The pandemic has been unkind to everyone… regardless of circumstances.
In this open letter to her girls, Jodi Geddes shares a heartfelt reflection on the challenges facing all working parents during coronavirus restrictions, and all the things she’s grateful for.
To my darling girls
Six months ago our lives were turned upside down by the coronavirus. At the time, we had no idea what it even meant. You adorably asked if it was the consequence of drinking too much Corona beer – your dad’s favourite. But, six months on, you both fully understand what the coronavirus is and the new reality it has created.
Coronavirus has paused the world and, sadly, has changed us forever. As your mum, I’ve tried to show you only strength, but deep down I’m scared. The world now looks very different to what it did six months ago, and I’m scared you may not again experience it the way it was. I’ve spent night after night lying in bed remembering so many special moments from the time before coronavirus that, at the time, we took for granted. The times when we travelled internationally, jumped on a plane to visit friends, went to a theme park full of thousands of people, went to the movies; even the simple things like celebrating a birthday at home with our loved ones.
You may not remember New Year’s Eve 2019, but we had some of our closest friends come over and we all sat up till the early hours talking about our excitement for 2020 and our plans for the year ahead.
And, just like that, everything changed…
Local streets were now empty as playgrounds, schools, shopping centres and cafes were closed. Sporting activities were cancelled, our trips to visit friends and family were now banned and people wore face masks when leaving the home.
Your dad and I have also had to work from home since March, which hasn’t been easy. It’s put enormous pressure on us both, especially juggling your remote learning and trying to keep up with work. There are days when I feel like I’m winning. But, unfortunately, there are many more days when I feel like I’m failing at everything. The pressure we’re under is enormous. It’s been such a challenging time for us and for all working parents. Every day feels like we’re just trying to survive.
We’ve had to take on many roles – one being that of your school teacher, which, I admit, is the hardest job of all. Whilst I’ve done my best, I know I’m not great at it. I’m not sure anyone can be good at it when they’re also trying to work full-time. I’m sorry for getting so frustrated with you both. I’m sorry for constantly asking you to be quiet. I’m sorry for always being on Zoom calls and not giving you the attention you crave and deserve. I’m sorry I’m so busy juggling everything, that I often don’t have time for all of the things you want me to be there for.
But despite all of this, I’m so proud of you both. You’ve never complained… especially when you were told there were no more park visits, no more playgrounds, no more school, and so much more. Just like we adults had so much taken away, many of the routines you love and make you feel safe, and the opportunities for friends, learning and play were taken from you, too. I think sometimes we forget that. But as hard as it is, your dad and I believe that this has been the most precious time ever for us as a family. It’s forced us to slow down, and we’ve shared so many beautiful moments together that we otherwise may not have. We now eat together every night, when before we would sometimes not arrive home until after 6pm. We take time out to regularly watch movies together on the couch and eat popcorn. We enjoy Sunday snuggles in bed. We love it when you make us a coffee. We’ve enjoyed music together, danced and laughed like never before. We also started a daily gratitude ritual together, which has become one of my favourite parts of the day. Hearing you talk about what you’re grateful for really reminds us of the simple things.
One thing I can assure you is that this time together has enabled us to understand you both so much better. For that, I will be forever grateful.
I feel mixed emotions writing this. We have lots to be thankful for, but I also want to acknowledge how tough it’s been on all of us. I hope that one day you’ll read this back and have a better understanding of what we went through.
So, whilst we all wish the coronavirus was gone, the reality is that it’s here for a long time. I look forward to the day when you no longer feel the need to ask “how many cases today, Mum?”, and I pray that it will be over soon.
In the meantime, I want to thank you for the resilience you have shown and for being so brave; for your patience, the joy you bring us, and your unconditional love. I love you both so, so much.
Written by Jodi Geddes, Co-founder of Circle In.