By Vicky Friedman is a professional stage performer, who has starred in Chicago, Hairspray and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She runs Fame Academy musical theatre holiday workshops for kids She is also a mom of two delicious boys.
We could never have predicted the lockdown or should I say “luckdown” of 2020. Moms, and dads have been put to the test like never before. We have been involuntarily thrust into roles we did not anticipate. We have not been “trained” to educate 8 year olds who would much rather be playing Minecraft or 6 year olds, who think a Zoom call with the teacher, is actually an opportunity to examine the depths of their own mouths on the screen.
Stage 1: Shock
As Lockdown was announced, we couldn’t believe we would have to survive without Seattle Coffee or Sunday mornings at Tashas.
Stage 2: Sulking
We sulked about life being cancelled and kids being stuck at home all day. My Golden retriever, George, also spent a few days sulking about not getting his walk.
Stage 3: Domestification
Let’s face it, we didn’t really know how to lift the fluff out of the secret compartment hidden in the tumble dryer. No one really realised they had to empty the back of the vacuum cleaner – no use staying in denial about that one. We also discovered that the act of putting out the rubbish on a ‘Pikit-up Friday morning’ could possibly be the leading cause of divorce in the northern suburbs. As the weeks have passed, we have certainly flattened the learning-curve of ‘Domestification’.
Stage 4: Tech-knowledgy
First we were “Newbies” and now we are “Pros” (My 8 year old taught me that). We can Zoom, stream and order Checkers60 faster than you can say “I’m out of Bar One bribery packs”.
This has become our new normal and we’ve begun to enjoy it. I drink home made coffee and break a sweat at 11am on a Wednesday in the lounge. I love not rushing kids to extra murals and not fighting early morning traffic. It’s pretty cool being a talking head to the world of work, comfy in pajama pants, fluffy slippers and a collared shirt!
Stage 5: Meaning
I keep hoping for answers to existential problems but actually I have just solved Maths ones. We have joined the dots and found the missing pieces of the puzzle – but only in the most literal sense of the word! I would bet that in the past two months, anyone with young kids has not actually learned a new language or completed writing their novel.
But, despite so much not being accomplished, over the last few weeks I have witnessed a deep sense of appreciation and true generosity by communities and individuals to assist the hungry and poor. Out of the despair, some light has emerged.
In my own home, I have been amazed by the resilience of my kids. They mostly live in the present moment and are not hung up about yesterday or tomorrow. I am also in awe of how they have absorbed their lessons through a screen, stretching themselves a little each day. I have admired their ability just to play, to be silly and be happily barefoot as winter approaches. They have taught me to be more content and enjoy fun and silly things. Maybe this is the meaning of life!
Stage 1: Shock all over again!
Now life is about to change again. We are being asked to release our precious children into the World-of-the-Invisible-Germ. Schools are about to reopen. I think this is where I might return to stage 1, ‘Shock’! So much uncertainty, so much contradictory information. It is daunting to be a parent in Lockdown 2020.
As we look back on this Lockdown, a time when the world stopped, we have to remember that despite our shock, we rose to the challenges, learned new things and appreciated our loved ones a little bit more. We are more resilient and adaptable than we believe. Perhaps when the world becomes unlocked, we too can unlock this resilience once again and believe that we can prevail through whatever stages lie ahead.
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