Home baking, this week’s efforts include focaccia and carrot bread.
A tiny new arrival.
Having a manicure and a pedicure for the first time since March. I’ve had time during lockdown to consider my priorities. And I’m happy to support a small local business and have some pampering every three weeks.
Working from home.
Sending off ever more baby stuff to new homes. A bath, nightdresses, a double buggy and other assorted stuff we no longer need have gone. And knowing that we have no pangs of regret about letting go of any of it.
I’m looking on the bright side of having no commute and being able to claw back some time to deal with a few small but irritating jobs. I’ve tried to ignore entirely the annoying entreaties on social media to use the increase in down time at home to learn valuable skills or increase my desirability or functionality as an employee or human being.
This week my small but manageable goals included organising clothes recycling, wrapping birthday gifts and doing a full clean of our house. I’ve ticked all of them off my list and thus I have a guilt free weekend ahead. Another week over, another week close to things feeling ever so slightly more normal.
My life has shrunk a lot in recent weeks. Like everyone else, my days revolve around home and the 2km radius around it. I miss leaving the house to go to work. I am not stay at home parent material. I make mental lists of things to do and then berate myself for not getting through them. My goals are small and the days are long. I’ve realised it isn’t healthy or productive for me to dwell on all the things I feel I should be doing but which remain undone.
I’ve reconciled myself to small potatoes. Getting one area tidied and reorganised is an achievement. Making it through some school work with the children every day is another. Keeping us all fed relatively well is something I’m going to pat myself on the back for. An empty laundry basket almost every day certainly sparks enough joy to keep me happy.
Incidentally, I had completely forgotten about the X-Files episode that inspired the name of this post until I was reminded of it in a Facebook group. Social media is definitely a help these days.
Like many others, the past month has involved a lot of Looking on the Bright Side and Learning to Appreciate How Lucky I Am and Planning on Doing all the Things. This month, my joys have been:
Cooking and baking. It has been nice to be able to cook what I feel like on any given day. Life usually involves a lot of Planning of the Meals, and it is nice to not have to do this too much.
Our back garden. Never have I been so grateful for a large outdoor space where one or all of us can escape. Saturday was glorious, and the seed pots from Lidl I’d squirelled away last year provided some free and much needed entertainment.
The Lindt easter egg I added to an online supermarket shop several weeks ago. I’ve already eaten all of the sublime little eggs that came with it and the big egg won’t last much longer.
Getting Some of the Things done, like cleaning my makeup brushes, sorting out some cupboards and stripping some laundry. A project a day keeps some of the existential dread away.
Going to work. Driving into work. Alone. Sitting in a room. Alone. Doing deadline sensitive work. Alone. Eating food I did not cook. Alone. Drinking coffee. Alone. Driving home blasting Nirvana on the radio. Alone.
I won’t make any effort to pretend that all of these things have made life easy. All of us are finding this hard. I won’t make any effort to pretend this is a battle we’re fighting. Staying at home and eating and watching too much television and consuming too much social media isn’t a fight. It’s an attempt to just get through each day without wondering how much longer we’ll all have to do this.
Well, it has been quite the fortnight. Hard to believe that this time two weeks ago I was planning on how to juggle homeschooling and some level of normal life which would include working from home as much as possible. Like everyone else we know, life has come to a shuddering halt and we are Living Alone (As A Family) and (Trying To) Like It.
I have to be honest, I have really struggled with the giant shift that has taken place. I haven’t been on top of any areas of my life, including the writing of my blog which is such a good outlet for me. I haven’t been a stellar homeschooler. I have cleared out and organised very few cupboards. The house is a mess. There is lego EVERYWHERE, even in our tiny en suite. I have been snappier than usual and I have not been as Mary Poppinsish as I would like.
I’ve had to learn to let a lot more things go. The children are watching a lot of TV. We don’t have tablets but I’m quite sure if we did they’d be handed over frequently. If they want to spend all day in their pajamas, I’m letting them. Quite frankly, I haven’t had the headspace to deal with any discipline problems. I’m hoping there’s a few happy memories for them, mixed in with the chaos.
The next few days and weeks will be better. I’ve stopped wallowing. I’ve made plans. Today, I put on makeup and a dress and I feel better. I’m going to reread Marjorie once again, because her advice to Take Yourself Firmly In Hand still rings true. We are in this together, and separately, and we will just have to learn, once again, to Live Alone and Like It, and maybe get to love it and learn some valuable lessons.
This is not a photo of me but it is how I felt for most of last week. We all succumbed to one form of illness or another. It was a loooooooooooooong week.
I love modern medicine. I love antibiotics used appropriately. I love my husband for minding all of us with such patience. I love not feeling crap for 90% of the day. I love bleach and clean sheets and catching up on the mountain of laundry.
I bought this set of milestone cards when I was pregnant with Baby Orchid. It was an impulse purchase during a summer supermarket run. I thought it would be fun to document the first year of Baby’s life and know exactly what age he was in pictures. We dutifully opened the box every week, and then every month, snapped some pictures and then put the cars and blanket away. Earlier this month I made a couple of photobooks and the best pictures went into one of them, a whole book of him to savour and keep.
Yesterday, I passed this onto another pregnant woman. I offered it on a freecycle Facebook group and it was snapped up almost immediately. I tucked it into an overfull bag before my commute and handed it over at lunchtime. We exchanged good wishes and went our separate ways, she to the beginning of the end of pregnancy and I to the end of the beginning of our final steps into parenting.
It feels good to pass things on, knowing that we won’t use them or need them ever again We’re slowly filtering out what’s been outgrown or what we’ve kept ‘just in case’ and now know ‘in case’ never came. We have very little baby stuff left. I have a box of sentimental clothes and cards and a few other small things.
We still have the cot all three of our children have slept in, and I’m torn on what to do once that’s no longer needed. I have a love/hate relationship with our SUV of a buggy, but I’ll probably miss it when its gone. I know soon enough I’ll be passing on our slings to someone with babies who needs it and that we’ll be taking out the next size of clothes from the attic and giving away the smaller ones rather than packing them away for a possible baby of our own.
I don’t miss vast swathes of the intense early days with a small baby. I can’t forget the shattering tiredness and the resentful feeling that can wash over you when you’re a baby’s sole source of food. I miss parts of it more than I expected, and what I miss has surprised me a bit. I smile at new babies and bigger babies, and I have a small pang that this stage of life has gone forever for us. But the next bit is good, and the bit after that, and it will be nice to let go of the stuff we don’t need any more and send it off to those who do.
More library books via the inter-library loan system. I keep saying it, but our library is amazing.
Unexpected time with family due to a mix up over the weekend.
Pecan, walnut and almond pie. The nuts were a little past their best, but the pie transformed them into deliciousness. Yum.
Recycling things we can’t pass on and passing on things we don’t need or use any more. I get such a kick out of the zero waste and freecycle groups on Facebook.
Saying goodbye to Ugg boots that are so old and well worn the soles are too flat to allow me to walk safely on slippy paths. My husband gave me a new pair for Christmas, so these ones have been thanked and sent off for recycling.