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The Lockdown Juggle

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I’m writing this during lockdown 3.0. As I write, my boys, aged 4 and 6, are running round the garden chasing each other and screaming. The eldest is barefoot. I don’t know why as it’s pretty cold, but as he’s outside, enjoying himself, and isn’t in front of a screen, I’m going to let it go. I let a lot more go now than I would have done this time last year. Back in those heady pre-pandemic days when children went to an actual school, and we had child-free time to work, and maybe if we were lucky, see friends or family. In person. Do you
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remember those days? Yeah, they feel like a distant dream to me too!

Like most parents, I’m doing the lockdown juggle. The constant push-pull of trying to do too much, without enough time to do it in. It’s like an impossible maths equation. Can Naomi fit work, home-school, housework, exercise, conjure up enough food to fill her boys (who are constantly hungry), walk the dog, do all the other things AND still have time for a cup of tea? Answer, highly unlikely.

Often I end the day feeling like I’ve not done anything especially well, especially

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as I’m someone who loves ticking things off a list. But if lockdown has taught me anything, it’s that ticking things off a list isn’t always possible. My current coping strategy has been to let things go where I can. I prioritise. I do the best I can with home-schooling my boys but if they have one of those days where it’s all too much, (which is happening a lot lately), we stop. But what about the things I can’t let go? My youngest has a really bad dust mite allergy, so much as I don’t enjoy it, I pretty much have to clean. As for work; I
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review children’s books, work as a freelance mentor and editor and write children’s books. Which is pretty much my dream job. I’m lucky that my work is flexible so I can try and jiggle it in around family life, but having worked so hard to do what I do, I simply don’t want to cut back on it.

Whenever I feel too overwhelmed, I often speak to one of my best friends. She normally reminds me that I’m doing too much and that the world won’t end if I do less. She’s also an Intensive Care nurse who has been on the front line throughout the

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pandemic. Talking to her always reminds me how lucky we are. Lucky to be healthy. Lucky not to have lost loved ones. Lucky that we aren’t being faced with the death caused by Covid on a daily basis. I miss my friends and family terribly, but not seeing them is a small price to pay if it means saving lives.

At least now the end is in sight; vaccines are being administered, schools are re-opening, there is a plan for when we can see loved ones again and Spring is coming. Everything feels better when the sun is shining right? Parents, particularly

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Mums I think, are always juggling. But maybe, just maybe, this summer we’ll be juggling a busy diary of plans to see the people we’ve missed instead of all the things we’re currently juggling now. My fingers are definitely crossed!

Image from The Perfect Fit by Naomi & James Jones, publishes on 4th March 2021 (Oxford University Press)

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- 2 Mar 21

I’m writing this during lockdown 3.0. As I write, my boys, aged 4 and 6, are running round the garden chasing each other and screaming. The eldest is barefoot. I don’t know why as it’s pretty cold, but as he’s outside, enjoying himself, and isn’t in front of a screen, I’m going to let it go. I let a lot more go now than I would have done this time last year. Back in those heady pre-pandemic days when children went to an actual school, and we had child-free time to work, and maybe if we were lucky, see friends or family. In person. Do you remember those days? Yeah, they feel like a distant dream to me too!

Like most parents, I’m doing the lockdown juggle. The constant push-pull of trying to do too much, without enough time to do it in. It’s like an impossible maths equation. Can Naomi fit work, home-school, housework, exercise, conjure up enough food to fill her boys (who are constantly hungry), walk the dog, do all the other things AND still have time for a cup of tea? Answer, highly unlikely.

Often I end the day feeling like I’ve not done anything especially well, especially as I’m someone who loves ticking things off a list. But if lockdown has taught me anything, it’s that ticking things off a list isn’t always possible. My current coping strategy has been to let things go where I can. I prioritise. I do the best I can with home-schooling my boys but if they have one of those days where it’s all too much, (which is happening a lot lately), we stop. But what about the things I can’t let go? My youngest has a really bad dust mite allergy, so much as I don’t enjoy it, I pretty much have to clean. As for work; I review children’s books, work as a freelance mentor and editor and write children’s books. Which is pretty much my dream job. I’m lucky that my work is flexible so I can try and jiggle it in around family life, but having worked so hard to do what I do, I simply don’t want to cut back on it.

Whenever I feel too overwhelmed, I often speak to one of my best friends. She normally reminds me that I’m doing too much and that the world won’t end if I do less. She’s also an Intensive Care nurse who has been on the front line throughout the pandemic. Talking to her always reminds me how lucky we are. Lucky to be healthy. Lucky not to have lost loved ones. Lucky that we aren’t being faced with the death caused by Covid on a daily basis. I miss my friends and family terribly, but not seeing them is a small price to pay if it means saving lives.

At least now the end is in sight; vaccines are being administered, schools are re-opening, there is a plan for when we can see loved ones again and Spring is coming. Everything feels better when the sun is shining right? Parents, particularly Mums I think, are always juggling. But maybe, just maybe, this summer we’ll be juggling a busy diary of plans to see the people we’ve missed instead of all the things we’re currently juggling now. My fingers are definitely crossed!

Image from The Perfect Fit by Naomi & James Jones, publishes on 4th March 2021 (Oxford University Press)

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Proud mum to two small boys, children's author and book reviewer. My debut picture book The Perfect Fit publishes in March 2021. I live in Cornwall with my husband, two boys and a very springy springer spaniel. @NaomiJones_1

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