This was a journal entry I had written in the middle of the 8-week lockdown period in Switzerland. Reading this again recently made me smile, realising that though my perspective of the world seemed so grim at the time, we did manage through those long weeks confined at home, and came out more conscious as a family about our daily routine and the people and places we visit.
In the early days when the first social distancing restrictions were put in place, my biggest nightmare was having to keep our three young boys at home for 14 days. Priding ourselves of raising “free-range” kids, I was already conjuring up ideas of a family-escape to the woods just to avoid having to keep them confined indoors for that long, should the quarantine measures be declared.
So, when the announcement came so suddenly one Friday afternoon in mid-March that schools would be closed in our region for the next 7 weeks, I tried to pinch myself awake only to feel the pain and realize this nightmare just got worse!
In the meantime, the children have taken to purging their daily frustrations by screaming “Ayayay, Coronavirus!” out the patio door
Looking back, I remember experiencing the first week in slow-motion, spending all of my waking hours scrambling to get some kind of rhythm in place while consuming all the news updates on all online platforms I could find, in an attempt to make sense of the world, all the new rules, and the unfolding crisis.
Even though I’ve been working from home now for a year – work has still been affected, not because there is less to do, but because it is paired with never-ending chores at home. Though my husband has been able to adjust his schedule to accommodate working from home some of the time, I still dread the days and occasional evenings he has to be away when the 8-year-old’s home-schooling, the 5-year-old’s fits, and the 2-year-olds tantrums all seem to collide with my own project deadlines.
The only practical solution has been to shift my working hours to early mornings before they wake and late evenings after bedtime. A solution that leaves me deprived of sleep but probably less tired than trying to be in 5 places at once throughout the day…
It’s been four weeks since they closed the schools. Now, I only have a vague memory of our lives pre-corona or how it feels to have a full night’s rest. In the meantime, the children have taken to purging their daily frustrations by screaming “Ayayay, Coronavirus!” out the patio door, seeing as every time we want to go out, we have nowhere to go, be it mountain, museum, restaurant, swimming pool, library, school, or even grandma’s house.
Thankfully, we’re still doing well. Healthy, sane, and getting some fresh air and sun. Fortunately, our government didn’t put in stricter lockdown measures like many neighbouring countries, so we’ve grown content with what our own house and garden can offer as long as we are able to ride out regularly on two wheels to change our mountain views and avoid succumbing to cabin fever.
Three more weeks to go, or so we hope. Of course, it’d be foolish to believe that life would bounce back to pre-pandemic days. But hopefully, once this is all over, we can all step out into the post-apocalyptic society, and my children, like many others, can reclaim their childhood and my husband and I, like other parents, our headspace.
Post lockdown update. So the lockdown was extended another week, and the schools opened again for the young kids. We definitely reclaimed our headspace. And the children reclaimed their friends. We all got to breathe a little again.
The children were well oriented at school about the virus and also their best protection: hand hygeine.
The basic rules of social distancing, facemasks, and disinfectants are in place wherever we go. This means every shop, museum, sports center, public restroom and office building has its disinfectant dispenser for everyone’s use. Simple posters are placed everywhere like this:
Though all these measures are reassuring in a way, I still think twice about doing my groceries more than once a week or even eating at a restaurant.
Maybe what’s keeping me calm is knowing that having survived through the first lockdown gives us some encouragement that we can weather the next one too, should it come.
Fortunately, we live out in the countryside, so we have to go out of our way to find the crowds. Going for hikes and bike-rides is definitely saving our sanity, and out on the mountains, it’s easy to maintain distance.
According to the current status, we seem to be entering the 2nd wave soon, especially now that borders (and bars) are opening and inviting crowds. Maybe what’s keeping me calm is knowing that having survived through the first lockdown gives us some encouragement that we can weather the next one too, should it come.