2020, The Mad Year, Part 1 – Spring

Well this is long overdue, not sure if I visited this blog even once last year…Maybe? Maybe before it all got mad?

I say 2020 but “this” is not over yet, is it? It’s February 2021, a day before Valentine’s and I still feel that not much has changed.

I don’t even know how to start or where but I wan’t my kids to know my point of view of it all additionally to what they will learn about this pandemic at school one day.

Last time we went to a restaurant was 8th March last year, to celebrate my mom-in-law’s birthday and for the rest of the people International Women’s Day. Things had already started gotten a bit weird in the world but no one took anything too seriously I guess.

Couple of weeks after that dinner the national lockdown started.

You were not allowed to see anyone out of your household, you couldn’t go outside more than just for one walk a day and for grocery shopping. Already few days before the lockdown started, people went MENTAL. Acted like animals…. Surely something none of us had seen before…It wasn’t war, shops were not going to close, but people started acting like absolute lunatics. Panic buying that left vulnerable people and even normal thinking young families like ourselves in serious shock and in need of everyday items. Pictures of scared old ladies in front of empty shelves. People were buying shops empty of toilet paper! Toilet paper!! And for someone who uses antibacterial wipes/sprays regularly to wipe kids highchairs etc – they were also gone. From everywhere! I used to buy them from Amazon, they were like £10 for maybe 3 packs of 100 wipes. They were now at £85! WTF. I once read an article how some idiot mom teamed up with a friend to stock up on formula and left other moms without formula milk. People like that disgust me.

These are the images my husband sent me after I sent him on a mission to get some fresh food and ideally veg, hah, jokes!

They say, if you can, don’t leave your house. I heard my friends in Estonia using online shopping for food, during their little lockdown, while in here it was Impossible. No slots, No deliveries, this country was fucked! You HAD to go to the shop. And queue. Sometimes for over an hour to get in. That was the norm. No one was ready. I heard an interview on BBC News with one of the CEO’s of a top food retailer here and he said it’s been worse than Christmas but unlike Christmas there was no time to prepare for this madness. The insane sight of empty shelves after empty shelves. People were buying everything and few weeks later some pictures were going around on social media how people’s bins were so full they had brand new unopened boxes of chicken or other meat or unopened bread.

There was no pasta, rice or flour found in shops for over 2 months. I still remember the day when my lovely neighbour came to knock on our door to say that our tiny local shop has flour back in stock, if we need to go buy some. For someone who bakes a lot I never thought I’d run out of flour but I did, so after asking friends we got couple of packs of flour from a good friend who had found it from some special little Indian shop. Messed up. Bread would sold out so quick, people would fight over Artisan bread lol. Animals! I think it was maybe May or June when I first saw Antibacterial wipes and spray sold once again in one little shop, could not believe my eyes! for like £1 not for £85, Oh Happy Day!

Then the good old talk about masks…. Do they help…? As we found out later of course they helped but they said they didn’t at the time because they were already out of stock everywhere. Nurses and doctors didn’t have enough protective equipment. Amazon sold medical masks, delivery time – 6 months. But we needed them well..now! All kinds of seamstresses started making some serious dollar with homemade masks on Etsy and other online shops. Ridiculous when I think about it now. All of it. And our blonde crazy looking prime minister Boris : “We urge everyone to stay at home. Only leave home when you really need to. You can go to work but don’t go to work if you can work from home.” Like this absolute nonsense of “do it, don’t do it, maybe do it, but better if you don’t”… You either CAN or CAN’T do something. This big old grey area is what still, to this day makes this all last longer than it should.

Oh, and the News. Death, death, DEATH! We were shown death 24/7. Sky News basically turned into a Coronavirus channel. Live scenes from Italy’s hospitals, intensive care units, anything to scare us shitless. And I guess as much it was good to keep up to date with news, this ended up being too much. Now I’m a really strong person and I think it takes quite a bit to break me but I had to stop watching the news, because I felt that this is NOT making me feel good at all. I remember going to bed one night quite seriously thinking that we all might die lol. Messed up.

Then morons like this….

Now, my mental health…. I personally didn’t leave the house for 5 weeks. It was brutal. I went outside but never to any shops or saw anyone else but my husband and kids. For 5 weeks. During that time I’m convinced I also had covid, even though there was no testing. However, all the signs showed that I did have it. It all started with this horrible dizziness I had for a week or so, and then it got a tiny bit better and then one morning I woke up as weak as I was an hour after giving birth, completely out of breath, really light fever, exhausted etc. Thought I had caught a bug. Either that or that I was officially dying. I also had hundred other symptoms plus an insanely sore throat that lasted for over a month. Nothing made me feel better. I couldn’t lie down or rest cause I had nearly a 1 year old and a 2 year old. My husband had started a new business just in January and was working sometimes from 8am to 1am. So he was here but he wasn’t. I slept an hour or so when the kids slept. I had no appetite, very light chest pain. It was just fucked up. I mean, having no life in me and still having to cook 3 times a day and then clean up and sort of not look like death at the same time, look happy..?? Definitely one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. So yeah, the very worst part physically lasted probably three days and then the rest of the recovery took nearly three months….Insane. And then couple of months later they started talking about long covid, and it all felt like a relief. Because even though, physically I might have been better but mentally I thought I was going crazy. I thought, I might be thinking myself ill. Being fine already and then the next morning waking up with a brand new weird health problem, and this carried on for so long. SO fucking long! Insane dizziness/vertigo for nearly 3 months… Not feeling like myself, 100% me for weeks and weeks, that just wears you down. I cried so much. I could have been putting food on the table for the kids and would just start crying at the dinner table. I was a mess. This is where I started meditating because that helped just that much that I wouldn’t cry every day. It helped me be more calm. And a better mental health means better physical health. Thank you Headspace!

I tried to find some pictures of myself that would reflect how stressed I was but in reality I only found two
I only found two, because I never wanted my kids to see how down I felt. I had to be an example. I had to have the drive.

And of course the fact my mother in law was “taken away from us” with the new rules. It’s so so tough with kids so little but at least I could give the older one for her to babysit once a week. And then it stopped. My mom was in another country. I just felt so alone and stressed out while doing my best to be an awesome mom. I remember when the rules were lifted, probably 2 or 2.5 months after being home alone with my three boys, I sent both boys away to my mother in law and I remember I sat down to meditate and I just started crying, could not stop. Felt like some sort of release. For the first time in such a long time I didn’t have to cook following a schedule. I could go and lie down if I wanted to. These little things… That 24 hours without the kids was so needed.

First day when they stayed over at my mom in law’s after nearly 3 months. I meditated, cried, meditated. Such. A. Release!

I also had another health problem at the time that had been bringing me down since February, it was April now and I was still depressed, scared and worried about it. Literally thinking the worst… I finally managed to see a doctor and got some antibiotics which cleared it up. Within 3 days of starting to take them I felt like myself again. I cannot tell you how sincery happy I felt – For the FIRST time in 3 months I wasn’t dizzy and the floor wasn’t feeling soft anymore, for the FIRST time I had energy after 4pm, even at 7pm!! For the FIRST time I felt “I can do this?”. I’m normally so anti-pill and anti-medicines but this time it truly changed my life.

To clear out all the negativity that had stayed with me during spring 2020 I had an online holistic therapy session. By the time of the appointment I felt I was out of the worst days for sure and my mental health was on the mend but there was still a lot of stress with the kids and as the therapist does family therapy and knows about kids psychology it was a very healthy and useful session. I learnt so much and definitely got a different outlook to my kids behaviour. Because weeks before that session, when I wasn’t feeling well physically and mentally I used to shout so much at my kiddos, my throat used to get sore. And I’ve never been into shouting and while in theory I know shouting never helps but every parent knows that sometimes you have just run out of all other options. Anyway, all is better now.

Lastly, I just want to write this down somewhere because I’d like to remember what all my days used to look like without a dishwasher and any other help (if you add lockdown and being ill to this you would understand why this would mess anyone up) :

  • 6-7am – get up cause J is not a morning sleeper, possibly gets up 1 or 2 times during the night too
  • 7.30-8am – make breakfast
  • 8am – Q gets up, make him breakfast
  • 9am – the pressure of “what to do today” starts, so either force myself to go for a walk with the two of them in their 2-seather train-pram or an activity at home
  • 9.30 – I get myself ready while running back and forth to the bedroom every second to check that no one has killed themselves or each other
  • 10am – my goal to leave the house/get the kids ready to leave the house
  • 10:40/45am – the time they’re ACTUALLY finally ready
  • *Totally standard from J to drop a little surprise in his nappy just as we’re about to leave the house
  • 11am (ish) – arrive to a field or somewhere nice where I can let them go like puppies so they can run wild. Luckily we have quite a few nice green places like that close to us. If windy, I’ll bring a kite.
  • 11:30/45am – make lunch
  • 12:15/30pm – put J to sleep
  • 12:30 – some alone time/activity with Q, usually a puzzle or drawing together
  • 1pm – Q goes to sleep
  • 1:20pm – the time he’s actually in his room and hopefully is about to fall asleep
  • 1:20pm – maybe I can sit down for a min
  • 1:30pm – start cleaning up alllllll the shit from everywhere! All the toys, mess, rubbish, do the dishes from morning and lunch, wash the milk bottles.
  • 2:15pm – I’m probably finished doing stuff now but it’s time to wake the boys in 20 mins so hardly any time for myself, maybe eat something quickly and/or make tea/coffee
  • 2:30/40pm – wake the boys and put up with their grumpy post nap mood for 30 mins, watch Peppa
  • 3/3:30 pm – snacks and drinks
  • 3:30pm – the pressure of “what to do” builds up once again, so either set up some kind of an activity or go for a walk that will probably take ages again
  • 4:30pm – time to start making dinner, running back and forth to the living room to check on the kids, definitely makes me hate the fact not having an open plan and stresses me the FUCK out
  • 5:00/5:15pm – they eat dinner and I might eat some leftovers
  • 5:30pm – Skype my parents with the kids if everyone’s behaving
  • 6pm – my husband would have come down now so we do a pre bed disco session
  • (I’m also frantically trying to tidy up something)
  • 6:30pm – I bathe the kids, get them ready for bed
  • 6:50pm – warm the milk and finally sit still while they drink it
  • 7:00/7:15pm – J goes to sleep (one down!)
  • 7:30/7:45 pm – Q goes to sleep (will possibly take forever and I still might need to go back up)
  • 8pm – start making dinner for us
  • 8:30/9pm – start cleaning up all the shit, once again, my husband has probably helped to clean in the living room but he also might still be working (there was a lot of single mom-ing in the spring)
  • 10pm-10.30 pm – I might “already” be finished with doing the dishes and mopping and cleaning. I might “already” be able to have some me- time. Yaay?
  • 10:30pm – maybe work out, go on a treadmill?? Seems like a right (read – the ONLY) time for that.
  • 12am or later – go to bed

To finish off this Part 1 of my mad spring 2020, I had hope, I had my health back and my mental health was getting better too. Even though our lockdown was still going strong, we could see our support bubbles now (for me meaning my mom in law and the fact she could look after the kids when it all got too much). Masks were still not mandatory but we were wearing them. The weather was getting better so even being able to spend more time outdoors was such a huge change for us all.

Part 2 next post.


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