In the immortal words of Bake-Off’s Rahul, I am prone to “dooming”. Even when things are seemingly bright and sunny, my mind has a tendency to pencil in the rain clouds and block out the light. So you would think that now, with the world turned upside down, routines destroyed, habits outlawed, toilet roll shelves emptied, I would be wallowing in a deep dark
pit of despair. Strangely though, I am finding some things to feel hopeful about – pockets of joy in a swirl of fear, dread and impending doom. Here are today’s thoughts…
1. Sense of community – In my village, and in many others, there is a support network of people on hand to help out the most vulnerable. We’ve had a note through the door asking if we need or can offer help getting supplies. Our Happy Mums online support groups have really helped me feel less alone.
2. We are seeing the value in people things we usually take for granted – right from delivery drivers to supermarket shelf stackers, suddenly many low paid, undervalued workers are seen as vital to our survival. They always were but we didn’t necessarily always see it. Equally, I really appreciate how much I need and love my mum – she’s over 70 and is staying away and we really miss her.
3. I’m having to face fully my responsibilities as a parent – it’s utterly overwhelming I have to say. I’m used to outsourcing a good chunk of my parenting to people I consider better equipped to deliver it – nursery nurses and grandparents. Now I need to be enough for my daughter. This feels really hard but I’m trying to hold on to the hope that it will force me to be better and improve my confidence.
4. I’ve had nice video calls with people I don’t usually see – my best friends live far away and too long always passes between our calls and visits. Now we have a new impetus to find ways to communicate. In some strange way I actually feel better connected.
5. My anxieties are simmering – My dread and foreboding are not currently crippling but I can feel them in the pit of my stomach, at the corner of my eyes, bubbling away. I’m managing to release enough steam by exercising, finding time to myself and writing but I am aware that many won’t be able to do these things. I just hope we can all find ways to manage this rising fear.
6. I must magnify the positives – one way I am trying to cope is to hold a metaphorical magnifying glass to any glimmers of hope or positivity. Whether it’s the sight of a lamb gambolling or my daughter laughing I am trying to make sure I notice and hold on. As the negatives get bigger and bigger, the positives need a little help to stick.
7. Don’t let guilt and shame make it worse – I tend to make bad feelings (like dreading spending lots of time with my daughter) ten times worse by multiplying them with guilt and shame for feeling that way. Now more than even lots of us need to keep reminding ourselves that it is OK to feel negatively towards our children. Those feelings are so so common and completely understandable. Be kind to yourself and understanding.
So that’s day 3 of coronavirus home working, day 1 AC (after childcare). Stay strong people. You have got this.