It’s been weeks since I set my alarm in the morning. Nearly seven weeks, in fact. The only point in my life this feels comparable to is when I became a mother for the first time. This whole period feels like that: time has no discernible meaning. My diary has emptied of engagements, excepting the various social and work Zoom calls scheduled in. I am alternately fired up to do something and also lethargic. My mind races, yet has trouble focusing. Where once I fussed over every little symptom my newborn might display, that anxious monitoring has shifted to myself. Do I feel a little hot? Is that a scratchy throat? I start up in the night in fear of a cough.
I go to bed before my boys. Like Canute and the encroaching tide (in fact he was trying to indicate the futility of holding back the waves, not display mastery over them, but history has been unkind to this particular king), it seems pointless to insist they operate on a timescale different to their natural biology. The 9-5 timetable is designed for adults, not tinies, toddlers or teens. They go to bed around 2.00am, I winch them out just shy of midday. At the weekends, it’s later. They ‘break fast’ when I have my lunch, we eat together in the evening and the kitchen displays signs of their breakfast cereal and toast consumed at midnight when I come down in the morning. I quite enjoy my quiet mornings. I manage to get some work done, I have even tackled some of the piles of paperwork.
I too have adapted slightly. I sleep less than seven hours at night, automatically waking between 7.00 and 8.00, yet have a nap most afternoons. Well, if it’s good enough for our beloved (by me) Europeans, it’s good enough for me. I am ‘stoked’ beyond belief to find that the Clairol root touch up hair dye I got actually did work as the marketing claimed it would! I don’t groom myself especially, just my hair. I shower every day, but am lax with the washing of clothes (fresh pants and socks every day though, I’m not an animal 😉). Consequently the washing machine runs less, yet the dishwasher runs more. No-one is out to lunch OR dinner, although we do treat ourselves to a once a week takeaway/ ready meal. I drink more wine than I did, but not every night. Yet…
I have managed to move some of our work online and I’ve become heavily involved in the campaign for Basic Income. Initially this was just a distraction from a romantic relationship that derailed just as lockdown began. The baggage I thought he was dealing with overwhelmed him and he scuttled off, dumping me in cowardly fashion by text. But activism is a brilliant cure for a broken heart, especially a cause as worthy as this. Activists from up and down the country converge in our various WhatsApp groups, reporting on another MP or public figure who has joined the fold. The fact that I have now been on Zoom calls with various MPs on the topic, as representative of Mothers Uncovered will, I hope, further our cause for the prominence of mothers’ wellbeing and recognition of matrescence in time.
Routines do form I’ve noticed. It’s a singular person indeed, who has no routine or rituals in their life. Look how eagerly the Brits have grasped at the Thursday night clap. The clapping has been superseded by general banging of implements to make a damn great noise and the swift catching up of news with neighbours. We all hope an emergency vehicle might go by as we’re standing there (10 points) so we can show our appreciation, but will settle for a delivery van or bus (5 points). Or at the very least, any car beeping. (1 point).
Other rituals chez moi have been adopted. Monday brunch - well, why not have it on a weekday? It means I can commence the gentle nagging that they do their schoolwork this week, get some exercise, get dressed FFS. Midweek brings my shopping delivery, that has to be carefully edited and missing items subsequently bought in the local shop. Friday nights I seem to have stumbled into a dance in my kitchen to some old skool pop from my Alexa playlist, accompanied reluctantly by my cat. I upload this to Facebook, as friends claim they like it. Well, some of them anyway, I guess the others muted me some time back…
Saturday I do some cleaning and make the boys vacuum. We have our regular (from before) weekend morning ritual of bacon with either pancakes or French toast. I also have a socially distanced coffee in the garden with my lovely neighbours - one standing at our dividing wall, the other just inside the back gate. Then in the evening we have our shop bought or takeaway pizza and watch a film. Wow. Saturday is busy right! I should probably spread things out. Who knows how much longer this may last? Sunday still feels typically Sunday-ish. It always will.
I've been reading one of Alan Bennett's diaries (very slowly. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because it's in the bathroom, reserved for my post-shower sit in towel to dry off). It made me realise I would LOVE my own 'What I've been up to this week!' type column in a paper/magazine. So would many thousands of others, I'd imagine. So, I've created my own additional section here. Less ranty, reflectiony or reviewy than the other bits.