1. The school run
If you’d asked me, six months ago, whether I’d like to never do the school run again, I’d have probably jumped up and down screaming “YES YES YES”.
In the battle for my least favourite part of the morning routine, it’s hard to choose between shouting “SHOES ON!” ten times (and being ignored), my 9-year-old realising just before we leave that she can’t find her water bottle/reading book/tie, or the fact that it usually starts to rain three seconds before we leave the house.
But in the three months since we last went through this weekday rigmarole, I’ve actually started to miss it. That ten minute chat I have with the 9-year-old on the way to school, having a quick natter to the lollipop lady, spotting other school mums and dads and waving good morning… Come back school run, all is forgiven!
2. Squeezing myself onto a packed bus or train
Pre-lockdown, I’d quite often find myself dashing from the school drop-off to jump on a bus or train and head to a work meeting. At that time of the morning, it was usually busy but I couldn’t be late for my meeting, so I’d squish myself on, often with someone’s armpit 3cm from my face, beads of sweat trickling down my back, holding on to anything I could find to stop myself from being thrown around. As experiences go, it’s not up there on my ‘most pleasant’ list, but strangely, I miss the normality of it and long for a stranger’s arm pit to be so close to me once more.
3. Sitting in a cafe, next to a group of loud-talking men
Whether I was trying to work on my laptop, or having a coffee with a friend, one of my biggest pre-lockdown bugbears was if the people at the next table were having a LOUD conversation. The times that stick out in my memory are men (with BOOMING VOICES) talking about house prices, business deals or colleagues they dislike. If I’m on my own, I’ll just put headphones on, but if I’m chatting to a friend, we just endure the noise pollution. Now? I’d give anything to sit next to self-important blokes who think their conversation should be heard by everyone in the cafe.
4. Soft play and swimming lessons
What’s not to like about having to crawl through germ-infested, urine-covered balls, showing your builder’s bum to local parents galore as you chase after your over-excited toddler and protect them from being trampled over by the bigger kids? I mean, it’s just got PARENTING JOY written all over it, right?
Likewise, the palaver of swimming lessons – finding a parking space, getting your child changed, watching the lesson in what’s basically a sauna but you’re fully dressed, queuing for the showers afterwards, trying to wash their hair without getting drenched, getting them dry despite the changing room floor being flooded. It’s the dream! But I find myself almost longing for both of these things. What’s wrong with me?!
5. Being on my own
I like people. I like being with people. In ‘normal times’, my diary is filled with meetings, lunch dates, coffee with the school mums, book club… I’m not great at being on my own.
I’m craving some alone time.
Just 24 hours would do. Just me, a book, the telly, maybe some posh bubble bath. (Heck, some 99p bubble bath would do just fine.) Wouldn’t that be bliss? No one shouting “Mummy!” no one asking me to help reach something from the top of the cupboard, no one asking me if their favourite t-shirt is clean to wear, no one asking me if they can video call their friend, no one asking me what’s for tea, just me, on my own, with lots and lots of silence.