Mum confession: I actually really enjoyed all this slow time at home with my kids
This week my children will go back to school.
And while I am wildly excited for them, and not even worried for a second for their safety – it has also struck me that for the first time since March 12th, we will spend a good chunk of our day away from each other.
It has been 24 weeks since their last day of school.
24 weeks of working from home for me. Many weeks of homeschool for them. Weeks and weeks of no shops open (apart from supermarkets and pharmacies). So many weeks of ballet through Zoom, yoga through Zoom and socialising through Zoom. Weeks of so many walks and scoots through the neighbourhood. Weeks and weeks of endless cooking and baking. Of countless movie nights. And so many weeks of seeing our family in Norway only over FaceTime.
It has been six months when the world as we know it just stopped. And held its breath. Life slowed down. And with it, so did we.
I was so grateful to have made it over to Oslo earlier this summer to finally see family, and for my children's sake – and for all the children's sake – I am so grateful that they are returning to school - it is what they need and what is right.
But also – I know that in some ways, I am not quite ready to give up the slow life. Not entirely.
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Now, don't get me wrong – of course, there were things I missed and things I am looking forward to now that life is slowly returning to (a new) normal.
Travelling again. Going to regular classes at my favourite yoga studio. Having dinner out-out (and have the visit last longer than just 105 minutes). Actually hugging all my friends again.
But, ahead of all this return to normality, I am also feeling a tiny bit anxious at the thought of heading back into pre-lockdown real life. And the busyness of it all.
To be fair – even before this worldwide crisis, I was pretty strict about not over-scheduling my children into too many activities, and staying home, with movie nights and cuddles and family time was always a favourite of ours anyway. But you know what I mean. Life as a working mum-of-two is busy, even when you are trying hard for it not to be. There are rushed school runs, and taekwondo lessons and birthday parties and bake sales for the football club and homework and your own work and trying to cook dinner in a hurry in between it all.
Modern family life has a pace I never knew I needed a break from until we were all forced to take one. And now I am not sure I am quite ready to dive back in.
The world collectively has gone through a crisis. But I am opting to lean into hope – feeling like the good that could come from this might just outweigh some of the bad.
I decided early on to soak in this time we have been given, because, most likely, it will never happen again. Not quite like this.
I don't feel bad to admit that I have mostly enjoyed these weeks with all my heart. Life has been slow – and we have loved it. Our days quickly fell into a somewhat new 'routine' – and I use that word lightly – and apart from the odd homeschool frustrations, our home, our lives, have had a steady thrum of joy throughout these days.
We baked and hiked and built dens and Lego creations. We snuggled down for movie nights on 'school nights' and read so many books and had game nights via FaceTime with granny and grandad in Norway. We made stacks of homemade cards, painted and picked wildflowers on our many, many walks.
And now, coming out the other end of this all, I feel like this taste of a slower, more soulful life, has left me reluctant to give it all up. To go back to the way things were. Don't get me wrong – I am also happy about seeing the world slowly come back to 'normal' – after all, I know my life would not be complete without having friends over, travelling, coffee dates and yoga classes – heck, I am even missing IRL work meetings at this stage.
But I am also so completely grateful for this big pause this pandemic has given me. This extra time. And the lessons I want to carry with me into this new, post-lockdown life.
I know already that I want a future that is slower-paced. I know I will be better at setting boundaries and saying no to things I don't really want to spend my time doing, and instead focus more on the things that I really do want to pour my time and attention into.
Family, friends, moments that matter. I want to spend my time with intent and purpose. I want to be more present. I want less screen-time and more IRL time. I want to soak in moments, savour the feeling of freedom, take time to feel grateful every day and enjoy this wonderful, messy, beautiful life.