Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: L

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from L. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown.

If I am feeling motivated, I take advantage of it. If I am feeling down, I try to be kind to myself. I am not a super mum. I’m just a mum getting through this one day at a time.

Lockdown, or what ever you want to call it, started well. The few weeks at home before the Easter holiday were full of activity for home school, getting used to working at home and enjoying the lovely weather. We cleared our jungle of a garden and made a den, got used to being together and enjoyed it. We decided to have a break from homeschooling for the whole two weeks of the Easter holidays, and since then most of our routine has gone out of the window.

Our family is myself, my husband and our two kids ages 10 and 6. Both of us parents suffer from depression and anxiety and take daily medications. Both of our children have support in school for emotional and anger issues. So as you can imagine, we’ve had good days and bad days. The kids play with each other, and fight about as much. We lie in until late, really late some days, try to work and try to stay active.

We go out for our daily exercise maybe every two to three days. We have adopted Chapter Arts Centre carpark as our personal skate park, so the kids zoom around doing laps and learning new ‘tricks’ while us parents walk laps and chat about how our mental health is and what we’re having for tea.

Some days I’ll do some work (I’ve set my hours between 11am and 3pm) and feel like I’ve been productive, supported my team and produced something useful. Other days I’ll feel massive guilt for doing nothing, for getting distracted by funny videos on Facebook or lovely houses on Instagram.

Some days I don’t worry about not doing much homeschooling, letting the kids play Animal Crossing on the Switch and watch YouTube videos. Some days I’m in tears, worrying about how far behind they are, how little writing they’re doing, how they’re missing out on doing cool stuff like other kids are.

We’re doing our best. As everyone is. But sometimes our best just doesn’t feel good enough.

I thought I’d be cleaning and sorting and decorating, I thought I’d be doing daily workouts and doing science experiments with the kids. But I’m not. I’m giving them extra hugs and kisses. Allowing them to use their imagination to play their own games. Allowing them to sleep as long as they want and need. Talking to them. Making sure they are ok. Asking if they miss school, and honestly, they don’t. Apart from seeing other people, they are very happy and settled at home.

Not everyone is able to keep to a schedule and do something everyday that might be seen as worthy or productive or creative. But we can do what we need to cope, to keep our children comfortable and to allow our mental health not to rule over everyday.

I am not sure what my kids will remember of this time at home, but I hope they will look back on it and see that they were loved, warm, fed, enjoyed playing games and watching cool TV and films, relaxing and just being themselves. And that’s all I want for them right now.

If you need advice on managing your mental health, Cardiff Mind also have some resources you can access immediately, including online guides and counselling services.

Want to write for Letters from Cardiff in lockdown? Find out how here…

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