I’M thinking of starting a series of stories called Lockdown Living. Mostly because I’m sick of feeling like we’re continually being shown how it should be done or being pitched unsolicited advice as helpful when actually it is far better to be called what it is – marketing or bragging.

I also feel like we may be running out of conversations that don’t centre around this pandemic and that scares me. I miss the mundane nonsense of pub chat. I miss school gate conversations of weekend adventures. I miss talking about anything other than things that I miss!

I want to know what real people are doing and how real people are and aren’t coping. I’m relatively lucky to be surrounded by honest people who don’t do the “perfect life” captures that I hear other people worrying over. As soon as a WhatsApp group becomes a drama den, I leave it. No drama intended. I’ve curated my social media feeds carefully to contain those who share in my passion for what could only be described as brutally honest capturing of our, more often than not, still incredibly privileged, lived experiences.

So to start off, here is a peek into my lockdown life.

It starts with Joe Wicks – and I’m almost ashamed to admit it because I really wasn’t a fan of home workouts or the man himself, prior to being stuck in my house with my children every morning. However, the workouts and Joe have grown on me and I’ve come to realise that my mood is hugely affected by whether or not I start the day getting sweaty and silly with my children. I love that we don’t have to rush to get ready, rush to eat, rush to get out of the house. My children are nicer human beings when they are not being harassed, cajoled and, I hang my head whilst typing this, but clapped at to hurry up.

I leave my family mid-morning for the office. Grateful to be leaving my children with their father but also sorry that it is him who bears the brunt of family lockdown life. He feels the pressure of home-schooling and entertainment far more than I do and whilst he copes admirably and I continually emphasise that their wellbeing is far more important than how many worksheets were completed, I know that like anyone in the same position he tires.

Most mornings have an en-route stop at a supermarket to pick up essential items for those who need them most. Again, my privilege is more than apparent as I stand in line wearing a medical-grade mask made for me by a kind donor who supports our work. I try not to notice the scowls of passers-by as I am mistaken for a stockpile shopper by many. I consider printing our next t-shirts with “I’m shopping for the foodbank” on the back of them.

My time in the donation/office space is a blur. The team work like a flock of geese, we take it in turns to step-up and to fall-back as and when we need to, no words required. We lift, we organise, we pack, we label, we distribute, we take phone calls to remedy queries, we prioritise and at the end of most days we fall – literally, to rice-scattered carpet on which we have trodden.

I return home to my family having debriefed with the team on the car journey via WhatsApp. We have a plan for the next day. I walk through the door on a good day to excited children, they may even be at the gate waving and waiting. I can tell if the day has been difficult if there is no welcoming committee. If television and electronics have been distributed then they are prioritised over welcoming me. Again, I both notice and appreciate my family’s privilege.

We have dinner together and talk about our days. At least once I am interrupted by a phone call. I am continually torn between needing to take the call and needing to see my family. We play. Someone tantrums. We’re pretty good at taking turns.

Their bedtime is my favourite part of the day. We read. We talk. I answer endless questions and listen to long stories of nothing, they try to trap me with their questions and succeed almost every evening. I am a sucker for their bedtime manipulation and am more often than not rescued by their dad who knows that it is he who will bear the brunt of their tiredness (and mine!) in the morning.

I forgot the coffee. Every day requires a lot of hot, strong, black coffee.