Column: Being a mother in times of a lockdown

Since Monday the school gates are closing to protect against the corona virus. Only the parents who are in the care sector or really can’t find shelter are admitted. In itself a very logical choice. Those who can work from home are asked to take care of the children themselves. And finally: don’t bring your children to the grandparents. No strange decision and in itself easy to handle.

A large part of the population cannot stay at home. Just think of employees in the care sector or who work in food stores. In my opinion those people deserve a big applause after this fuss is over. I am all too aware of the risks they have to take day in and day out. My respect for these people is immense.

I belong to the population that has a little ‘more’ luck. I stay home, I take care of my two year old toddler for a whole day. And although I have no right to complain, I am safe in my familiar cocoon, I am going to do this. The corona virus has an effect on all of us. People who go to work are constantly at risk of infection, older people live in isolation and loneliness and mothers go crazy.

‘How unconditionally I love my daughter, this is the third day of the lockdown and I feel how little patience I have left. The only prospect I have is that it will only be 26 days before she goes back to school.’


Another perspective

I have to admit that when a few weeks ago the word corona became a daily concept, I wasn’t too worried. I tried not to worry too much in all the media fuss, and minimized the problem. In my opinion, this new virus was a match for the known flu. But my husband thought differently. 

It’s no secret that we’re totally different on a plane like this. He’s worried about the least. I’m often far too lax. So when he gave me a daily update of the newspaper articles on corona, I listened with only one ear. After a while I also just asked him to stop. He was driving himself crazy. 

And then came the official letter from the school; children had to stay at home at best.

It looked like my husband couldn’t take his luck. At last he seemed to be right: our daughter would stay home. He didn’t see any problem in this, because how hard could it be? In his eyes the next five weeks would be a long weekend for Annabel, nothing would change, wouldn’t it?! 

I only saw the long tunnel of five weeks with my toddler. Watch out, I love her very much but in my perspective I saw some pitfalls and alarming issues. What in God’s name would I have to do all day? In my husband’s eyes there seemed to be nothing difficult about staying home with Annabel, but he just doesn’t realize what it’s all about.

‘So today I give myself permission to complain. In fact, I give this permission to every mommy who takes care of her children at home, all day long and for the next five weeks.’


Mummy versus Daddy

My husband just keeps working at night. During the day he sleeps and around 4pm his alarm goes off. I think he deserves his moment to get up quietly, so around five o’clock he completely takes up his father’s role. Usually he has some time left to play and put her in the bath. He is also the best cook of the two of us so he takes on that task. And since Annabel is more fan of my qualities as a reader, I often put her to bed. Although my husband is a great, fantastic daddy for our daughter, the time with her is pretty undivided. 

‘He spends about three hours with her, me from morning till evening. Can you tell the difference?’

On the weekends that he is at home she gets his full attention and he does this with a lot of love and pleasure. No booger or nappy is too much for him and it seems as if he never loses his patience. I am often jealous of this. Sometimes I wish I had a little more of his patience, because in my eyes he is the better parent. The one Annabel deserves.There are a lot of moments through the days when I feel like I want to scream. But then I also realize that I’m the one who’s going through this lockdown with her and not him.


Safety above all, with a mental breakdown. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t look up to the next five weeks. But I insist that health is important, the most important thing of all. The health of my daughter, the health of my grandparents and the health of my family and friends. So no matter how hard I complain, I am aware that closing schools was the only and best option to defeat the corona virus.

But that doesn’t mean this whole lockdown is going to be a piece of cake. Playgrounds will be closed, swimming pools will be closed and don’t take a walk or you’ll get a misplaced look from people. Stay in your home, that’s the slogan that is now permanently appearing on social media and some people don’t seem to realize how difficult this is for a mother of a two year old. Because my two year old doesn’t understand the closure, my daughter doesn’t understand why we stay at home all the time. My daughter is two and is in the phase where she wants to get her way most of all. And that worries me, honestly, sometimes a mental breakdown.

So yeah, today I’m complaining. And probably tomorrow. But I take care every day, the next few weeks are all about staying inside with my daughter. Looking for structure and activities for her. Activities for which I do my best and in which she often enough has no eye or interest.

Countdown

I sing, I dance, I tell stories, I do arts and crafts and people expect me to do my work from home. Since college is closing and I like to graduate for this school year, I have to find time for this as well. So within 26 days, when this fuss – hopefully – is over, I think every mother deserves a round of applause, if only a little one.

This article has been written by @SMOTHERHOODS

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