The vortex of toys, tantrums and tears – Day 5 AC (After Childcare), Day 7 home-working

Are we there yet? Surely it has already been several years since we went in to lockdown? The calendar must have broken. Bizarrely my child does not appear to have aged and blunders on regardless through her litany of toys, crumbs and snot.

I am more than making up for it – with each manic video call that goes by my face seems to be melting with age and the ravages of toddlertime. I can’t tell if my grey hairs are sprouting faster than ever, or if the lack of hairdressing facilities is just making it more apparent. Or perhaps the cruel proliferation of people wanting to Facetime when I have toast stuck to my head is just forcing me to confront the fact I am a middle aged mum not a twenty-something young person.

So we are in quarantine – Addie has a cough and I had a temperature. Daddy is so far well – despite asking me to take his temperature hourly to check – so has a week in isolation once me and Addie are allowed out of the house.

I constantly return to a theme I touched on last time. For many of us who must actively manage our mental health, all our usual strategies have evaporated. Over many years we have constructed defences out of millions of tiny bricks, each of them seemingly “non-essential”, such as time to ourselves, exercise, getting our hair done, eating well, seeing friends, going to support group. Now though these have all been labelled “non-essential”. They may not be immediately key to life but they are the props which hold up our sanity and without them we are at risk of crumbling.

My immune system may not be vulnerable but my mind certainly is. I am trying to keep it going, but it is hard hard work with a crazed toddler and no prospect of time away from her. The other mums who use our service are feeling similarly – struggling on, doing more, with less help and all with a cloud of anxiety swirling madly around us.

I currently feel like I am spinning faster and faster on a playground roundabout, waiting to fall off. Hopefully little breathers will slow the spin just enough.