Family

Welcome Back, It’s Been Too Long

June 22, 2020

 

Hi guys, wow I can’t believe I’ve not written here since February. Back when Covid-19 was a horrible thing happening on the other side of the world. Things have really changed since I was last present in this space and I thought the best way to come back to it, find my groove again would be to answer some questions that my lovely social media friends have asked. 

A way to get to know me a little better, I’m definitely not the same as I was before Covid and I think that’s a good thing. 

Okay, so here goes:

A nice easy one to start with, how did you meet your husband?

We met in late 2010, through the dating site Match.com. We spoke for weeks before we met in a local Tiger Tiger club on a Saturday night. It was November 2010, by June 2011 we were living together and married in July 2012. A whirlwind romance but when you know, you know right. 

Any plans for baby number 3?

This is clearly on a lot of minds because this question came up more than once haha. At the moment I would have to say no because these two little madams are more than enough to keep us busy but I definitely don’t want to rule anything out. If you ask my husband he will say absolutely not but I also know he really wished he had a son so who knows. We’re not talking about it at the moment so it’ll have to be a no for now. 

How are the girls doing with their eating?

I got this question a few times as well, it seems food and eating with toddlers/preschoolers is a big stress for lots of people. I would say it’s going well although we seem to have fallen into a set list of things they will eat and we don’t really deviate from it. We probably have 4/5 meals on rotation, they are mostly pasta and potato based and we’re back to only eating two types of vegetables after making a few steps forward before lockdown but I’m not stressing about it anymore. So Amelia won’t eat broccoli, back in January she wouldn’t eat anything so who cares if she’s gone off broccoli when she will eat enough ‘real’ food that I can give her a different meal from one day to the next. 

There’s still no sign of meat or fish and even Taya isn’t keen to try it either, she throws it all on the floor but I can but offer it and hope that one day they will give it a go. 

We have found a lovely for weetabix mini’s in the morning which I think is a great choice for Amelia because it keeps her going all morning and is a healthy choice, she loves things like cheese sandwiches, crackers and cheese, soup, Peppa pig pasta shapes for lunch and will always team them with fruit she shares with Taya, yogurt, a handful of crisps or a biscuit. It’s been really lovely that they can share food now, Taya is able to enjoy the same foods so they can have a packet of quavers between them, half a banana each, split an orange, half a cookie each etc… 

Dinner time favourites include; pasta with butter and cheese, peas and carrots. Tomato sauce spaghetti, peas and carrots, vege and potato waffles, beans, carrots and peas. Plantain and noodles. Beans on toast, carrots and peas. See any sort of theme with the veg here? 

I think our break throughs came when I stopped stressing about it, if she ate it all or even tried it that was amazing but if she didn’t, okay then. She just doesn’t get anything else, there’s no alternative dinner. Although I don’t really feel like that’s an issue anymore because I really only give them things I know they like. It’s just not worth the battles, especially after long days stuck at home at the moment. 

Will you be going back to work?

The plan has always been for me to return to work once Amelia is at school and Taya starts pre-school at 3. That’s been the baseline plan, we’ve not really talked about it in any great detail but the cost of childcare in our area forces us to head in this direction. Returning to work any earlier would likely mean spending more in childcare than I would earn and I’m not about that life. 

In the back of my mind I do have concerns over the cost of breakfast and after school clubs, school holiday childcare etc and I wonder actually when the costs will really decease once they get to school age or whether I’m kidding myself but we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. 

For the foreseeable I’ll be at home (like everyone else) raising my babies and soaking them all up. 

One thing I think is important for me to acknowledge though is that I have never been so grateful not to be working whilst we’ve been in lockdown. I can’t imagine the stress and juggle parents have been going through trying to work, homeschool, parent all at the same time every single day for weeks now. It’s immense, it’s heroic and I take my hat off to everyone who’s been juggling all those plates whether you’ve been keeping them in the air or not. 

How’s the skin care routine going?

You may have seen on my social media posts that I’ve started to actually put together a skin care routine whilst in lockdown. It’s been (insert number of lockdown days here because who even knows anymore) since I last wore make up. Anything more than mascara hasn’t seen the light of day from my make up bag since Boris put the brakes on life. 

In it’s place I decided to actually put in some effort with skin care, look after my skin better rather than just covering it up. So I invested in some products from Glossier; a day time moisturiser, a cleanser and some lip balm. I LOVE them and they were the first step in caring for my skin. 

I’ve since added a night time routine from BodyShop, a night time Vitamin E cream and eye cream, a Vitamin C skin serum.

For the first couple of weeks my skin was horrendous, outbreaks on top of outbreaks and I was so tempted to get the make up out and cover them but I had wanted to break my dependency on make up for years and what better time to do it? The breakouts settled down after a while and now I’m just used to how my skin looks make up free. 

I would say that I think my skin has benefited from having a routine rather than it necessarily being because of the particular products I chose. I love the Glossier items but I might be able to get the same benefits from the Body Shop for less money and no shipping costs. I think having the time and routine in place is more important than the brands at the moment. Maybe when my current supplies run out I’ll test the theory…

And now for the big questions, the ones I feel I could write entire blog posts on, firstly… How have the children coped with lockdown?

I have to say they have been absolutely wonderful, part of that I think is their age. I’ve never been so pleased that my children are the ages they are now. When they’re happy to just play at home, they don’t have groups of friends they would normally be hanging out in parks with, they’re not in school and require lesson planning, any sort of play or activity is a learning opportunity for them and above all they are just delighted to have mummy and daddy around all the time. 

Amelia has missed her Nana and Grandad dreadfully, it’s brought me to tears at times when she would ask why they can’t come and see her or why we can’t go to the park with them. Saying she’s never going to see them again and it’s so very hard to make a 3 year old understand that this won’t be forever when it feels like forever to them. 

She’s missed her pre school and play date friends too, asking constantly in the beginning to go to school or go to someone’s house. Convinced all her friends were having parties and she just wasn’t invited. I had to sit her down and explain that the other children were also at home and no one was having any parties without her. That her friends hadn’t forgotten her and she would be able to play with them soon. Heartbreaking is the only way I can explain it, she shouldn’t be having those thoughts at 3 years old but she will be going back to pre-school in July and I can’t wait to tell her. 

Taya has taken to being at home really well, I think it’s done her a lot of good to have the routine. Having no where to go has meant she’s had a nap every single day, some times for over 2 hours but it doesn’t matter because there’s no where to go. She learnt to walk at home, then in the garden, then on the grass by the block of garages, learnt to run and play in the fields and spent very little time in the pram and almost no time at all in the car. 

Amelia has really loved spending time with us at home, I think we were very busy before and we didn’t need to be, the girls are happiest at home. 

Has your parenting style changed during lockdown?

Absolutely yes! For the better I think. We used to be constantly on the go; play dates, baby groups, shopping, visiting friends and family, going to the park or out for the day. It was a lot but I didn’t realise it was a lot until we stopped doing it.

I never noticed that the girls could go days without actually having time to play with their toys at home. Or that several days a week Taya’s naps would take place in the car or pram or she wouldn’t have one at all. My idea of a good day was being out of the house as much as possible because then they couldn’t make a mess of it. Thinking they would be stimulated and worn out from a busy day outside. 

Before lockdown the thought of staying home and getting the paints out would have given me shivers. All the mess, the clearing up, worried about clothes and furniture. I’ve never in my life done so many craft activities, been scrolling Instagram and Pinterest for ideas of what we can make with pipe cleaners or asking friends how to colour rice. That just wasn’t me, I’m not a creative arty person, it’s not natural to me but I’m working with a 3year old who’s really more interested in peeling PVA off her fingers than creating a masterpiece so it’s all about having fun and trying new things. 

We’ve been for walks, so many walks, some just up and down our main road. Walking past things we would hurriedly stomp past on our way somewhere else and never notice. Amelia would walk for 30 mins, pointing out the flowers in front gardens, looking for rainbows in windows, picking flowers from the side of the road, waving to old ladies in their windows. Never did I think it could bring so much fun, how does walking up and down the same road you’ve lived on for 7 years bring so much fun? Well when’s there’s naff all else to do you just have to make the most of it and it was a real eye opener for me that actually simple things are just as interesting to children. Amelia was fascinated by the different coloured flowers in gardens, or by throwing falling blossom up in the air and pretending it’s snowing. The stuff of childhood dreams. 

Our garden has become like a playground for them, we’ve invested time in to making it nice for them. We’ve not bought anything new but we’ve kept on top fo the grass, planted flower seeds, has picnic lunches, got the paddling pool out etc…

I am 100% certain I wouldn’t have done any of these things without lockdown and now I can’t imagine not doing them. 

Okay, this is the big one…How have you found lockdown?

I feel like maybe we don’t asking this enough, we’re all so busy just trying to get through it, to make it to the end of the day that we don’t stop to ask our friends and family how they’re doing in all this craziness. 

I think my opinion might be a little controversial but…I’ve loved lockdown. 

Yes there have been days I’ve cried, days I’ve wanted to be able to go anywhere other than my own walls, wanting to get away from the children for just an hour, feeling like it was never going to end but on the whole it’s been the best thing for us. 

I feel healthier; not in body or diet because, lockdown snacks, but in the fact that I’ve not been unwell or had a headache for 12 weeks. This is major for me, I used to be under the weather constantly, migraines every couple of weeks and I’m sure now it was because I was doing too much. Constantly stressed and rushing from one thing to the next. 

I’m a better mum, spending more time with them (if that’s even possible as a SAHM) but we’ve done activities and games and snuggled on the sofa to watch films. Things we would never have done before, I’ve been more present and I’ve really been able to appreciate how amazing the girls are at this age. 

I’ve always been a going out person, hardly ever at home even before children, so it was very hard for me at the start having no where else to go and feeling like we were getting cabin fever but after 3 months I can’t imagine going back to rushing around, packing the kids and all their stuff in the car to get to play group for 10am. We’re lucky if we’re all dressed by 10am these days and it’s made us all so much happier. 

My relationships are stronger, my marriage is stronger. It’s been a dream having my husband home with us, granted he’s working full time from the spare room but he’s here. If the girls wants to see him they can, if I want to leave the room for a minute and have an adult conversation, he’s here. We can share parenting moments, he can experience the fun and playtime that he would otherwise have missed out on. He’s seen so much of Taya’s milestones over the last 3 months and I’m so pleased he’s had the chance to share them. We’ve spent more quality family time together in the last 3 months than we did in the whole year before and I do not want that to change, ever. 

Friendships are stronger too, not being able to see anyone has forced us all to make more of an effort. We have group chats that are for more than just arranging birthday meals, we have weekly zoom quizzes and video calls when someone has a rough day. My mummy friends have been there every single day, checking in and making sure we’re all okay and sharing a “yeah me too” text when it’s all getting a but too much with the kids. I have a tight group of friends, they live primarily in my phone at the moment but we’ve been closer than ever lately and I can’t wait to see them soon. 

Lockdown has really helped me to appreciate the simple pleasures of having a safe and loving home, having toys for the girls to play with, it’s made appreciate everything we have. I’ve been incredibly fortunate that none of my family have been affected by this disease and I am blessed for that. 

I’ve found a way of life that suits us, it’s slower, its as peaceful as it can be with two young children, I’ve no desire to go to the shops, browsing and window shopping feels so unnecessary now. We need food and we need clothes as and when, the children grow and they need new shoes. I’d love a meal that I haven’t cooked or had to clean up, I want to see my friends, I want to hug them, I want to hear their laughter without the distortion of a laptop speaker, I want to see Amelia running wild with her friends.

All the rest, you can keep it. 

Rachel xx 

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