Updated: Jul 11
Amid the current frenzy of online yoga classes; book clubs with anonymous cohorts and self-help sessions from enthusiastic professionals, we’ve taken an alternative approach: following our own path!
Oh, I know what everyone tells you: “Stick to a routine. Keep in touch. Try new activities. Eat at the same time.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear you.
Like Bridget Jones, for the first fortnight of imposed confinement, I drooled over the myriad of neuron-stimulating ‘groups’ popping-up around me.
The pressure to join-in was enormous; my electronic mantlepiece had never supported so many invitations.
‘Come along and take part’ they all trilled.
Sudoku Club from a London friend keen to nurture my mental health; Pilates from a Scottish friend keen to look after my physical health; even a ‘virtual dachshund walk’ along a make-believe beach!
Goodness, what to do next?
Like most of the UK, I secretly suspect, initially our daily routine was to be punctuated by distinct rising times, rigorous coffee breaks and formal exercise routines.
Oh yes, we would come out of this Covid confinement very much fitter, slimmer and so terribly well read!
Trying to mould teenagers into a parent-induced routine is like herding the proverbial cats, ie. really not very likely.
Many battles about daily guitar practice; absorbing a page of the delightful ‘Shakespeare for every day of the year’ and drinking water “at your usual break times” fell on very deaf ears.
Retreating to the kitchen sink, spitting and spluttering, I decided that my heart-rate just couldn’t handle the tension; feeding everyone, just keeping safe in these troubled times, is, well, frankly, as much as I can cope with.
What a failure.
And so, tah, dah; we’re going it alone!
Family life has slipped and morphed into the ultimate staycation. Now it’s get up when you feel like it; shower if you feel like it (one less bathroom to clean is fine by me), the kitchen doesn’t close at 9pm; Disney+ is having the life squeezed out of it; everyone’s daily walking allowance is gratefully received by our four-footed friend, bedtime is open to debate. “Another episode of Sherlock anyone?” Oh, why not.
Everyone is happy.
No more battles, persuasion or conflict. And it’s absolute bliss. Taking the foot off the competitive pedal has been a revelation.
The trusty iPhone keeps sending me notifications of my past life: “swimming tomorrow at 08:30” (08:30 for goodness sake, these days that’s the middle of the night!); “youth theatre at 19:00” (er, I don’t think so, that’s Archer’s time, my little Corona-free daily bubble); “noon, walk with ‘friend’” (no chance, probably drinking coffee).
I know it’s all wrong, we’ll probably (hopefully) emerge to discover that friends have gained PhDs in nuclear physics while we’ve been stockpiling ‘Gossip Girl’ intel.
Like every other household, we’re trying to make the most of the enforced family homogenisation as best we can. It’s not easy and we’re learning every day.
There is one request that I have accepted; ‘adopt a grandparent’. An appointment in the diary that is very definitely being kept, no matter what Netflix may have to offer.
Put the kettle on.
13 April 2020