Lockdown V.2 – Childfree but not carefree…

We’re halfway into the first day of a second national lockdown in England and my daughter has been out of the house for over two hours. I dropped her off at the school gates this morning, kissed her goodbye through my mask and watched her disappear into the autumn mist, shepherded by a chain of teachers, towards her classroom.

I had a little stroll around the park on my way home, fired back up the coffee machine and did a bit of yoga and meditation. Still five hours until pick up.

And that’s when it hit me. As hideous as life in lockdown had been sometimes the first time round – version two has removed my most crucial crutch. If my child is being educated, fed, disciplined and cared for by someone else for over six hours every day – what will I use to excuse all my failures?

Child building Lego structure
Constructive use of time. (Nursery Whines)

I have got a job. But it is part time. So if there is no one here demanding constant snacks, entertainment and attention, what am I going to do all day?

Does this mean I might have to clean the bathroom? Dear God! I won’t be expected to shave my legs will I?!

The day is stretching out before me and I have no excuse to spend it playing Lego on an unhoovered floor. I suppose I could start working on some home-crafted Christmas decorations. But if I had made them on my own, people might expect them to not look like they were made by a five-year-old. And her fine motor skills and ability to colour within the lines already excel far beyond my own.

Child making Rice Krispie Cakes
Could Rice Krispie cakes be the new baking trend of Lockdown V.2? (Nursery Whines)

I wonder if she’ll notice if I use her colouring book when she’s not here? She’s pretty territorial about stationery. Damn, should have bought my own.

I think Joe Wicks knows how I’m feeling. Seeing as he’s agreed to restart P.E. With Joe, even though the kids are all at school anyway. I’ve already been doing children’s yoga videos by myself. It’s not just a cop out – there’s something about a storyline in a routine that really opens up my chakras.

Of course, once I pick her up from school and we get home, unable to hang around in the park, there’ll be plenty of hours to fill before bedtime. Hours of saying, “No, you can’t have another snack, you’ve already had three and I’m trying to cook you an actual meal here.” And, “Please don’t throw all your clothes out on the floor, I spent all day folding them and putting them away.” And, “Won’t you at least look at the work the teacher has sent home so I can say that I tried?” So it won’t be completely unlike the last lockdown.

Then I can still use her as a viable excuse to Facetime my family for several hours just so she can give someone else an alternate identity they must incarnate at all times, even when they need to go to the bathroom. (Oh yes, that still needs a clean.)

Box of Cadbury's Heroes
The bathroom requires cleaning but these chocolates NEED eating. (Nursery Whines)

Well. There’s another half an hour to go before I can feasibly start stringing out making lunch. Maybe I’ll do a jigsaw puzzle. Although if it doesn’t have to be aimed at children then I’d have to unroll that 1000 piece one I started in June.

I suppose I could do some housework… tidy up her bedroom… cook an elaborate recipe… start reading some informative and philosophical literature… update my CV… start THE novel… What ingredients do you need for soda bread?

Or maybe, I’ll put on my pyjamas, crack open that tin of chocolates and start binge-watching Emily In Paris

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