The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Lockdown.
Just checking in again and wondering how you are managing under week five of lockdown.
I had a bit of a wobble last week.
The first three weeks of lockdown for our family went fairly well. We all pitched in to do our chores, had fun some nights playing games, and enjoyed meals together.
Then the tides changed.
Easter holidays soon arrived, which meant our son doesn’t have much school work. Hence, both kids have little to do-- no job for Jessica and no schoolwork for Sean. As a consequence, they watched TV until the wee hours of the morning and finally arising in the late afternoons to do their chores.
This schedule started to grate on my nerves. I yelled to get them up earlier, but to no avail.
I was miffed because I've been getting up at 6 a.m. every work day with Jörg to make his coffee and pack his lunch. To maintain a routine and keep a standard of cleanliness, I’d end up doing the kids’ laundry and other chores plus a multitude my own responsibilities--including cooking full meals for five people. (Jessi’s boyfriend stays here often. He is a calming buffer among us). Feeding these idle bodies often sends me to stores where the corona virus may lurk, an unwanted anxiety.
One day Sean woke up late for a doctor’s appointment and acted nonchalant about it. I felt under pressure to get us there on time while being angry at myself for forgetting our face masks and disinfection wipes. He made an inconsiderate remark, as self-absorbed teenagers often do, about how being late did not matter.
To my mind, he demonstrated a complete lack of understanding for the seriousness of this COVID-19 crisis and for how our medical professionals risk their lives to treat patients. I took his offhand remark to mean that the doctor has nothing better to do than wait for us. True, he is only 15-years-old, but a dumb comment is a dumb comment.
Somehow it released the silent stress of living in lockdown, like the boiling magma of a once dormant volcano. My anger finally erupted. Perhaps, my anger was a mixed bag of many feelings both current and past. Whatever the reason, I spewed my fury hard and fast, yelling at the top of my lungs. I was mad as hell and wasn't going to take it any more.
The odd thing was that I did not even feel bad about my unchecked frustration. The purgation of it, the sweet release of just letting it go. I felt like I my emotional boundaries had been violated.
What I am finding is I have to make new boundary rules for myself and for the family, kind of re-writing theme day by day. We had no blueprint for what a home office should look like during lockdown or for making our house a part-time classroom, or for how to deal with all the exhausting emotions associated with it.
I am sure sociologists, economists, psychologists and the like will be studying this period and the effects for decades to come.
In Germany last week, small businesses re-opened and this week hairdressers will back in business (thank God!). Also, some schools, including Sean's, will resume but not all pupils will return to the classroom. It depends on the state, school, and class.
Starting today, the government says we now must wear face masks when shopping, on public transportation, and at the doctor’s office. To be honest, today I made a homemade mask and after putting it on, I felt like crying. I don't like the feel of this new normal.
We don’t know the knockoff effects of the lockdown for the future. I sympathise for those who lost their jobs and want to go back to work. I do know that our lives before this crisis will never be the same. We will slowly figure out what the ‘new normal’ looks like in months to come.
But for right now, we are just hanging like monkeys on a bar.
I hope all are doing well and keeping sane. Please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.
Best regards, Paula