As time went on I felt I was watching on as parents lost their access to their usual social life and time away from their kids that would usually allow them to detach from the caregiving role and let loose.
That sense of self and moments of freedom that they were afforded for a date night or night off kid free was something as a single parent I’d never had access to.
Seeing families all of a sudden penned in with their children unable to leave except for essential shopping meant they’d finally got a sample of what single parent life is like.
I’d have friends say, I don’t know how you coped like this?! That was from those with 2 parents at home juggling the load.
No nannies, cleaners or grandparents to step in.
I didn’t want to gloat but I did see the importance of this realisation that I felt was needed to appreciate the circumstances that some may have taken for granted.
The nature of my mental health means I am checked in on regularly, so my GP early on established a routine of calling every few weeks. When she first asked how I was adapting I responded with “there’s not much for us to adapt to. It’s just like normal life in my hibernation phases but without the school runs”.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I’d been out socially in the evening or child-free (outside of school time). I’d go months without seeing any friends and the only constant was my son and I.
We lived each day based on what my energy levels were and the mood we were in.
We were constantly busy and I’ve always focussed on making sure we’re out and about doing something each day but without the pressure of being tied to arrangements or time slots.
Certain activities are based around a time but the rest is down to us.
Lockdown life was just the same but with the dial turned up a few notches.
Simply going to do a food Shop meant the planned trip usually ended up with me leaving my son in the car park with the dog and school work on a device which also had minecraft on it as back up.
I was just grateful that he was a Sensible 7/8-year-old as I don’t know how I would deal with a tantruming toddler.
I relished in the idea that the whole nation was living my way of life although couldn’t understand why they hated it so much.
Minus the homeschooling we’d been given the chance to spend quality time with the people we love the most.
I always advise people not to compare yourself to anyone but when we were all locked into our own households the glimpse into peoples home life became more intriguing for everyone.
What were they doing 24/7? What should I be doing?
It was as though millions of people had been given a tick list of activities that will make your days more fulfilled. Crafts, baking, gardening, Netflix and TikTok seemed to be top picks.
We tried most of them but stuck with our own preferences.
There were certain activities that I felt like everyone else was doing just to survive the time with their kids who they seemed desperate to break from from.
I’m not normally judgemental but I couldn’t help but think maybe if they’d have spent more time shaping their children into people they actually like spending time with them maybe they’d need less alcohol and distraction techniques to compensate.
However much my son drove me crazy with school stuff we were so well bonded and on the same page that I felt blessed to not be stuck in the house with anyone but him.
For us we’d become so accustomed to our little bubble and routine that however much we argued and broke down in tears each day neither of us were ready to return to ‘normal’ life where we’d be separated.
We both had to have separate support to settle us back into the old routine of school and work away from one another and after being so fearful of it, we both threw ourselves into it and really enjoyed it whist still recognising that we missed each other.
Did you struggle with the separation after lockdown?