IN her weekly column, the mum of four discusses all aspects of family life. Today Peta, who is married to cycling champ Mark Cavendish, talks about feeling overwhelmed during lockdown.
LAST week, I had a moment. I felt overwhelmed by everything I needed to do yet simultaneously lost and unsure of my next move.
This moment – well, it was an entire day – had been on the horizon for a while. But I’d kept it at bay.
Then the return to home-schooling after Easter pushed me over the edge.
I know millions of people around the world are home-schooling. But for most of us, this isn’t a choice.
It is not something we feel comfortable doing alongside work, cooking, cleaning, first aid and entertaining.
It feels like a lot. Because it is.
My kids had work to do, back-to-back lessons on Zoom and even a virtual assembly.
Mark was training in the gym and on the indoor bike all day, while I had writing to do and for 59 minutes of every hour at least one of the kids needed feeding.
I felt like I was drowning.
I put on a bit of concealer, as I didn’t want to appear broken on Zoom calls.
I shouldn’t have bothered because by 10am I’d rubbed my eyes red.
There are no rules
I frantically feared we would forget a lesson or I would miss a deadline.
Our son Frey was having a bad day and being another level of demanding.
Having to work at home after a lot of free time was too much for his four-year-old brain.
Casper is almost two and has his back teeth coming.
Finn is 14, so emerges from his room only to eat.
Delilah, who’s eight, would rather be doing gymnastics than schoolwork.
That day felt like a year. I felt sad, cross and alone, though I could hardly have had more people around me.
I said I was going to the loo just for a moment alone – to cry, hot and hard, for 30 seconds before wiping my face and getting back out to the hybrid school-workplace our home has become.
Then the guilt hit. I’m safe and well for now, in a comfortable house with my family.
So how dare I be sad or wish for dinner in a restaurant or a night out with my friends?
I’m craving answers about how this plays out. Those answers don’t exist.
No amount of Google searches can tell me.
I think it’s this uncertainty – when we are so used to having anything and everything clarified instantly by the internet – that is scrambling our minds the most.
We are in limbo, flitting between feeling cramped and lonely, having nothing to do and too much to do.
The morning after my “day”, I got up and started again, hoping for better . . . while knowing that wasn’t guaranteed. That is all we can do.
If you are having one of those days, or even a week, it is OK.
There are no rules for this.
Go easy on yourself. Eat the cake.
Do the workout. Binge the box set.
Left foot, then right. You got this. We got this.
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