Is it teething time for your little one?
Diary of an Irish Mammy during Covid-19 lockdown

By Niamh Wojtas aka The Imperfect Irish Mammy

It’s been almost a month since Covid-19 lockdown began and the surreal has become our daily norm. Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive remains our household’s steadfast lockdown anthem and by some miracle, positivity and gratitude prevail (despite many moments where we ask ourselves in exasperation, “when will this Covid-19 madness ever end?”) 

Naturally, pandemonium is still a daily occurrence in our home, but amidst the chaos and madness that are inevitable when working from home with small kids, we’re also celebrating the joy, laughter and love that we thrive on in these uncertain times. So, what does a typical day in our house look like almost a month into lockdown? Read on to find out my friends – the chaos is real! 

Like many others, last week saw myself and my husband busy with financial quarter end. There were many, many phone calls, video calls, emails, reports, admin work and the dreaded overtime. We were in full survival mode trying to meet all our children’s needs along with our mounting work tasks, all while trying our best to keep those positive smiles plastered on our faces. I’m pretty sure that most parents out there can relate! 

We somehow found time to build the new garden slide and playhouse for the kids, which was a mighty adventure. In between calls, my husband and I found ourselves debating over which nail, screw and bolt went where in that blue and green 6ft monstrosity of a slide that loomed in front of us in all its multi-coloured complexity. Recommended construction time of forty minutes equals mission impossible, I’ll tell you that. 

The playhouse proved to be much easier to construct and it has come in very handy in many respects. My work video calls involve a regular game of cat and mouse with the children. I adore my kids beyond measure, but they literally follow me everywhere, which I know most mums can relate to. Personally, I have resorted to hiding in different locations around the house/garden so that the kids can’t find me when I’m on video calls. My most successful hiding place to date has proven to be – you guessed it – the playhouse. When the kids look out the living room window, they cannot see where I am once I’m safely secluded inside my “mini office”. I sat inside the playhouse for a video call last week, absolutely delighted with myself, while a bemused colleague who was evidently intrigued by the colourful yellow and red decor asked me, “where on earth are you taking this video call from?” “Oh, you know, just my new garden office - the kids’ playhouse”. 

Another favourite office of mine for video conferencing has proven to be the upstairs bathroom, mainly because I can lock the door and it takes the kids a while to find this mum hideout. For our end of quarter global team call, the Director suggested we all attend the video call with a drink in hand for a virtual “cheers” to end the financial year. There I sat, drink in hand, in my pyjamas, on the video call while my despondent daughter stood on the opposite side of the door whispering loudly, “Mammy, it’s me. What are you doing in there?” Never a dull moment!

In between work calls and other work duties, my husband (the legend/culinary saviour) has taken over as the main chef while my daughter calls me the “Corona holiday entertainer” (I’m not sure if being the resident entertainer is a good thing or a bad thing.) Arts and crafts, singing and dancing, short walks and other adventures are ours when work allows, and of course, when our energy levels and patience permit! Honestly though, the garden and kids’ cartoons are lifesavers these days. Do I find myself getting frustrated with the kids sometimes? Oh God, yes! But do I relish all the extra cuddles and moments with the kids in addition to the slower pace of life that Covid-19 has imposed? Absolutely.

The Easter Holidays have arrived, which means no kids’ school work for two weeks. We also have the long Easter weekend to look forward to (joy to the world, extra days off work) and the excitement is palpable here as the little ones eagerly await a visit from the Easter Bunny. Thank you to our politicians, Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris, for confirming that the Easter Bunny is an essential worker – knowing that the Easter Bunny is on his way is the news that made my kids’ week. 

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and fun-filled Easter as we continue trying to survive and thrive during these unprecedented Covid-19 times. 

You can keep up to date with Niamh's lockdown diary on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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