Working 9 to 5- What a way to forget everything kids related!

So this week I was presented with a dilemma. After starting full time work on a temporary contract at the very end of November, two interviews later, I had been offered a permanent position a grade higher. This decision, presented to pre kids me, would have been a no brainer. I wouldn’t have had to mull it over, to negate the actual achievement I’d accomplished. I would have accepted immediately and run to the nearest bar to celebrate with friends. But alas, that’s not my life right now. I had only just negotiated part-time hours in the role I’m in now. Purely because I was thriving at work yet drowning at home.

Whilst I mentally battled back and forth over the pros and cons of accepting, I started to get majorly pissed off. I realised that I have given up my career since Eldest was born. I realised that I had signed some sort of invisible contract the second I had him that would ultimately dictate that my career would be what everyone told me it would be. I couldn’t work full time, the childcare costs wouldn’t allow it. I tried to navigate that and work part time. This resulted in me working three days and essentially handing all my wages (bar my bills) to the nursery. I realised that I would never obtain a promotion, everything was full time. Knowing my own capabilities, even in a part time capacity, this stung. I was working harder those three days catching up.

My friend messaged the other day. A single mother of two young children. She is struggling with the cost of living. She desperately wants to get a job. Who will mind her children however when she has parents who are ill? Who will look after her parents when they get sick and she is working? Why is it left to us to always navigate all this?

In between my deliberating, I realised that my husband has had to step up. I felt thankful. Then I just felt slightly resentful. Because he never had to deliberate anything job wise. Why would he have to? He doesn’t have to manage work, learn new systems and freak out about what homework they have to do later. He doesn’t have to arrange birthday parties, ensure everyone is invited, and make up party bags. He shows up on the day, job done. His work life always stayed the same. Even when he started his own business I supported him. Even though deep inside I was worried about money and how we would survive. I was already exploring other options in the event it didn’t go to plan.

This is not a rant about my husband at all. He is very good. It’s a rant about how we women can’t have it all. I guess it’s only started to dawn on me why I broke down last time. Because I was trying to do it all. I warned my husband that when I embarked, once again, into the world of full-time work I was intending to smash it. I already have in six months. But at the detriment of whom? My family. I feel guilty every day. So much so that I drive home at lunch every day to see Baby. To obliterate the guilt that burns inside me whilst I look at a computer screen, sitting in an office ten minutes away from him.

I accepted my promotion in the end. Why shouldn’t I? I will figure out who will get the kids. I will figure it all out, as I always do. Whilst throwing myself into a new environment and new learning only six months later. Why? Because we are smart. We deserve to shine. We all lose ourselves in the midst of child-rearing. It would be impossible not to. I sometimes wonder what would be if they let women work part-time but afforded them opportunities to progress. It should be quite clear to men by now that we can multi-task. It should also be transparently clear that nothing works unless we are in the background organising it for them. I have watched men at Executive level and I’ve watched women at that level also. The women have to work ten times harder. I’d listen and know they were smarter. Because, for the most part, they could think emotionally as well as logically. That’s a skill embedded in you from birth but one that regenerates tenfold when you become a mum. That’s why you already have a skillset going into any interview. Even if you don’t feel like you do. I know you do. I also know confidence can wane and waver after children. But, you can get it back. I’m telling you you can. When you do, there will be no stopping you.

I will leave this blog with a quote from the philosopher Beyonce (you know I love a Beyonce quote) :

This goes out to all the women getting it in, you on your grind
To all the men that respect what I do, please accept my shine
Boy, you know you love it
How we smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bear the children (children)
Then get back to business

Do you sometimes ladies 🙂

**This blog post is dedicated to Dame Deborah James. A woman who has shown incredible strength in the face of a situation none of us hopes to be in. You showed what women are capable of doing, even in the worst of times. I will miss your dancing on Instagram, your zest for life, your beauty, and your intelligence**

Middle And The Shop

Is your child going through the pass remarkable stage? If so, you can call ground- swallow- me- whole on 1800.

A few weeks ago I decided it would be a lovely idea to take the boys out on their scooters and then visit the local shop to get some treats to bring home. As always, the scootering idea was a very bad one but, I just about managed no one getting run over as they hurtled about the streets like mad men. Go me!

With this task completed we entered the local shop. I gave each of the boys £1.30. The reason I did this was because I wanted them to work out how much things cost and add them all up. They would be paying for their items themselves and therefore had to ensure they had enough money. Now, they can’t make these kind of life altering decisions usually in a shop so, I realised pretty swiftly that I’d been totally idiotic but, the thought was there.

After thirty minutes and lots of back and forth, the boys had made their decision and we waited in line. Whilst doing so I explained how they should hand over their money and await their change. They should also say please and thank you. Middle was the first one up. There was a gentleman in front of him.

Imagine my horror when, out of nowhere, Middle starts what can only be described as bellowing, “Mum, look at that! I mean, would you look at that big fat man!”. Oh my god! I froze on the spot. When I came to my senses, I was beseeching him to be quiet. Meanwhile Eldest, sensing the utter embarrassment of the situation, has removed himself from the queue and is now walking backwards down the aisle adjacent. Thanks son! I’m no sooner giving Eldest evils when I hear, “really fat mum, look at all that coke that man is buying!”. Ground swallow me whole!

The poor man, who Middle has just royally insulted, quite rightly spins around and shakes his fist at him. Middle couldn’t care less. In abject panic, I take Middle aside and explain that that is a horrible thing to say and therefore he will have to put all his sweets back. Middle then decides to revert back to toddlerdom and throws himself across the front entrance horizontally whilst wailing. The man he just insulted cannot get out the door now (with his copious amounts of Coke). Tell him to just step over him whilst apologising profusely.

The other boys pay for their stuff albeit whilst I’m an absolute frazzled mess. Middle is still wailing and feeling completely hard done by for not getting sweets, whilst the others scooter back home (he refused to). I spend my time walking home with him half berating him and half trying to make him realise how his words can hurt others. I extol how the man may be crying now because he feels embarrassed. I do this for ten minutes. He says nothing. Maybe it’s sinking in.

As we get to our front door, Middle turns to me, nonchalant and states “well, he was fat mum and that’s that”. FMAL.

He’s started noticing everything now. Skin colours and differences. There is just no off switch. My friend’s child is going through the same phase. I never had this with Eldest. He’s always had decorum. All you can do is try and explain. Not that it makes a difference with Middle but, God loves a trier! I really loved that shop too and have to avoid it for a bit now. Please tell me your child has mortified you in some way. Comment away!

The System

Only one side of my fridge with Middle. Every week I have to remove some when he isn’t here.

I haven’t written anything in such a long time so, please bear with me. There are many reasons for this. Mostly, Coronavirus. Mainly the fact that I like my blog posts to be light-hearted and make you all laugh. Truth and humour are great bedfellows after all. Life is not always perfect however and I hope I perfectly express that.

Today I felt an urge to write and I’ve wholly embraced it. I tend to write when I become entirely overwhelmed. That’s how I’ve felt today, so here I am.

This past year I’ve had the utter pleasure of working as a Classroom Assistant in my local school (before everything went all haywire and lockdown’s occurred again). Now, I deliberately set out to work in a school that wasn’t the one my sons attend. There were many reasons for this. I wanted to see how they operated, I wanted to observe their communications and I wanted to see how they treated children who didn’t fit into a perfect little box. Whilst there, I met the most amazing children. I met the most amazing team who treated children on an individual basis and worked with them tirelessly to ensure they achieved their potential. From the headmistress, teachers, cooks, and cleaners. I sat with these children in the class and helped guide them. I saw them get frustrated in the way Eldest does. I knew how to diffuse it, the same way I have to with him. I saw the teachers be forward-thinking enough to initiate techniques that further helped quell any frustrations. I was impressed. These children still seek me out at the park and we talk all about how they are doing in school and how great they are at everything they do. My children play with them and adore them as much as I do. I realised pretty swiftly however how wokedom has seeped into education roles. Being told in your tech class that you “shouldn’t hug a child”, didn’t sit well with me at all. If a child hurts themselves in the playground, of course, I want to hug them. When they come to me with outstretched arms seeking one, I had to stand like a statue. It was the oddest feeling. Constantly being afraid of being a caring individual.

This brings me to what I’m facing right now and drowning in. I start a full-time job soon but I’m running around to numerous Occupational Therapy appointments with Eldest (that I like to be there for so I know how to help him in the best possible way), I’m having to do extra work with Middle (letter formation, sounds, and scissor work) and I’m also trying to make sure Baby is progressing in between. This is on top of homework of course. So far Middle’s eyesight has been called into question, his hearing and his speech. Now, I know as his mother what he struggles with. I have been homeschooling him. I have tried my best to navigate both of them whilst not being in possession of a teaching certificate. Meanwhile, they are being referred left, right, and centre for help with things it sometimes turns out they don’t need. No child fits into a box. Whilst I try and instill confidence, they take it off them. The system, not the teachers. They do a fantastic job and I doth my cap to them after homeschooling!

As much as I extol the need to be able to write cohesively and neatly to Eldest, he is a logical thinker and can do things on my laptop that I don’t even know how to! His father is a Web Developer and he can already understand coding. We did a course recently and he blew my mind away with what he could do. Writing is very important. As I said to him “look at all the forms I had to fill out at Occupational Therapy there. See, you do still need to put pen to paper in this day and age”. Meanwhile, school is giving them tasks on multiple online platforms whilst bemoaning the fact the children can’t write. What do you want? These children are either moving to digital or not. What is it? My son won’t have to be writing any forms (when the NHS updates their archaic systems). He is no less good than any other child. He is just HIM. Middle is just HIM. Tell me how great he is at art for instance! This is the fundamental problem here. Northern Ireland has tried for so long to fit everyone into a box. To be in any way creative here has always been frowned upon as a career choice. Now they want to switch it up whilst still trying to curtail them to a box. I will always encourage my children to be who they are and encourage their interests. If that doesn’t fit into a neat, little box, so be it. Fairly certain Eldest will be a millionaire (and build me a granny annex in his house). Middle I feel will be some wandering bohemian artist traveling the globe and meeting lots of interesting people and Baby will probably be a litter warden judging by how much he shouts at kids in the park to put their rubbish in the bin (they listen and are scared and he is only three!). Maybe he will be a dictator actually but, the cutest one going! Rules the roost that one.

Shout out to the teachers, the ladies at RISE, and the Occupational Therapist who have been amazing. I cannot thank you enough for making it easier.

P.S. I’m not buying your tracksuit (optional.) Outerwear doesn’t divine a child. But, I imagine you will make it so. You can always call me in again.

#RememberMyNoah

As I watched my eldest cycle his brand new bike, I didn’t feel how I should have. Weird. There is one main reason for that and one reason only, Noah Donohoe.

This little boy went out on his bike to meet his friends. He never returned home. His mother, still trying to locate him, was thrust in front of tv cameras, begging for answers. In the throes of utter and unimaginable grief. A single mother who had raised an incredible boy.

Now, what transpired during and after is entirely interesting to me. There are so, so many discrepancies. Articles being deleted and comments being deleted. The PSNI’s press conferences (held on a main road where no one could hear them) are contradictory also.

This woman has lost her son. A beautiful son who had the world at his feet. He was a basketball player, a cellist, and a thriving cook. He was everything you would want your children to aspire to be.

If you know anything please contact KRW Law on 028 9024 1888. Our children can not just disappear off the streets. If we accept that, we accept anything #Week62

Losing It In Lockdown

I haven’t been able to write in weeks. This is something that’s unusual for me. Even when I’m at my lowest ebb, I still find the capacity to projectile my thoughts onto WordPress. Lockdown has finally gotten the better of me. There, I said it!

It started off quite lovely to be fair. No mad rush out in the mornings, no multiple school pickups. My homeschooling game was strong and I was organised. Flash forward to now….

  1. Alarm clock off. Who needs to know the time when you can’t even remember what day it is.
  2. My kids have suddenly developed an innate need to eat two breakfasts each. I mean, I’ve spent years trying to get them to eat one and now they want two! I feel like I spend the majority of the morning doing dishes.
  3. Homeschooling is sending me over the edge. Trying to sit with Eldest whilst Baby demands my attention every two minutes is stressful. When I try to read with Eldest, Baby cries repeatedly that I read him ‘Max Monkey’ on Eldest’s reading platform.
  4. F#ck that book Max Monkey.
  5. When I finally go to get ready, it’s like an alarm bell sounds in their heads and they follow me. I’m like an unwilling pied piper.
  6. I feel guilty bringing them out as I’m supposed to be homeschooling. On the other hand, I also don’t want to watch them batter each other on the trampoline. What’s a girl to do?
  7. The snack demands are high. Middle ate a whole box of strawberries the other day and had a little accident. I was so chuffed that he wanted fruit instead of anything else, I didn’t think of the consequences.
  8. As above, my bum wiping game has been bolstered during lockdown. I’m the Micheal Jordan of arse wiping. But, I really shouldn’t be. Try to teach Middle that his P1 teacher won’t be doing that. Still end up doing it due to homeschooling and providing Baby with endless yoghurts.
  9. No sooner dress them, turn around, and they are naked again. In the name of whatever!!!! Why do these boys deem clothing entirely unnecessary? Maybe they are onto something however and I should once again shock the window cleaner. To be fair he didn’t take anything off my bill last time, which says a lot.
  10. Bubble mixture has saved my sanity. Baby is entirely enthralled. Huge shoutout to Jeff Bezos sitting in one of his huge mansions whilst not paying corporation tax. I’ve got you Jeff, enjoy your view whilst I look at Middle’s arse.
  11. Putting subtitles on Netflix is still learning right? I mean, it’s the same as the reading platform surely?
  12. Eldest has progressed from Joe Wicks and has now formulated his own home workout. Which mainly involves using a baby step to do push-ups on the kitchen counter, right at the fridge. Considering that’s the main focal point of my day, it’s a complete hindrance. Someone give me half of his energy- I need it.
  13. You should never finish on an odd number, IXL has taught me that. Yet here I am doing it. I’ve literally learnt nothing.

All in all, I’m losing it. But, it’s normal (I think). I love these kids with every fibre in my body, I just didn’t expect to be seeing so much of them. On the other hand, it’s been a blessing. I’ve learnt to adjust how I do schoolwork with Eldest. I’ve realised how utterly frustrated he gets and I’ve had to deploy different methods to quell said frustration. I would never have learnt that otherwise, homework was always such a rush. I’ve learnt that Middle farts an awful lot but is also highly intelligent (when he isn’t acting the eejit). Baby’s speech has come on enormously, having been around the others much more than he would normally be. It doesn’t make it any easier though. The bathroom has become my sanctuary when I want to break free and have a sob. Feel free to lose it sometimes. We are only human after all. Coronavirus seemingly didn’t meet a mum before. Bring it on (unless there is a second wave and I end up homeschooling again).

Slave To Elave

It’s not a generally held viewpoint, but I hate the summer. Don’t get me wrong- I love the fact that we can all dine alfresco, get the paddling pool out and relax but, there’s one main reason as to why I hate summer- eczema (yes, that again!).

Eczema can be worse in the summer or winter. Myself and Middle’s always seems to get worse the second the sun emerges. The thought of putting suncream on his skin when it’s so broken, fills me with utter dread. Also, as it’s on my hands too, I fear for myself. I’ve literally been going through psychological warfare with suncream for a month now. As stupid as that may seem!

Last week, the lovely guys at https://gardinerfamilyapothecary.com/ sent me some of their Elave products for us both to try- suncream, aftersun, moisturisers and bath products. I always go into these things expecting little….. boy, was I wrong! The packaging highlighted everything from the outset- organic, no sulfates, paraben or alcohol. All the things that typically exasperate any skin condition. This was looking promising.

Luckily for us, it was the best day weather-wise fell the following day. I braced myself to tackle Middle with the suncream. He usually starts crying immediately and runs like the clappers when he sees me brandishing any form of cream. I explained that this was a new cream and would help his skin whilst playing in the sun. No tears from him nor myself upon applying- that’s a first! At one stage he even asked if I could put some more on him!

We’ve used all the products for a week now and I have to say I’m majorly impressed. The suncream is amazing. We spent all day outside and no burning whatsoever. Both our skins felt hydrated and not at all irritable. Unfortunately, my sister didn’t fare the same way when at the beach but that gave me the opportunity to try out the Elave Aftersun on her. She too was impressed but I didn’t want to part with the bottle (sorry sis/auntie me me- I hope you slept ok and have forgiven my selfishness).

If you or your little one suffers from any kind of dry or sensitive skin condition, please try these products. I won’t be buying anything else after having used them. I love how they are organic- but, what I really like is the fact they actually work!

To all my fellow weary, homeschooling mums, check out their Sensitive Daily Skin Defence cream also. I’ve been using it after taking my make up off each night and my face is as smooth as Baby’s backside! Who needs botox?

You can buy the products at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com, delivered right to your doorstep.  At the minute they have a fab offer on their two Sun Safe Essentials bundles at £35.99, a saving of over £5.50.  Both bundles contain Botanical Aftersun 250ml and Hand Sanitiser 100ml, with the adult bundle also containing an SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen and the baby/junior bundle also containing a Paediatric SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen.

Follow Elave Skincare on Instagram @gardinerfamilyapothecary; on Facebook at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com; and on twitter at GF_Apothecary, so you can keep updated on all their latest products and money-saving offers.

A miracle in tube form!

Things I’ve Learnt During Lockdown

  1. Lockdown is the absolute pits.
  2. Lockdown with kids is even worse than the pits. I mean, I’m seriously beginning to question the path I took in life and am fairly certain I should be in lockdown with Jamie Dornan right now. Fate dealt me a very cruel hand.
  3. I started off homeschooling like Miss Honey from Matilda but within two weeks had morphed into Miss Trunchbull. Flinging them out the back, minus the pigtails of course!
  4. I am a hairdresser, albeit the worse one that ever existed. The kids are walking around with haircuts that only Joe Exotic would be proud of. Thank god only the neighbours can see them! It’s Carole Baskin’s fault anyways.
  5. I tried to Tik Tok, I failed to Tik Tok, yet I’m now addicted and can’t help myself. I have officially fallen into the ‘over 30’s who are tik toking’ category and I’m not even ashamed. Eldest disowned me after I proudly showed him my Blinding Lights challenge that took me a week to master. Aw well, one less one to talk to.
  6. I miss my mum and I miss her helping me. But, the second this is over, the boys will be flung into her house and left for at least a week. She “misses them so much” after all. Let’s see if she is still saying that afterward.
  7. I’ve started to dance and sing along to the BBC news bulletin every time it comes on. This is uncool on many fronts but mainly because I’m trusting the BBC to disseminate information that isn’t biased. I can’t help it, it’s easier to get to as just after CBeebies on the guide.
  8. Routine is becoming harder and harder to maintain. I mean, I don’t even know what day it is! The BBC should add the day to their ticker that has the time on it. Maybe I should email and ask them?
  9. Mrs Hinch can f right off now because there is zero chance of me keeping my house in any kind of order at the minute. I’ve no sooner tidied one room, turn around and they’ve wrecked the next room. I’m too busy tidying, I haven’t even looked at my Zoflora or bleach. RIP the loves of my life. We shall meet again when this is over! Thank god for the robotic hoover.
  10. Boredom seems to cause children to eat your entire Tesco shop in two days. I feel like all I do is shout “but you only had a drink and snack five minutes ago!”. It’s driving me bat shit crazy (excuse that unintentional pun).
  11. Toddlers during lockdown are the absolute worse. I thought Baby was bad before all this but, tantrums galore! All whilst I try to homeschool. If he continues his shenanigans, I will post him to Boris who can deal with him personally. What’s one more to him after all?
  12. The kids moan all day to go out on their daily walk then when we do, it descends into chaos and at least two of them in tears. Baby also insists on bringing the electric quad every time, going at a pace of 1 mph. Arrgghhh!!!
  13. For all the moaning I did, thank God I bought that trampoline last year.
  14. I’ve learned that although difficult, I have survived and will keep on surviving. Did I just quote Destiny’s Child there? I’m such a philosopher! I really believe that one day we will look back however and will these days back- despite the stress and chaos. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!

Lockdown Log continued….

Day whatever (have lost count of days)

Have five kids six and under to look after whilst my midwife sister goes to work. Wake up already dreading the day ahead. It’s hard enough to keep three boys entertained daily let alone one more plus a girl. How will I even homeschool? Decide that homeschooling can royally f#ck itself today as keeping them all alive is surely more important. Start the day with Joe Wicks to expel their energy. All receptive to begin with. From yesterday however, Eldest has suddenly started ‘working out’ after watching something on YouTube. He therefore performs Joe’s workout whilst weight lifting Baby’s trike. All of us struggle for space to perform said workout and, at one point, I realise that my two-year-old niece can do push up’s better than me. Send them outside afterward so I can puff and pant like the unfit person I am. Call them back in to watch Maddie Moate’s science show. She has found some poo in her garden apparently and we should all be riveted by this. Kids all watch it for ten minutes. Kids all f#ck off. I am still watching however as seemingly I have gone mad and can’t stop watching until I am certain which animal said poo belongs to. Oh, it belonged to a deer! Close YouTube whilst realising it’s obvious Maddie has no kids as she is very relaxed and happy 24/7. I hate her.

Next day

Feeling bolstered by the fact I kept five kids alive yesterday, including two two-year-olds. This surely warrants me receiving the Victoria Cross? Make breakfast, get them dressed and attempt some worksheets. Middle laments the fact that he can’t do them. I tell him he can. He glares at me and tells me, quite matter of factly, that I am “an idiot”. Resist the urge to reply. I mean, what would a teacher do? Deep breaths. Eldest has navigated his sheets himself and all is in order. But, he has chosen a maths-related worksheet and that’s his strong suit. Make him do an English one. Well, what a bad idea that was! He’s now crying and so am I. We cannot ‘English’ together. Some things never change, lockdown or not. As if that’s not bad enough, I appear to be unable to bend down to pick things up. Which is not okay when every bit of Lego they own is over my whole downstairs! Have a slight panic that this could be some kind of unreported symptom of Coronavirus. Remember that it is more than likely Joe Wick’s fault. Good looking man- very bad on the body however (I imagine his wife would say otherwise). I think you might have to shove your workouts for the foreseeable Joe and I will stick to making your rather epic chicken and leek pie! #Foodoverfitness.

What day is it even?

It’s the start of a new week, hooray! NOT! Even worse, it’s raining. What the hell do I do now? Eldest has now taken to walking around brandishing the trike and the quad to “make his muscles bigger”. He is six. Yes, six! Tell him he needs to calm down then remember the Tae Bo obsession I went through at fifteen. Was so obsessed, I was tae boing from the living room to the kitchen (to eat a burger probably). This whole experience is showing me that they are so like me. Middle is correct, I am “an idiot” and should never have had kids.

What day is it still?

It’s 3pm and I have retired to the bathroom to have a sob and some tranquility. The door is being pounded by one of them. “Mum, Mum, come out! My tooth has fallen out!”. Quickly pull myself together. Open the door to be greeted by Eldest brandishing his tooth like he’s Charlie from Willy Wonka and has just won the golden ticket. Dissolve back into tears. His first tooth gone! Why am I crying over a tooth? Tell him the tooth fairy will visit tonight. He keeps asking when he can go to bed. That one loves money, especially when it isn’t his own! All to bed and hunt out £2. Pour a glass of wine.

Next day

Eldest awakes. He informs me that the tooth fairy has been. Thank god she is still classed as a key worker! He tells me he will put his newly acquired funds in his money box. Watch whilst he does this. Realise quite swiftly that there is a £10 note in it. “Where did you get that from?” I ask whilst seething. “Oh, I took it out of your purse the other day, hid it in the photo frame so you wouldn’t find it, then transferred it to my moneybox”. This kid has been here before. Not even starting with coins but stealing notes! I had been scratching my head the last few days wondering where on earth I’d spent that. Realise a good life lesson for him right now is to steal from the rich as opposed to the poor. Download Robin Hood onto his Kindle.

Lockdown Log (Day three)

Well, I didn’t see that coming- not! Here’s how we have fared during the first few days of lockdown. Disclaimer: May have lost it more than once.

Day announcement made

Get up at the usual time and dress kids. Grab a cup of tea and proceed to homeschool. Eldest is highly receptive and enthusiastic- weird. Homework never goes as easy! Middle loves doing his worksheets but needs a lot of guidance. Eldest continually tells Middle that his effort at circling words is “absolutely rubbish!”. Middle begins to cry. Too early for wine? Yes, it’s not even 11 am (sigh). Morning work done, tablets permitted whilst I get ready. Any point doing your make up if you can’t go anywhere? What if there is a worldwide shortage of concealer? Decide to just leave it. Coronavirus doesn’t care if I have makeup on I’m sure. By the time I’m ready, the boys have started knocking lamps out of each other and are getting restless. Make lunch then head out for a walk. Every elderly person in the area has decided to do the same. FMAL. I have one flying mad on a scooter, Middle is on the Paw Patrol ride on and Baby is on a toddler trike and moving at the pace of a snail. Have to shout like a madwoman for them to pull in somewhere and keep a distance from others. All of us are coughing so I’m frightened one of them will cough in the presence of others. Seemingly no one knows the correct protocol for social distancing and we are all suddenly afraid of people. Very odd. Come home and have a wee sob. Is this real life even?

Official day one of lockdown

Decide to jump on the bandwagon and start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson as opposed to worksheets. Eldest attempts five minutes of said workout and begins to cry as he “can’t do it!”. Middle ignores all Joe’s instructions and has stripped off his jeans and pants and is raving in the corner. Baby is wailing due to my lack of yoghurt getting. It’s 9:10am. Yes, 9:10am! This bodes well. Get myself ready (finally) and prepare to do battle with something called SeeSaw Class for Eldest all whilst Middle’s teacher is sending work through for him to do on an entirely different platform. Resist the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. Having navigated both and, ready to lose the will to live, all are forced outside. Make a cup of tea and enjoy five minutes of peace and tranquility. Forget that the boys cannot spend five minutes on a trampoline without battering each other. Bring them back in. Tea goes cold as I run around getting them what feels like a million different snacks and drinks. In an effort to expel boredom, I try and get all of them to draw a rainbow to put in the window. Eldest adamant that instead of a rainbow, we should draw Mario from Super Mario. Try and explain the whole concept behind the rainbow drawing. No, still insistent on drawing Mario. Middle gives it a good go (see picture above). Possibly the worst rainbow in a window in the whole of Northern Ireland but, God loves a trier.

Day Two

Struggling to even get out of bed as my anxiety levels are through the roof from the second I wake up. Take a call from my mum who is in tears as two confirmed Coronavirus cases in my nan’s care home. I haven’t seen her bar leaving things to her door on Mother’s Day. Feel utterly helpless. I can’t hug her nor make her a cup of coffee. Even have a face to face chat to soothe her worries. She laments the fact she is missing the kids. They are missing her also. I am missing her more. Reality is setting in for everyone. Try and maintain the routine with boys but find it difficult as my head is all over the place. Get them to bed and pour a glass of wine. Read on Facebook that the NI Executive has declared that all off licenses should close with immediate effect. WTAF?! You can take away my freedom but you cannot take my wine. Arlene, have you been in lockdown with my kids? Just plain selfish! Discuss with a friend on WhatsApp about how we could do a weekly booze cruise to Dublin with her sitting in the back to socially distance ourselves. Feel placated and no longer worried about the lack of toilet roll.

Day Three

F#’k homeschooling. I will never ever again say anything negative about a teacher. The novelty has worn off. Meanwhile, I still attempt it as I am so worried about Eldest falling behind when he has a referral to Occupational Therapy in place. We may not survive this. Oh, stand-alone off licenses can now stay open! Maybe we shall survive after all! Middle appears to be taking the lockdown very seriously and has self isolated in his bed for most of the morning. That one loves his comfort! Up you get! Jesus Christ, Baby has started asking “why?” about everything going. Also, anything I try and do for him results in him screeching “I do!” whilst having a complete fit. If there is a God, is he there? If so, can you send a cleaner my way? Just realised my house has fallen to absolute pieces. Thanks!

To be continued. If I survive the next few days…..