The first time the reality of what Covid-19 was going to mean really hit me was the Thursday before nursery closed. I knew that from the following day Daisy would be out of nursery for an unknown period of time. Everything as I knew it was about to change beyond all recognition.
As I went to pick her up for the last time, I had a lump in my throat and a heavy heart. She loves nursery and would miss all the amazing staff and all her little friends. And I what the hell was I going to do about work if I had to look after a 2 year old with no childcare?
It hit me like a tonne of bricks and all through that day as people rang me to see how I was doing, I burst out crying. I’d agreed with Granny Bev that it was safer for her to isolate on her own. I also didn’t think it was fair to ask her to do so much childcare, which is inevitably what would have ended up happening. The thought of not knowing how long it would be until I could see her again was making me feel very sad.
I can’t remember the last time I saw her in person, or saying goodbye. I’m not sure I realised at the time how long it would be until I saw her face to face again.
I didn’t want to cry in front of my mum as I didn’t want her worrying about me, but as we chatted later that evening, I couldn’t hold it in. I was so overwhelmed. The fear about what was coming, was just washing over me in waves.
That Thursday was the lowest point I have experienced. When the reality really hit me about what life was going to become for a while. Ever since then, although it has been a roller coaster and I’m exhausted, I have found that it has been a bit easier to deal with.
I’m lucky, I’m only figuring out how I juggle childcare with work, tinged with sadness that I will not get to see my parents face to face. I do not work for the NHS. I don’t have to go into work and face the real reality of the situation. It is this fact I try to keep reminding myself. I am grateful to all those who are working tireless to support the country.
I’ve been thinking about what I have learnt from my Covid-19 experience as a solo mum so far and thought it might be interesting to share.
1. I am incredibly grateful to be a parent
As challenging as it is looking after my daughter solo in these times, I am so lucky to have her. I’m so glad I made the decision to pursue solo motherhood. I am blessed that my fertility journey was successful. There are so many others who have had their treatment cancelled or postponed and my heart breaks for them. I know that I am in a very privileged position. I am praying others get to continue their treatments as soon as possible.
2. I have amazing people in my life
Even though I can’t see them face to face, it’s times like this when you realise how amazing the people in your life are. So many of my friends and family keep reaching out and checking in to see if we are doing OK.
I have had some of the best chats I have had in ages with my friends. I feel more connected with some people than I have previously. I’m loving that technology allows us to keep in touch with everyone in our lives.
3. I can do this without a partner
Choosing to be a solo mum for me was not choosing to mother solo, it was choosing to mother without a partner. I had opted in to mother with a small army of supporters behind me. Covid-19 has stopped this in its tracks. My mum tribe are unable to help as they were previously. Although it is absolutely not my preference to mother completely solo, what this situation has taught me is that I can do it.
I hope for all of you on the journey that have had treatment cancelled, I can show you that although I usually have a big support network, it is possible to parent alone (which you will hopefully not have to when your time comes).
4. The kindness of people can be overwhelming in a good way
The kindness of the people in my life has blown me away. Messages of love, support, offers of help, delicious baked goods dropped at my door etc..
Then there is also the kindness of the nation. All the things I am reading about. The 750,000 volunteers. The work that the NHS staff are doing. Completely mind blowing.
5. My evenings have never been so sociable
Last Saturday I was up til 1am partying with friends. It was on House Party obviously not face to face, but still! That was the most partying I have done in a while. I often stay in on Friday and Saturday nights and have never before thought to connect with others staying in. It’s the future! I have been on video calls with friends pretty much every night. I’m not sure why I wasn’t doing it before! i’m actually having to ration it a bit as I need to get on with other things!
6. I can multi task like an absolute legend
One of the things I am not shy about bigging up is my multi tasking ability. My specialist subject is productivity and how to make the most of my time. Daisy has been having almost 2 hour naps which has come at the best time ever (at nursery she was having about 45 mins) You cannot even imagine how much I can cram into those 2 hours.
My multi tasking has never been tested this much and I am absolutely loving the challenge!
7. It’s not a competition of who has things the hardest
Covid-19 has affected everyone in some way or another. To a greater or lesser extent. It can be tempting to compare yourself to others. My newlywed friends were recently telling me how hard it was for them isolating just the 2 of them. I really tried not to feel frustrated by this!!
I have seen an element of ‘who has it harder’ happening. It can turn into a bit of a competition. For me, I have tried to focus on those who do have it harder than me to help remind myself that I am in a lucky position and I can manage.
8. There are many things I have to be grateful for
I have an awesome daughter and a lovely home. My job isn’t currently at risk. My income is steady. I have amazing friends and family. I’m grateful for the technology that allows us to stay connected. I have my health. I’m grateful for everything I do have in my life. I am trying to focus on all these things, rather than the things that are currently missing from my life.
9. Drinking every night does not help me feel good
It is very tempting to drink every night. I don’t mind admitting, I am battling not to do that. What I have learnt is that when I have a night with no alcohol, I sleep better and I have a much better day the next day. I keep trying to remind myself that when I am thinking to pour myself a drink. I am almost out of wine. I’ll be drinking Malibu and coke before long as it is the only thing I have left in my drinks cupboard! I’m really trying to have evenings without booze. I keep on having to remind myself catching up with friends online doesn’t have to include alcohol!
10. It is possible to make food go a long way
I have not been to the supermarket for 12 days since Daisy’s nursery shut. I am lucky that I use The Modern Milkman for milk and eggs and this has continued to be delivered and I use Riverford for my veg which again has continued to arrive as normal. That paired with the cupboard foods I have (I always buy in bulk and decant into glass jars) means that I am pretty sorted for food with the delivery from Asda I have managed to get.
My next delivery is still 10 days away and I am starting to get quite low on stuff, but I am challenging myself to utilise everything I have in my cupboards rather than do an unnecessary supermarket shop. I am following some good accounts that share tips of how to do this. One of my favourites is Cooking on a Bootstrap. I have cooked some new recipes I’ve not tried before to use up the food I do have.
I’m currently on Day 12 of not leaving my house, bar a ten minute jog round my street with Daisy. I do appreciate that is still quite early on in this experience. Things I am sure might get tougher as time passes. Although in some ways maybe I’ll also get into the groove of my new routine a bit more.
Something that certainly won’t get any easier is not seeing my parents. I am hoping at some point my mum can come and isolate with Daisy and I for a time. Let’s see!
How are you finding your Covid-19 experience?