By Emily Brittingham
As a mother of three young children living in Melbourne, Australia, life right now is pretty tough. Our new normal consists of mandatory face masks in public, only being allowed to leave our own homes for essential items or permitted work, and returning to our homes for a nightly curfew of 8pm. The novelty of the first lockdown due to COVID-19 – where we felt an appreciation for the temporary pause from the commotion of regular life – has well and truly ended. The baking of sourdough bread and daily YouTube yoga that we amused ourselves with in April suddenly seems like a distant memory. Our newly found homemaker skills and resultant craft projects (think macrame, sewing, knitting and the like) have been left unfinished on the bookshelf to gather dust. The camaraderie we felt on an almost global scale as ‘being in this together’ has ended rather abruptly.
Some Melbournians in lockdown are expectant mothers nearing their due date, living with the constant worry of what birthing a baby in the current hospital system will actually entail.
Some Melbournians in lockdown are home alone with newborn or very young babies with little to no support network. Some Melbournians in lockdown are into a second term of homeschooling without knowing when children will be allowed back at schools and kindergartens. Some Melbournians in lockdown are waving their family members off to work on the front line of our COVID-19 response teams every morning and some of us are front line workers ourselves. Some Melbournians in lockdown are home with a partner, with one or both of them suddenly unemployed.
We are anxious and isolated. Some days we are frustrated. Some days we are scared. Some days we are drained.
Some days we are content. Some days we are grateful. Some days we are hopeful.
Some days we are all of these things in one day.
Every day we are facing uncertainty. Every day we are resilient.
If you are in another part of the world and you know someone experiencing isolation due to the current global pandemic, but are not sure what to say, here is a good place to start.
Please do not tell us what a great job your city/state or country has done in controlling the spread of coronavirus.
We as individuals have also done a great job. We have practised vigilant hygiene measures, we have adhered to social distancing regulations, we have worked from home, we have taught our kids from home, we have worn our face masks, we have complied with restrictions of only leaving our house for essential tasks and we have followed nightly cufews. The reasons for the current position of our state are completely out of our control and have nothing to do with us as individuals ‘doing a great job’.
Please do not ask us what we have been up to.
We are simply going through the motions of a seemingly never-ending Groundhog Day. This answer makes us feel guilty for not using our time in lockdown more productively.