Today’s the day. Not just the day that I started this diary, but the day that PM Boris Johnson made the announcement that will most change my day to day life for the next few months. From Monday the schools will be shut and I’ll have to educate my eldest two children at home. Whilst also running the home and looking after my 16 month old. And trying to be self employed too. I think my head is about to explode with what all this really means.
For starters, I simply don’t know quite how it is all going to be possible. My house already feels like a bit of a tip as I try to juggle everything. I have three kids. Life is busy. Just getting the laundry done, food bought, meals on the table and everyone in the right place at the right time requires military style planning. Yes, this whole situation does remove all their extra-curricular activities, but it also means that I’ll never get a break.
And where do I even start with what I’m supposed to teach them? I find my daughter’s English grammar homework hard enough as it is. Often I have to send her back to school with questions for her teacher. I’m hoping her teacher is going to be available for answering questions still. And what about all the things I know nothing about? I’ve been frantically saving things I’ve seen on Facebook over the last few days full of suggestions for educational activities, but I’m not sure when I’m supposed to find the time to research them all first. My son was asking me at bedtime what lessons he was going to have on Monday. He looked most confused when I said I didn’t have a clue yet!
And what about if we go into full lockdown like other countries have? How on earth do I keep the eldest two kids from killing each other if we’re stuck at home all day, every day. It’s not even like the Easter holidays are going to be much different. Pretty much everywhere except the countryside is closed at the moment (and understandably so from an infection point of view) but it does rather limit options for entertaining the kids outside the house. There’s plenty of gorgeous countryside around us here in the Chilterns, but not all fully accessible when you have a 16 month old with you too.
And speaking of the 16 month old, quite how I am going to juggle all this with her too is another unknown, especially as it looks like her dad is still going to be going out to work during all this. Let alone the house itself. I’ve spent most of the last week trying to find food in supermarkets with limited success. This morning I found one that actually had some fresh fruit and veg, but the empty shelves in other parts of the supermarket made it look like people are planning for the apocalypse. There was no loo roll, soap, breakfast cereal, frozen veg or biscuits to be had in my local Sainsburys. My husband called in early whilst I was still on the school run and managed to pick up some nappies, but I genuinely fear we will run out of stuff over the next few months. As a parent I normally have a bit of a stockpile of tins incase child illness stops me shopping, but is this enough? I refuse to buy things in the quantities others have, but I’m also worried that I don’t have enough. There are five of us to feed and my son is a fussy eater. I’ve often wondered how children like him coped during wartime rationing. I now feel I may soon find out firsthand.
I’m not sure I can actually capture all the questions and concerns in my head right now. There are simply too many. For tonight though my priority has to be trying to stay on top of day to day life, making the most of them being at school for the next two days, and planning what to do on Monday when I would normally hand them over to their teachers. And all the time making sure the toddler doesn’t keep trying to climb on the dining table (today’s new trick!) and that everyone keeps washing their hands.
My husband and I gave up alcohol a couple of years ago (well 99% of the time for me). I wonder if this might be what drives us back to it? I’ve certainly already polished off my emergency chocolate supplies.