Isolation aka Confinement or even Detachment

Well what a few months we’re going through, this big ass storm that we’re all in. Some in rubber dingies, some yachts and some on luxury cruise liners (obviously not literally). If someone had said to me this time last year the whole world would stop and we would all have to isolate ourselves from each other for 12 weeks or more I would’ve wondered what planet we were on! I’m just about to enter week 9, and the novelty has clearly worn off but I’m too tired to care!

Us brits talk about the weather ALOT but I think this is finally something we’re talking about more than the weather! The communities are getting together so much more than before, I live in a village where there are so many helping each other; collecting prescriptions and doing shopping for the vulnerable. Huge respect (as it should be) being shown for all the front line staff, appreciating the NHS every Thursday evening at 8 by standing at our front doors and clapping. I have a friend who is a nurse and she cries with emotion whenever she hears it (when she’s not working), she’s separated from her family living in accommodation near the hospital. She’s not seen her children for almost a month now, huge respect and love for those in that situation.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to separated from William for that amount of time. Come to think of it, at the moment, I cannot imagine what it would be like to be separated from William for more than a few hours! He has not left our side since this all started, we are getting more and more worried and his behaviour has been awful at times, his eating is all over the place and his sleeping pattern is really suffering with the worst night to date being last night.

I was a bit reluctant to blog about this because I thought people reading this would think “oh ok, she’s trying to make out she’s got it hard” or even “here we go a mummy who thinks she knows everything and is going to tell us all how to bring up children, next she’ll be writing a book.” I am actually writing this because until last week, I actually thought that the way William was acting was a bit too much. There I’ve said it, and I sound like an awful mum to think that he would just act like the same child as before even though he’s been stuck in the family home 24/7 for the last 8 weeks. This child that has been following us around like a lost puppy, or as my husband puts it we are the pied piper.

Since this all began my new nickname for William as been Linus, one of my favourite animation characters from Charlie Brown. He wouldn’t go anywhere without his comfort blanket, and he would just go with whatever everyone else was doing because he is a follower. This is William at the moment and it’s a different comforter every day, it’s been various soft toys and the most important one at the moment is the muzzy. That large square of cotton I’ve had since he was a baby, luckily I’m stocked up with hundreds of these that are washed on a daily basis!

I’m going off track here a bit, but I wanted to share what isolation has been like with a three year old because I suspect there are other mums that are going through the same with the pre-school age group. Obvisouly older and younger children are going through different issues, but they’re all different. But William is an active child who is used to being outside all the time; in the woods at preschool or at the park. We’re lucky enough to have a garden, and before lockdown we managed to get a nice little wooden play house with slide which we now have in the garden. However he hardly goes in it, in fact the favourite thing to do at the moment is sit in it with daddy and read stories.

So there I was last week, in tears not knowing what to do. I didn’t know if this was all normal, if anyone else was going through this. I wondered if there was anyone I could talk to about it who was also in the same situation, I was scrolling through various accounts on instagram but just finding lovely pictures of what they’d been doing in lockdown with the darlings and it was all full of lovely family pictures of children doing craft, baking and playing. There were some with reality pictures of kids screaming or laying on the floor looking pretty fed up, but they were all older or younger children and not of Williams age. So I bit the bullet and put out my cry for help (quite literally).

I was so relieved when I had a message from a fellow mum of a boy the same age as William contacting me, it was so lovely to have that first message to say ‘hey you’re not alone’ that there are other boys (and girls) of that age acting out having tantrums, hitting, kicking and even spitting because they have no way to control their emotions and don’t know how to communicate. I then had a couple of other messages from fellow mums who were faced with similar problems, William had gone backwards with his potty training and I had actually complained to my husband saying he was being lazy. Huge mum guilt when I actually realised he was actually doing it to cry out for attention because he didn’t know what to do with himself.

Some of these children are so confused right now, and the more I think about it the more guilty I feel. I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck at the moment and unfortunately he has picked up on that so I am to blame for some of this, but I said to my husband I think we should just go with it at the moment and when this is all over draw a line under it and start again.

I am not telling other people to do it this way, because it won’t work for everyone but we all have a different ways of working and don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing because if you’re their parents you know the best thing to do and that’s what I’ve always stuck to.

I know my boy likes routine so as long as I stick with it, he seems more settled about things. I know it’s tiring and I’ve been drinking more alcohol than I do usually and I can imagine those recycling bottle banks will be overflowing when this is over but the light is at the end of the tunnel. I can see it, it’s small but it’s there!

Please talk to each other, even the mums you don’t know that well. I follow people on Twitter and Instagram that only post the pictures they want others to see and I can see why, because that’s what I usually do. But if you have a bad day, just get it off your chest, you won’t get judged, you’ll probably get support.

And finally to those with adult or no children, you’re lucky this time….but don’t get overconfident! Yes I’m jealous and that’s why I said it!

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