I live in Stocksfield with my husband Santosh and my toddler son Bodhi; we absolutely love the Tyne Valley having bought our first home here last Summer. Our favourite thing to do as a little family is to get outdoors, and more recently for Bodhi, splash about in rivers and streams - occasionally falling in but that doesn’t seem to bother him! Personally, I love to potter in and out of shops around Hexham and Corbridge, and Prudhoe High Street, and then reward myself with a coffee and cake – I’m always on the lookout for toddler friendly cafes!
Throughout the lockdown period we have tried to make the most of where we live. We keep saying to each other how lucky we are to live somewhere so beautiful; so friendly and where we feel we can finally put down some roots.
Family life over lockdown
There’s an exception to every rule but I really don’t know any parents, mothers especially, who have had an easy time of it. I’m self-employed and work from home and my husband is a key worker which puts him out of the house 5 days a week. Before lockdown, we had Bodhi settled at nursery, my Mam to babysit, and could spend time with a support network of other mams. I was also getting stuck into being my own boss as of January this year – I’m a hypnobirthing teacher, a choir leader and a communications specialist (’jack of all trades’ as they say!). But then lockdown happened and everything changed – Childcare was no longer an option and Bodhi was at home again full time. I couldn’t see my friends and family, was barely able to leave the house and Bodhi was literally climbing the walls! I still need to work so have to find time when Bodhi naps, in the evenings when he’s in bed and at weekends when his dad is at home. There’s been times when I’ve just had to stick ‘Hey Duggee’ on to keep him occupied while I get stuff done – it has been really hard to strike a balance over this period.
The guilt of not devoting all my time to my son, the tiredness and frustration has had me in tears a few times, but then I remember some advice I once received which really helps me: “Ask yourself, is what you are doing good enough ?” For example, it was husband’s turn for a lie-in one Saturday (I have Sunday’s!) so I got up with Bodhi – I had an important deadline and I needed to get straight on, and when my husband came downstairs I was sat on the laptop while Bodhi was watching TV. He asked if everything was OK and I replied, “Yeah, but I’m such bad mam!”, and he pointed out that Bodhi was washed, dressed, fed and the happiest little boy he knew. And he was right. If making it work in these times makes you feel like a bad parent, try asking yourself that same question – I’ll bet you are doing a ‘good enough’ job under the circumstances and that is OK.
Well, The Entertainer’s website has taken a battering over lockdown in this house! Paddling pool; water and sand tray; bubble wand, anything that got us outside of these four walls. Luckily for me Bodhi is now a great little walker so most mornings we’re up and out at 8.30am and exploring, spotting birds in the trees, hunting for dandelions and jumping in puddles.
We’ve missed the play park loads - It’s heart-breaking to see those padlocks on the gates, but instead we’ve had to make a play park out of wherever we go! One of our favourite things to do is head to Hexham for the morning. Firstly (and most importantly!), we call into Deli at Number 4 for a sneaky take-away cappuccino and Bakewell tart! Then we head into Hexham Park and onto Bodhi’s assault course (aka the bandstand and park benches!). Then, we make our way through the field of buttercups and dandelions to the top of the Sele before running down at top speed, shouting “weeeeeee” as we go! We always hug the huge tree at the bottom (I grew up on Fern Gully, what can I say!) but this has had the unplanned effect of Bodhi hugging telegraph poles as well! Lastly we head around the bowling green; have a little splash in the stream, wave at the carved wooden owls in the garden, and then do some silly dancing in front of the mirror before heading home – Two hours of fun, fresh air and happy memories guaranteed!
Bodhi’s nursery have been amazing too – Every week of the lockdown they’ve been sending parents ideas for how to keep our little ones entertained and learning about the world around them – so thank you to My Little Kingdom in Prudhoe, you saved me from going out of my head on many occasions!
We’ve missed our extended family and friends terribly so when we got permission the rules relaxed so we could go for socially distant walks and garden visits, there was no stopping us. I’ll never forget the look on my Mam’s face when she saw Bodhi in the flesh again after all these weeks… let’s just say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, or should I say car park!
Finally, apart from ‘take away Friday’ which is a thing in our house now thanks to lockdown, I try to cook a meal from scratch for my family every evening, which we enjoy together when my husband gets in from work – Having this quality time means what could be a chore has instead been something to look forward to every day over this period.
Stay well, I look forward to sharing some ideas for Autumn days out next time x