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Mama Said: Lockdown's no picnic, says Emily Martin

We’re weeks (and weeks) into lockdown and Emily Martin has realised some things. . .

Hello, I hope you’re well. I want to start this off by saying. . . No, actually: can I just start this off by screaming? Just screaming for a few minutes if that’s OK. And please feel free to join me in a good, long scream.

(Allow for a period of screaming).

So, how are you? Me? Yeah, I’m brilliant thanks. My boyfriend and I are getting on really well. We’re basically having a second honeymoon phase where we’ve fallen in love all over again. The children are so enjoying being at home with us and just repeating the same day over and over. School work is going great. I think I should have been a teacher I’m so patient and creative! Phonics! Fractions! I’ve really taken to it and the kids seems to love my methods.

I’ve also managed to give up drinking so I’ve lost almost two stones. I look great, I feel great and I just can’t get enough of my own cooking for some reason! Beans on toast again? Spaghetti Bolognaise? Yes please.

(Allow for optional sobbing with me here, if you need to. It’s OK come on, just get it all out, that’s it, you’re OK.)

Life in lockdown - Mama Said, June 2020 (35368724)
Life in lockdown - Mama Said, June 2020 (35368724)

At the time of writing we’re five weeks into lockdown and getting just one government approved walk in our own neighbourhoods each day. And we can make an essential trip to the supermarket if needed, but we have to queue outside on little footprint stickers, side-eye people, wish we had gloves on, and get the hell out of there as fast as possible.

By the time you read this, we’ll be at least four weeks further along this path to an unknown future, so this column is a bit like a time capsule from the past.

If it were a time capsule I think I’d put inside: a rainbow drawing done by a child that says “Thank you NHS”. Some hand sanitiser. A screen shot that says “there are no delivery slots available”. Another screenshot of my COVID-19 results letting me know it’s NEGATIVE and I just have a really bad cough. Lucky me. Maybe a photo of my children eating beans on toast, watching TV. And another one of the children playing on our new garden swings. Maybe a small vial of tears.

I really hope, dear reader, that if you’ve picked up this time capsule, then by now the lockdown has ended and you are free. I hope your children are safely at school and your unmasked face is turned to the sun, feeling the warm June rays on your skin. Can you go and have a coffee in a café? Sit with your friends? Can you make plans? I hope so, but I fear it’s unlikely.

Sometimes this all feels like a big frustrating waste of time, where every day I wake up and quickly have to accept that yet another identical day has dawned. Get up, the kids get up, breakfast, do last night’s dishes, try and do some home school, do something with the washing like fold it, or hang it up, try and do some work, scroll scroll scroll through newsfeeds, have a short argument over home school, give up and put cartoons on, break up a fight, tidy up tidy up tidy up, make food, wash up, go for a walk, make food, break up another fight, scroll scroll scroll, make food again, tidy up tidy up tidy up, scroll, go to bed.

But when it’s over, and we’re assured it will be one day, I reckon we’ll have realised some things and it won’t have been a waste at all.

School teachers are angels. I want to thank them very much for teaching phonics to my child because I cannot. EE, I, EE, I, OH. What’s a split digraph? No don’t tell me please I can’t take it.

Pretty much from now on we should clap for the teachers every day when they appear at the doors and give us back our children.

I miss my parents. I miss dropping the children off at their house and I miss collecting them again, all happy and played with and full of good food. But I also miss my parents.

If any of my friends ask me to do something ever again, I will do it. Go away for the weekend, meet up for lunch somewhere. I’ll stop saying I can’t go and I’ll just start going. I haven’t seen my best friend now for probably over a year. A YEAR. My BEST FRIEND.

If I can ever again buy a box of takeaway sushi, I will savour every morsel like it’s food straight from the heavens.

Every day at 5pm I’ll just be doing something in the house, folding something up. Instead of sitting in front on the TV being reminded that behind every number is a family now enduring the worst time of their lives.

I will take nice deep lung-gulps of air when I’m outside and enjoy not holding my breath when someone jogs past me.

I’ll wash my hands a normal amount in a normal way.

I’ll appreciate seeing a man with well-cut hair.

And I’ll continue to appreciate delivery drivers and supermarket workers like I have done the past five weeks.

Shall we have another quick scream together, just to end? OK, now seal the capsule back up.

I wish you could send me one back.


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