We are into our fourth week of lockdown here in the UK. The girls have been out of school for all that time. I was tagged by Nige from DIY Daddy to share my COVID-19 Lockdown silver linings, and I’m so glad I was because I have been really enjoying one particular aspect of lockdown, strange as it may sound.

What Has Happened – Our reality of the events leading up to lockdown

For the purposes of future reflection, the schools broke up on Friday the 20th of March. At the time I had a bit of a meltdown. I was super stressed and had a bit of an anxiety attack at the thought of having to homeschool the younger two who are in Year 2 and Year 4. But also because my heart was breaking for my bonus daughter who has worked her butt off for the past two years preparing to write her GCSEs.

What about them? What about the Year 11 GCSE kids

Her schooling had come to an abrupt end, with very little warning. Not only was she not going to get to write her exams, but she was given two days warning to say goodbye to high-school, the teachers who supported her, their prom has been cancelled. Whilst I completely believe it was a necessary action, the uncertainty and lack of an actual answer to, “What about our exams, what about our GCSE results?” until a few weeks later was scary for her, and for us as parents.

A sense of unreal and uncertainty

Spending every day, watching the news, waiting for what we knew was coming was one thing. When it actually happened, it felt unreal. I can only imagine it’s like a slow-motion version of watching a natural disaster happen. A tornado. A perfect storm.

I won’t lie – I felt a bit numb for a few days. Like the ground had been ripped out from under us.

The reality of homeschooling my kids in Covid-19 lockdown

I have never wanted to be a home school mum. If I did, I might have still been living in Zimbabwe, on our plot. One of the main reasons we moved back to the UK was to ensure a stable and internationally recognised education foundation in a school environment for our kids.

However, when I was essentially forced into a homeschooling situation, there was nothing to do but get on with it. For the first two weeks of lockdown, we did homeschooling, and it was actually okay. Personally, I know I don’t have it in me to be a home school mum. I don’t have the patience, and it quite frankly, bores me to tears. But that’s all about me. The girls, on the other hand, were fine. In fact, they were amazing.

Their teachers uploaded a weekly schedule of learning activities for us to do. This we could download from the school website. A lot of it was based online. The biggest struggle I had was sharing the spare laptop between the two girls. My 8-year-old was verging on obsessed with completing every single task on the list in the exact order it was given. Can I get an OCD alert here?

My 6-year-old had more paper-based activities. She was more interested in getting it over with as soon as possible. Her sister wanted to sit there all day and make sure it was perfect. *Give me strength.

What is the sliver lining here – well I guess it would be that I realised that we can actually do it if we have to. My girls will get some form of education during lockdown. And it won’t break us. There will be good days and not so good days, but I feel less anxious about the responsibility of home educating my children in the immediate future.

With that said, we will be the first family at the school gate when we can safely return to school when this is all over.

My COVID-19 Silver Linings

Now that the main scary situation has been settled, here are a couple of other silver linings of lockdown that I have genuinely embraced this past month:

The gift of time!

As someone who has struggled on and off with anxiety as a mother for a number of years, I have realised that one of the biggest stresses in my life is time. Having to live our life by a clock is stressful. Whilst we have been in lockdown, with nowhere to go, no place to be other than at home, and no restrictions on how much time we have to do something, there is definitely less anxiety and less stress.

I don’t have to yell at my kids to hurry up and put their shoes on, hurry up and get in the car, hurry up because we’re going to be late for this, or to get home for that. There is no more “hurry up”!

It doesn’t matter if they sleep in until 08.30 am, because they won’t be late for school, we can just adjust our schedule.

And it doesn’t matter if we only sit down to dinner at 19.30 because we were busy playing football in the garden and enjoying the sunshine. Because, so what?

Cooking – From Scratch

The other silver lining of lockdown, which might be a bit of a cliche, is the cooking from scratch fun. I think this is more as a result of having more time than anything else, but we’re enjoying experimenting with cooking. My husband is still working, but he has definitely been more ‘in the kitchen’ than ever before. Yes, he uses every single pot, pan, spoon and cup in the kitchen. And yes, my hands are raw from all the extra washing up. But it’s been great that he is doing more of the cooking.

The fact that I don’t have to time meals to be ready for when he gets home so we can hurry up and eat as a family, then the kids can bath and get to bed means we can spend more time cooking. We have experimented with a number of different dishes, some good, some a bit of a disaster. But either way, it’s been fun.

We’ve enjoyed making things from scratch, and let’s face it, if you haven’t baked banana bread the past month, were you even in Lockdown 2020?

Banana Bread

Family Time in Lockdown

I know this might be a bit of a cliche, again, because we’re all having more family time as a result of COVID-19 lockdown, but it genuinely is good. Again, it links back to my initial point about the gift of time. Even if it’s enforced, the fact that we are all forced to spend time with each other instead of outside distractions, commitments, or attractions has been good.

The things we have done as a family aren’t earth-shattering either. Simple things like going for our once a day walks together, cooking, housework, gardening. The most fun so far was teaching the younger two how to play UNO. It’s one of those old school games to teach your kids. Just be aware that you might identify certain characteristics in them that you never expected in ones so young!

Thanks to UNO, we learnt that the 6-year old is extremely cunning. She knows how to play to win, and whilst I was thrashed by a six-year-old, I’m also really proud!

And then, whilst we knew that the 8-year-old is a bad sport who can’t cope with losing, (she’s used to winning! a lot!) we were glad to discover that she’s come a long way since the entire mini-golf disaster – a story I was too traumatised to write about.

One Day At A Time

We’re just taking it day by day for now. When I start to think that the kids might not go back to school until September, I start to hyperventilate. Thinking too far into the unknown future doesn’t help me. These are definitely interesting times we’re living in. An unknown reality for all of us.

I’m nominating the following lovely bloggers to participate in the #LockdownSliverLinings challenge.

What’s your silver lining during the Covid-19 lockdown?

I’d also love to hear from anyone reading this to let me know what your silver lining is? It’s easy to let the situation we’re all in get us down, but it’s important for our mental health to actively seek out the positives in these situations. So please do pop a comment below. I’d love to hear more about you’re getting on.

#StayHome #ProtectTheNHS #SilverLinings