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A Little Light Relief

expat life expat mums expat parenting expat parenting abroad Apr 07, 2020

Lock down… I find it crazy that these two words have become normal!

In New Zealand we are two weeks into Level 4 (lock down phase). It’s not been easy having the girls at home for schooling, and hubby is in and out of work during this period (hotels have people in isolation, so deemed essential service). All of us on video calls at the same time… We have really tested out the internet!?! 

In this post though, I don’t want to dwell on lock down or the virus or the economic impact. Today I want to share some of the lighter moments we have enjoyed together as a family over the past couple of weeks.

The best was the girls dinner time, and they were sitting up to eat a rather shabby curry I prepared with the last of the vegetables I had in the fridge (not my finest mealtime moment!). Hubby had been trying to finish a spreadsheet after an important call, and suddenly he flipped out. The girls and I couldn’t work out what was wrong… then it all came together. Hubby had left the ‘mouse’ for his laptop on the kitchen table, Madam S had been happily clicking the button, tapping away to her own tune – literally humming and clicking in time. It had been messing with hubby’s spreadsheet! I am giggling away still as I write this 🙂

A highlight for me happened during the lunch break from homeschooling, Miss J came and gave me a big hug. She looked at me and announced “The best thing about lock down, I can hug you whenever I want!” If that’s not a silver lining I don’t know what is. Our girls are very family centric, and family is always a key focus for them, but for my 9 year old to feel this level of gratefulness for this freedom is priceless. 

The creativity the girls are displaying has been brilliant. One sunny day saw them take all the umbrellas outside onto the lawn, they threw picnic blankets over top and created little ‘homes’. They then proceeded to take their toys out and visited each other in their little homes. This was set up at 10am, and it wasn’t taken down until 4pm when I needed them to pack up before the rain started. They had lunch, they wrote in their journals, they listened to music… all day long!

One aspect I’ve been struggling with is hubby’s paranoia. For the last week or two before lock down, he would come home from work worried that he had the virus… and maybe it’s not very supportive, but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes! Then four days into lockdown he woke up with a tightness in his chest and had a headache… so he rang the healthline (which to be fair is what our government wants us to do). However, his endeavours were met with about as much empathy as I was giving, “mate, I think you’re ok, you might need to get a puffer from your GP though, at your age the change of seasons can really affect your breathing!” Priceless!!

I have never seen the girls have the bums in the air as much as the past few weeks. They are both fascinated by bugs and creepy crawly things, with the sunshine the geckos (little lizards) are out in our garden. The past few weeks has seen them catching them, studying them, and then returning them to their families. Some have lost their tails, and some are growing new tails. Some are tiny babies and some are bigger and easier to study. But the girls are pigs in muck, and can pass hours in the garden, which I have to say is a brilliant relief from the video conferencing they have been doing for school since the closure. 

The girls are enjoying virtual play dates, reading books to their toddler cousin, virtual dance classes on the lawn and just the freedom of not having to be somewhere. Hubby and I have enjoyed some virtual vinos with friends, regular FaceTime with family and just pottering around our new home.

We are still a long way to go, potentially we are halfway through lock down, but most people are expecting it to go for a lot longer than 30 days… but I feel positive, there are silver linings to any experience, and this is no different. 

Do you have a moment you’d like to share? Please do so in the comments, I would love to hear from you.


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