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  • Shwetha Jairam

What will “normal” feel like?


Maybe it’s a bit premature to be talking about normality just yet, but I’m sure the thought is on all of our minds. It’s been more than 6 weeks, and what a bizarre time it has been! One we will all be talking about and referring to in the future.

While I am quite eager to hear how BoJo is planning to release us from our cages. I find myself looking around my “cage” and introspecting. It’s been tough for a lot of us: lots of anxiety and worries about health and finance. Being at home 24/7 has been far from a walk in the park, more so for some than others.

But strangely, it has also been a time of bonding with the ones we have been stuck with, I mean live with.

I have had some serious epiphanies about my limits after hitting new levels of nuclear with my kids, and I also learnt that I have very low tolerance for a slow internet connection! Grrr...

And my partner... on a lot of days he was just part of the furniture! On many of the evenings, after the kids were put to bed, we found ourselves sinking into our own zones on the world wild web.

So, one day we decided to talk, like we used to talk, about books and old movies and music and FEELINGS! What a lovely change from obsessing about the kids and the house budgets! It didn’t happen all the time (that would be weird) but when we did make an effort to reach out, it was magical and I realised I actually quite like him, of course we love each other, but to become friends again, that was special.

The first few weeks were also hard in terms of exercise. I couldn’t get myself to get out on my runs! It used to be my salvation! But my legs were so heavy like they were lined with lead and I felt like I was running through a bog! It didn’t help that I had turned into a snack-hoover. I scoffed down every bit of food I came across, even left-overs on my kid’s plates wasn’t missed!

And if that wasn’t enough, I started baking bread! It was like I had to create food just for me to consume! I turning to cooking and baking as some kind of cathartic release. After losing my temper over some small slight, I would snatch up the scales and whip up a batch of muffins. I scouted the internet for flour and sugar and when I did find some it was like finding gold.

I am still eating way too much but I have managed to get back into some semblance of a routine for exercise. I now realise how reliant I am on the More Than Mums community to stay fit.

When the lockdown is lifted and we are allowed to intermingle with others of our species again, the first thing I would love to do is to go for a run to Hampstead Heath with my running buddies. That would be epic! I do hope that would mean the end of the non-stop eating. I think I will still make my own bread, the warm small of baking bread is so soothing! But hopefully I won’t need to dig to the bottom of a tub of ice cream in search of normality (fingers crossed).

Despite the many downsides, for me the slower pace has had moments of true happiness. Kind neighbours have shared toys, books, supermarket delivery slots, medicines and other essentials like chocolate and wine! I don’t think lockdown would have been tolerable without weekly pavement conversations.

While I disliked the demands of home-schooling, I got to understand where my 7-year-old was at in terms of his school work. I realised where he needed extra help and we put our heads together and learned together. My older son even taught my 4-year-old how to write his name. I must say he is way more patient than I am!

At the end of all of this, when life get back to its frenetic pace, I dearly hope that we walk away from this roller-coaster time cherishing the good memories and also really valuing the strength we get from our family and our wonderful community.

Most importantly, I hope we all remember to slow down, at least once in a while.
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