The last few months have certainly been challenging. There is no doubt about that. But in the parenting sphere, I haven’t been able to relate to most of the voices that are sharing their experience. The voices that are cheering about kids going back to school and life starting to return to normal. That isn’t my experience.

The thought of emerging from our bubble to “normal” life – whatever that looks like – is filling me with dread. For every difficult moment I have had during this time there have been 10 moments that have made me appreciate the time I have had with my family. Arguments over schoolwork… bickering between the kids… trying to juggle full-time work with online learning and everything else for my family… they have all been outweighed by positive experiences.

Positive changes

My three-year-old has absolutely thrived while at home. She can now jump higher than I ever thought a three-year-old could jump on a trampoline. I’ve watched her blossom before my eyes, joining in on games with her sister and occupying herself with creative play while the rest of us get on with work and schooling.

My six-year-old is more aware of what is happening in the world outside our home and she, like me, doesn’t want our self-isolation to end. I feel like I’ve been handed an invaluable gift to see how she learns… and to contribute in a meaningful way to her confidence and approach to learning.

The relationship between my two girls has never been stronger. As a family, I thought we were tight before this experience… but we have grown beyond that. And personally, I feel more rested. I have enjoyed more of the simple things in life. And I’m happy.

The return to normal?

Back in March, before we made the decision to pull the kids out of school and daycare, I wasn’t sleeping and I was sick with worry. Little did I know that the day we decided to stay put behind the safety of our front door for a little while as a family would do more than ease those knots in my stomach.

As the world starts to open up again, I am hesitant to step outside. My temporary normal has been so comfortable. We have tended our veggie garden and spent time baking, reading and crafting. I have been able to Konmari the kid’s clothes and tackled a different home project every weekend. And I’ve done it all with my three favourite people in the world.

That knot in my stomach is starting to form again. I’m losing the control I’ve had to keep my family as safe as I possibly can. And more than the stress and worry about what is out there beyond the safety of our four walls, I can feel the rush and busyness of life starting to creep back in. Washing uniforms and packing lunchboxes… the morning drudgery to get off to school and the daily race to make pick up on time.

I don’t want that.

I want to saviour these slow days when family time starts the moment we are together as a family, not just the 20 minutes over dinner when my husband gets home from work before we race to bath the kids and put them to bed. I want weekends where I can simply potter around the garden or read a book in the sun.

Of course, I want this horrible virus to be gone so no more people lose their lives and so we are all safe. So we can travel or greet a friend with a hug and a kiss. But I do hope that in the midst of all this we can take the silver linings and turn them into positive change for the future.

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