Can’t do this anymore? Hang on in there mama!

“I’m not sure I can do this anymore!” … is what I say to my husband most days at approximately 4pm. I’m frustrated, I’m exhausted and I need to dig deep to find some hope, a glimmer of normality and I’m not sure when it’s going to come.

I’ve accepted there’s no COVID-19 miracle. As time goes on I’ve come to realise that we are going to learn to live with it and make our old lives work around it. It used to be so simple to book a hair appointment to get my Cruella de Vil grey streak sorted, my self-care. Against my hairdresser’s pleas, I’ve gone and done it. Purchased an at-home permanent hair dye kit.

A shadow of my former self

The last time I did this was circa 1994 when I used an inordinate quantity of Sun-in. The glow left the local town fearing there’d been a nuclear catastrophe. Yet here I am, desperate to look less like a raggidy, worn out shadow of my former self pre-COVID-19. I’ve enlisted the help of the hubster and convinced him it will probably be like fun painting and won’t take very long. What could possibly go wrong? 

With our financial situation looking more dire than we’d have liked at this stage of our lives, I feel like every purchase we need to make needs to be considered. Is it a necessity? Can we live without it? Do we really need that gin?

Yes, we do. Especially the gin.

The need to feel in control

We have an organised weekly routine. I feel in control. I need to feel in control. Since the start of all of this, any control I felt like I had before was hijacked. Now that lockdown rules are relinquishing somewhat, I feel unnerved. It’s like a carrot on a string. I question the motives. While I can make a choice about sending my kid back to school, I’ve chosen to keep on with the homeschooling because it makes me feel in control. I can keep him safe, in our bubble. I don’t want our bubble to burst. 

Needless to say, it gets rather tense in our bubble and we make use of the safe word technique to keep the equilibrium (see my top tips below.)

Throughout my life, I go through various obsession, OCD phases. I’m always interested to see what’s next because sometimes I don’t see it coming. For the last year I’ve known the exact pressure of my boiler at varying times of the day and I have to continually check it. Bonkers huh? But I like my quirky fixations; they are part of me and I accept them. It makes me feel safe, like I have another focus. When you’re preoccupied with the pressure of your boiler, the intensity of COVID-19 dulls and that’s no bad thing.

Finding a new distraction

My latest must-do is a goodie. I’d like to think of it as a healthy obsession because it does, at least,  involve exercise. After a few weeks of doing the at-home cardio workouts, I got bored and sore because no matter how hard I try, I just can’t ‘do’ what ‘they’ do. We mapped out a 3k running circuit so the hubby and I decided to take it on Monday to Friday.

We compete to see who’s the fastest that day. Last week I had the victory glory and completed it in less than 16 minutes. This time literally puts us in a ‘fun run’ category, don’t start imagining a couple of fitties. I’m always shocked at how my breathing resembles a rabid dog. In my head, I imagine myself as a true olympian but the sad reality is a lollop along, no faster than a brisk walker.

Following my less than 16 minutes of glory, the hubby couldn’t stand it so the next day, panting furiously, he thrust the stopwatch in my face for he had completed it in a lung-busting 13 minutes. Needless to say, he spent the next couple of days nursing an injury. 

Don’t burst the bubble!

I’m getting used to taking the boys out. I carry a survival bag fit to burst with various protective sprays, lotions and potions. I’ve advised them to imagine they are in their own little 2 metre bubble and mustn’t let anyone burst it.

There have been a few incidents where the eldest, 6, has screamed ‘“aarrrghhhh, Mummy, it’s a man, he’s probably got Coronavirus.” This was followed up with a sensitive talk about how one must consider another’s feelings before saying anything offensive aloud.

I hate touching anything when I’m out, especially cute little doggies that come sniffing at my ankles, I want to scream at the owner to get it the hell away from me even though I know there’s currently no evidence of virus transmission from them to us. I need to get a grip at some point. But until then, I have disposable gloves, a vat of anti-bac and a hopeful smile behind my mask. 

I leave you with my top survival tips:

1. Always have something to wager for better behaviour. You will get bored of saying ‘if you do that then you can’t get your **insert preferred wager** today, but my word it can pay off.  

2. Ensure you have a fully stocked wine rack and gin at all times. Tonic water and limes should be part of your weekly essential shop.

3. Come up with a safe word so you and your other half can escape to a designated panic room, calming down for an hour when the bickering gets too much. If you’re on your own screaming into a pillow is highly recommended.

4. Don’t forget to breathe. But don’t breathe too loudly because it’s really annoying.

5. Perfect a baking skill. My cookies started out looking more like cakes. 14 weeks later, I’ve achieved the perfect crunch but chewy centre. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mary Berry herself comes knocking!

So if you’re feeling like you can’t do this anymore…hang in there Mama!

Picture credit: Hand photo created by user18526052 –


  1. I’m not yet a mother, so I can only hear secondhand from my mother friends how tough things can get. Really hand on in there, you’re all doing a fabulous job! Fingers crossed things will get better soon.

  2. Do you really need that gin? Ha, love it. But you know the obvious answer is “yes, for my sanity! ” I really could do with a panic room. Not sure where that would be, I can’t lock most of the doors here.

  3. This is for sure relatable for many but I have to say I was living my best live when my kids were little. I worked full time and still use savored each and every moment when I was home and I dreaded when maternity leave was over as I just loved my time with each of them. I was blessed to never feel tired when my husband got home and we honestly worked as a team which I think is key. Thank you!

  4. We have all been there but when you step back and you see that despite those moments that come of feeling like you want to give up, but you never do, that is where we can draw our strength from.

  5. Mindfulness works for me – stops my anxiety attacks, pain management – for my chronic daily pain, keeps me calm, and CBD oil my new find during covid lock down – now sleep really well

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