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Lockdown – bonus time with my fledgling teens

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Lockdown is easing – I have had £20 in my purse since March – today it has gone.  Split between two of my teenage children, one gone to spend a whole day in school, the other meeting up with friends.  My eldest has also vacated the premises to see his girlfriend.  My husband is working in his new home, the shed – he seems in no hurry to leave.  For the first time in a long time it’s just me (and the dog).  Like most parents, I have had little daydreams about having the house to myself.  It’s very quiet.

 

Every family has

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different dynamics and a lot depends on the ages involved.  I have counted my lucky stars we are past the stage of home schooling.  With our three mid to late teens, we haven’t had to endure PE with Joe or grimaced our way through kitchen table craft sessions, but instead a host of other highs and lows.

 

After the initial slightly panicky, weirdness wore off I wondered if lockdown had been engineered by mothers of teens.  Every day I knew where everyone was – home.  I no longer needed to ask who would be here for dinner, what time

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they would be in, if there would be extra guests or when my taxi service was required.  That low-level anxiety which bubbles away in the background had floated away – no lying in bed at midnight listening for a key in the door before relief and sleep.  The wings had received a compulsory clipping and the fledglings were back in the nest.

 

It’s a tricky one to admit you’ve enjoyed aspects of lockdown.  However, when I look back on this time (has the sun shone this much and for so long in years?) I will be thankful for the long,

SelfishMother.com
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unexpected chats which accompanied our dog walks, the slightly stressful home haircuts (followed by a surprising nod of approval), long lunches in the garden and the yoga and Zumba sessions with my daughter (despite the humiliating recorded evidence sent to her friends).

 

Let’s be honest though, the nest is not always a harmonious place – feathers have been ruffled.  Home schooling per se might not have been on the agenda, but GCSEs and A-levels still loom large on the horizon – with choppy and unchartered waters to navigate along the

SelfishMother.com
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way.  We’ve all tried to keep calm and carry on, but some pretty big rows have followed anxiety induced enquires from me regarding how the work might be going.

 

Then there’s the food – where does it go?  I’ve lurched from one meal to the next, feeding effectively five adults, it’s constant!  I also miss the days when I put my children to bed – now they say goodnight to me as we live by mis-matched timetables of night and day.  My usual frustrations have been exaggerated as we ‘negotiate’ our differing expectations

SelfishMother.com
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concerning screen time versus college work and the state of our surroundings.  My dismay at the inability to make beds, wipe shower screens, pick up towels, put down toilet seats and clean sinks is met with eye rolling boredom and I’m often found clearing wrappers, glasses, cups and discarded clothes like an exhausted character following a trail of breadcrumbs in a dysfunctional fairy tale.

 

In the past few days, as lockdown has eased, perhaps significantly my eldest turned 20 so I can no longer say I have three teenagers.  Undeniably

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theirs is the generation which has given up the most in the last few months; freedom and opportunities have been taken away at such a crucial time in their lives and the ramifications stretch into the years ahead too.  But, the wings are being clipped back on and they’ve started venturing out.  A friend posted recently when her son returned to university about the unexpected, but bonus time with him – and that is what it’s been.  I’m not 100% sure where my three are at this moment, my low-level mum worry has returned, but that goes with the
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territory.  I shall carry on padding the nest for the inevitable crash landings when they come back home.

 

(Image – Silhouette Design Store)

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- 24 Jun 20

Lockdown is easing – I have had £20 in my purse since March – today it has gone.  Split between two of my teenage children, one gone to spend a whole day in school, the other meeting up with friends.  My eldest has also vacated the premises to see his girlfriend.  My husband is working in his new home, the shed – he seems in no hurry to leave.  For the first time in a long time it’s just me (and the dog).  Like most parents, I have had little daydreams about having the house to myself.  It’s very quiet.

 

Every family has different dynamics and a lot depends on the ages involved.  I have counted my lucky stars we are past the stage of home schooling.  With our three mid to late teens, we haven’t had to endure PE with Joe or grimaced our way through kitchen table craft sessions, but instead a host of other highs and lows.

 

After the initial slightly panicky, weirdness wore off I wondered if lockdown had been engineered by mothers of teens.  Every day I knew where everyone was – home.  I no longer needed to ask who would be here for dinner, what time they would be in, if there would be extra guests or when my taxi service was required.  That low-level anxiety which bubbles away in the background had floated away – no lying in bed at midnight listening for a key in the door before relief and sleep.  The wings had received a compulsory clipping and the fledglings were back in the nest.

 

It’s a tricky one to admit you’ve enjoyed aspects of lockdown.  However, when I look back on this time (has the sun shone this much and for so long in years?) I will be thankful for the long, unexpected chats which accompanied our dog walks, the slightly stressful home haircuts (followed by a surprising nod of approval), long lunches in the garden and the yoga and Zumba sessions with my daughter (despite the humiliating recorded evidence sent to her friends).

 

Let’s be honest though, the nest is not always a harmonious place – feathers have been ruffled.  Home schooling per se might not have been on the agenda, but GCSEs and A-levels still loom large on the horizon – with choppy and unchartered waters to navigate along the way.  We’ve all tried to keep calm and carry on, but some pretty big rows have followed anxiety induced enquires from me regarding how the work might be going.

 

Then there’s the food – where does it go?  I’ve lurched from one meal to the next, feeding effectively five adults, it’s constant!  I also miss the days when I put my children to bed – now they say goodnight to me as we live by mis-matched timetables of night and day.  My usual frustrations have been exaggerated as we ‘negotiate’ our differing expectations concerning screen time versus college work and the state of our surroundings.  My dismay at the inability to make beds, wipe shower screens, pick up towels, put down toilet seats and clean sinks is met with eye rolling boredom and I’m often found clearing wrappers, glasses, cups and discarded clothes like an exhausted character following a trail of breadcrumbs in a dysfunctional fairy tale.

 

In the past few days, as lockdown has eased, perhaps significantly my eldest turned 20 so I can no longer say I have three teenagers.  Undeniably theirs is the generation which has given up the most in the last few months; freedom and opportunities have been taken away at such a crucial time in their lives and the ramifications stretch into the years ahead too.  But, the wings are being clipped back on and they’ve started venturing out.  A friend posted recently when her son returned to university about the unexpected, but bonus time with him – and that is what it’s been.  I’m not 100% sure where my three are at this moment, my low-level mum worry has returned, but that goes with the territory.  I shall carry on padding the nest for the inevitable crash landings when they come back home.

 

(Image – Silhouette Design Store)

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Suzy, a teacher and writer, lives near the coast in Hampshire with her husband, three children and Lola the schnoodle.

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