I hope!).
The kids schoolwork doesn’t have to be too rigid. We have had a great opportunity to allow our children to learn life skills and creative skills inbetween academic learning.
We live in such distracting times. I have learnt how to manage and juggle all of the children at home whilst sourcing food and household items, cooking, cleaning, blogging, social media scrolling and time for me and my partner all in 14 ish hours of the day and sometimes whilst being sleep deprived. Our lives pre-lockdown was all about routine and so I thought that we would all enjoy not having too much routine. Well I was wrong, we all still enjoy having a routine in lockdown as well. It might not be that rigid everyday, especially over Easter, but at the very least completing Joe Wicks PE lessons in the mornings has sometimes been enough to just kick start our day. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we now know how to schedule more downtime into the routine parts of our day.
I can now see the bottom of the wash basket most days! Being at home all the time has made it easier to manage our family’s big load. I have also enjoyed not having to get the iron out for school uniform!
We have always been an outdoors family and spent lots of time exploring. We have come to appreciate our one exercise a day outdoors so much more. Since lockdown we have been for a walk or cycle pretty much everyday.
I have more respect for teachers! It’s no mean feat getting four children into the right mindset for learning let alone 30 kids!
Clapping for heroes every Thursday is something we will all never forget. Every week I have a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. The appreciation and respect we have for the NHS, emergency services, the postman, the delivery drivers, the supermarket staff, the bin men and manufacturers keeping the country running is enormous. What a wonderful way to demonstrate our appreciation, coming together and banging pots and pans and cheering our real life heroes on!
We’re a tactile family anyway and now even more than ever. I have managed to sneak so many more meaningful hugs of late. Sometimes the hugs from frustration have weirdly been the best ones and the ones that I need the most. Seeing them calm down after a hug and a kiss is just the best therapy.
I hope you managed to get to the bottom of our long list of things we have learnt during lockdown! We will also be sharing our silver linings of lockdown very soon so look out for that post coming soon.