One Year Later

The blossom is out and filling me with delight as it always does. Last year it was blooming in silent empty streets, but it still cheered me as we went for our prescribed daily walk.

It is exactly one year today since I opened the doors to Mummy School. Homeschooling in Lockdown #1 was a very different beast to our most recent experience. Neither child had any online teaching at all (apart from the Zoom maths coaching my sister-in-law very kindly provided for the 11yo when it became clear that my maths was not up to Year 6 standards), and although the school provided lists of suggested activities and links to worksheets it was up to me to plan it, organise it and try my best to keep the children happy and motivated.

It was hard. Sometimes really hard. And sometimes unexpectedly lovely. I am very glad that I didn’t know a year ago that we would still be right in the eye of the storm at this point. That I didn’t know there would be still so much uncertainty. That I didn’t know I still wouldn’t be able to hug my parents. That I didn’t know how heartbreaking the death toll would be, or how many people’s lives would be blighted by Long Covid. That my kids would spend a year more out of school than in it, and that playdates with their friends would be nothing but a distant memory. Because even without knowing all that the sadness and anxiety was sometimes overwhelming.

I loved extra time with my little family. Our lunches and breakfasts together. Making the most of our tiny garden. Appreciating our neighbours and community. Becoming a family who cycled. Starting a new blog project with my husband.

Our new blog is called Carefree Carfree, and it draws on our 20 years experience living as a carfree couple and then family, in the hope that we might encourage other people who are thinking about more sustainable travel as we eventually come out of lockdown. We were partly inspired to start it because the quiet streets of the first lockdown felt so safe, so peaceful and so unpolluted that we wondered if some of that could be carried forward into a post-Covid world. We also felt that we had loads of tips and tricks we could usefully share, as well as demonstrating that it is very possible to survive and thrive as a carfree family.

A year on my kids are back in school – albeit the eldest one is wearing a facemark and undertaking bi-weekly tests and there are lots of social distancing rules for both of them. I still feel super grateful every time I do the school run, even though I am paradoxically a bit sad to come home to a very quiet and empty house. Is it just me or is 90% of parenting “WILL YOU ALL JUST GIVE ME SOME PEACE AND STOP TOUCHING ME!’ juxtaposed with ‘I miss you now you’re out, why do children grow up so fast, sob.’?

What will you remember about the last year? Is there anything you will miss when life goes back to normal?

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