Pressing pause

It’s such an odd time. For many key workers, they have never been busier in their working lives, and probably never will be again. If you work full-time, have children and haven’t been furloughed then you are suddenly trying to do (at least) two all-consuming full-time jobs from your dining room table. I fully appreciate that for people in these groups there is no sense of pause whatsoever.

I am in a different category. I am self-employed, and because I only properly returned to writing when my youngest daughter started work in September what I am losing right now by having the children at home 24/7 is potential future income rather than anything more concrete. By contrast, my husband is incredibly busy working as hard as he can to come up with initiatives to save his start-up business which is very affected by the current crisis, so a lot of the home-schooling is falling to me right now.

I have pressed pause on my ability to work easily. I am right back where I was in the newborn days with writing having to fit in odd (and rare) quiet moments – and they don’t even nap any more! This blog post is brought to you courtesy of the Disney Plus subscription my brother and SIL generously bought the children!

I have pressed pause, or rather, had pause pressed for me, on the clinical trial for a biologic therapy which had already started to make a big difference to my ankylosing spondylitis and psoriasis. Stopping the treatment has now triggered a flare-up, and so I am back to experiencing considerable amounts of pain, stiffness, soreness and fatigue, none of which help with having to keep two children entertained and somewhat educated at home for weeks on end.

I have pressed pause on the things I suddenly had the freedom to do after years of not. I joined a gym (and actually went!). I could meet a friend for an uninterrupted coffee. I could go for a long walk with just my thoughts for company. I could actually try clothes on in a shop changing room, and I had my first bra fitting for about 6 years. I could browse in the supermarket without a whingeing toddler hanging out of the trolley. All these things seemed like unimaginable luxuries for years, and after a bare six months of enjoying them they do once again. I guess the difference being that now they are impossible for everyone!

I feel like I have pressed pause on being a person who really exists outside the four walls of my home.

On a more positive note, I have also pressed pause on the hideous weekday morning school run rush, and screaming at my kids to put their shoes and coat on, brush their teeth, brush their hair, find their book bags. I have pressed pause on having to break up a game that they have suddenly started playing together and are utterly absorbed in because we need to be somewhere else. I have pressed pause on nipping into the local shop to buy one item we have run out of and coming out with twenty quidsworth of random bits we didn’t really need. I have pressed pause on impulse buying new and unnecessary clothes for me and the kids while I do the supermarket shop.

I have pressed pause in a way which enables me to plant seeds in old egg boxes, and actually do it properly so that they germinate and start to grow. I always considered that I made home-cooked food a lot anyway, but I have pressed pause on being able to pop out for Saturday lunch in a local cafe, or taking the children for a toastie after school if I am too tired to cook. Actually, this might not be entirely positive – I am sure that cooking all our meals and snacks from scratch every single day is healthier, and it is certainly a lot cheaper, but it does feel a little bit relentless at times. I am really going to appreciate eating out as a proper treat when we are able to again.

How are you finding the current situation? Has Covid 19 made your life calmer or more chaotic? What have you pressed pause on, and has that been positive or negative?

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