It is without doubt that Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on people throughout the world, with loss of loved ones, fear of infection; not to mention loss of income; and isolation without family and friends. However, for some families – and particularly those with babies – there has also been many positive aspects too; and a few will be dreading the thought of returning to ‘normal’ life in the weeks to come.
Amanda, who is mum to year old Sasha, explains: “I had literally just returned to work when the lock down was announced; so having spent several months mentally preparing myself to leave Sasha with a childminder and trying to turn my work brain back on, it felt as though I had been given some kind of reprieve! Don’t get me wrong. I love my job, but after a year off, I was dreading leaving my little girl and trying to juggle work with home life and seeing her for just a few hours each day. I have been furloughed until the end of June and these extra months at home have been so precious.
“The last few weeks of my maternity leave felt more pressured than ever – all self-inflicted. I felt that I had to cram as much into every day at home with Sasha as possible, organising trips out to the zoo, baby gym, toddler groups, coffee mornings, meeting with friends. Every day was exhausting not only for me, but for Sasha too. I was trying to be super mum and make up for the fact that I was going back to work and leaving her. However, with lock down, we are not only at home together (my husband has been working from home since March too), but the whole pressure of ‘normal life’ has been lifted. We can get up in the morning and mooch around and play without having to rush and get ready for meet ups; breakfast has been relaxed and we haven’t been getting dressed until mid-morning. We choose outfits for comfort rather than fashion and what other people will think!
“Housework has taken a bit of a back seat too – whilst I am normally stressing about everything being in its place in case someone drops by for a coffee – it’s just us, so what does it matter if there are a few toys scattered about.”
More time with daddy too ...
Amanda’s husband Mark has also found many positives in lock down too, adding: “It has been a challenge working from home with a young child in the house, but generally colleagues and clients all seem to have a much more relaxed attitude to work, so it hasn’t been a major disaster if a Zoom conference gets drowned out by Sasha playing drums with saucepans! I have enjoyed sitting and having lunch with my family and going for a walk together before tea every day. It is also noticeable that Sasha’s speech has come on leaps and bounds in just a few weeks – whether it would have anyway, or if it is because we have been spending so much quality time with her chatting about everyday things, we will never know.”
Simple pleasures ...
Amanda concludes: “Lock down has been hard for us – as it has for everyone. We missed Sasha’s first birthday party; have missed seeing our family and friends; and had to cancel our first holiday together. But part of me feels that we have also been given a bit of a gift – we have had precious time together with all the pressures of ‘normal life’ removed. I have had time to really get to know Sasha as the little person she is fast becoming – to understand her likes and dislikes and what makes her tick. I saw her first steps and heard her first words – both things I would have missed had I been back at work. I believe that lock down has changed the type of parents we would have been. We are more relaxed; less competitive and have learned to be thankful for our health and to enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer.”