Lockdown For Parents: The Fantasy vs The Reality

Indoor activities

THE FANTASY: A bit of crafting, a bit of reading, then if it’s sunny, some garden games. After lunch, an indoor scavenger hunt, some kids’ yoga and then as a treat, my 9-year-old can watch her favourite TV programme.

THE REALITY: Telly. Minecraft. YouTube. Video calling her friend. And repeat.

Family meals

THE FANTASY: The whole family is at home, so it’s the perfect time to devote more time to all sitting around the table, talking to each other and sharing food together. Such a special time.

THE REALITY: Shouting “DINNER’S READY! No, now please! Not when your game has finished.” Then cajoling my kids into eating their veg, dealing with food being thrown about by the toddlers and shovelling food into my mouth in between explaining to my 9-year-old why she isn’t allowed to download TikTok even though her friend has it. And yes, life is unfair.

Health & fitness

THE FANTASY: Gyms have been closed but that’s no reason not to stay fit and healthy, right? Let’s start the day with Joe Wicks’ PE session and later, have a brisk afternoon walk.

Plus! There’s plenty of time to create nutritious meals and whip up smoothies and healthy snacks for the whole family!

THE REALITY: The novelty of Joe Wicks wore off in Week 3. My essential-for-mental-health daily morning Couch 2 5k jogs evolved into daily walks which have now evolved into drinking tea in my PJs.

Healthy snacks are great and all, but I’m more likely to dip into a tub of M&S Double Chocolate Mini Bites than eat a banana or a handful of nuts.

Family walks

THE FANTASY: The whole gang! Strolling through woodland, the sun glinting through the trees. Laughter fills the air, we stop to gather some sticks for that crafting project we’re working on together. Ahhh, LIFE.

THE REALITY: My 9-year-old refuses to leave the house (why go for a walk when you there’s pets to trade on Roblox and YouTubers to watch?) but after insisting she does, we go to the park and as soon as we arrive… the toddlers have a huge meltdown.

Achieving stuff

THE FANTASY: Think of ALL the things I’m able to get done during lockdown. All this extra time that we would be travelling places and seeing people. Right, I’m going to paint the fence, clear out the spare bedroom, create a gallery wall, paint my wardrobe, and read all of the books on my bedside table pile.

THE REALITY: Why am I so tired all the time? Between home schooling, working and looking after twin toddlers, I barely have time to pee. When I do have half an hour spare, it’s being put to good use: watching The Real Housewives on Netflix.

Home schooling

THE FANTASY: A colour-coded timetable incorporting the key subjects, some fun topic work and interactive sessions. Roughly four hours a day of work, leaving the rest of the day for indoor activities (see previous fantasy).

THE REALITY: Forcing my child to do one hour of work each day, which very often results in tears and shouting (her, not me). Meanwhile discovering ‘creative’ ways to convince myself I’m home schooling successfully. Baking a cake is home school! Building a toy using complicated instructions is home school! Just Dance is home school! I guess I’m learning how to successfully clutch at straws…



  1. July 20, 2020 / 12:58 pm

    This is so spot on, my kids thought I wrote it!

  2. July 20, 2020 / 1:27 pm

    I had my 6 year old grandson and 2 year old granddaughter for 6 weeks whilst my daughter socially distanced as she is an A&E nurse. Trying to get the boy to do homeschooling was a nightmare and if we managed 20 minutes a day we were doing well. I’m glad its the school holidays and the pressure is now off if we have him. As for healthy eating forget it! I’ve been far too depressed!

  3. February 15, 2021 / 3:06 pm

    Ha ha, how true. Whislt we managed 8 weeks of Joe Wicks (yes 8!) in lockdown 1, I can barely manage a bit of Cosmic Yoga with my youngest in lockdown 3. I’m glad to read that we aren’t the only ones with high expectations dashed, especially as lockdown goes on and on and on! Thank goodness for half term and perhaps schools returning in a few weeks, fingers crossed.

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