THROUGH THE WINDOW – FAMILIES AT HOME DURING LOCKDOWN
“Through the window – families at home during lockdown » is a series portraying mothers and fathers with their children during the Covid-19 pandemic. This project has been photographed in between March and July 2020, in South Manchester. It focuses on the mother/father and child relationship and also pregnant parents, expecting a baby, during the confinement.
The moment we are living in is unique, frightening and full of questions but is also a chance to focus on the people we live with. This series has been photographed entirely through the windows of houses and flats as a representation of the situation where the outside world mainly existed through a window or virtually through the internet.
I believe that this time has and will change our perception of the way we live. Documenting it was a way of keeping a trace and a keepsake for the families, especially the children, and to be able share their experience with the next generations.”
« Through the window – families at home during lockdown » est une série photographiant des mères et des pères avec leurs enfants pendant la pandémie du Covid-19. Ce projet a été photographié entre mars et juillet 2020, dans le sud de Manchester. Il se concentre sur les relations mère/père et enfants ainsi que sur les futures parents, attendant un bébé, pendant le confinement.
Le moment que nous vivons est unique, effrayant et rempli de questionnements, mais c’est aussi une chance de pouvoir passer du temps avec les personnes avec lesquelles nous vivons. Cette série a été photographiée entièrement à travers les fenêtres des maisons et appartements, comme une représentation de la situation où le monde extérieur existait principalement à travers une fenêtre ou virtuellement via Internet.
Je crois que cette époque a changé et changera notre perception de la façon dont nous vivons. La documenter était une manière pour moi d’en garder une trace et d’offrir un souvenir pour ces familles, notamment les enfants, et de pouvoir partager leur expérience avec les générations suivantes. »
EN – The series has been photographed in Chorlton, Whalley Range, Didsbury, Old Trafford, Stretford, and Hulme, in a way that adhered to the regulations of social distancing in place in Manchester.
FR – Cette série a été photographiée en Angleterre, à Chorlton, Whalley Range, Didsbury, Old Trafford, Stretford et Hulme, dans un respect des règles de distanciation en vigueur à Manchester.
CHANTEL, SETH AND THEIR CHILDREN ARLO AND OTIS (6 YEAR OLD TWINS) AND LOIS (3)
« I am a Forest School Leader and Seth is a tree surgeon. Both Seth and myself are self-employed so this has had a huge financial impact on our family. I run an outdoors parent and toddler group and I aim to make it a supportive and cosy space filled with camaraderie and a chilled festival vibe. I’ll have to seriously rethink how this group will look in the future.
We are an outdoorsy crew who usually love adventuring in our campervan and playing together. One of our children has asthma which often sees him hospitalised and so we shielded immediately – this was intense and relentless as well as a real change from our usual up and out approach to the days. And while it’s not always been easy – irritable kids, cabin fever, loneliness and the like – I have actually enjoyed the slower pace, the lack of stress rushing and above all, hanging out with my kids.
I feel like I have my boys back – I felt like I had almost ‘lost’ them a bit when they started school. Their spirit has returned and their confidence is growing again. This is the real positive. We are adaptable and positive people it would seem and this has given us a renewed confidence in our unit and our family.
We have taken the decision to unschool our children from here on in. The misgivings regarding mainstream education that we had previously are now more real than ever. This has actually given us the confidence to know that we can do it and we’ll all be good. We can thrive at our own pace.”
« Je suis directrice d’une Forest School et Seth est arboriculteur. Seth et moi-même sommes des travailleurs indépendants, donc cela a eu un impact financier énorme sur notre famille. Je dirige un groupe d’activités de parents et d’enfants en plein air et je vise à en faire un espace de soutien et détendu, rempli de bonne humeur dans une ambiance de festival décontractée. Je vais devoir repenser sérieusement à quoi ressemblera ce groupe à l’avenir.
Nous sommes une famille vivant le plus possible en plein air qui aime partir à l’aventure dans notre van et jouer ensemble. Un de nos enfants souffre d’asthme ce qui l’amène souvent à être hospitalisé et nous nous sommes donc mis à l’écart immédiatement – c’était intense et sans répis ainsi qu’un réel changement par rapport à notre routine habituelle. Et même si cela n’a pas toujours été facile – enfants irritables, marre d’être enfermés, solitude, etc. – j’ai en fait apprécié le rythme plus lent, le manque de stress et surtout, passer du temps avec mes enfants.
J’ai l’impression d’avoir retrouvé mes garçons – j’avais l’impression de les avoir un peu « perdus » quand ils ont commencé l’école. Leur enthousiasme est revenu et leur confiance grandit à nouveau. C’est le vrai point positif. Nous sommes des gens adaptables et positifs semble-t-il et cela nous a donné confiance en notre clan et notre famille.
Nous avons pris la décision de déscolariser nos enfants à partir de maintenant. Les appréhensions concernant l’école que nous avions auparavant sont maintenant plus réelles que jamais. Cela nous a en fait donné la confiance de savoir que nous pouvons le faire et que tout ira bien. Nous pouvons évoluer à notre rythme. » Chantel
CHRIS, LAURA AND THEIR SON LUCAS (18 MONTHS)
“Chris works in the NHS (desk-based job) and so has faced additional Covid-related work. Laura works in academia. We’re both working full-time so doing very long hours juggling work and childcare and both of us miss the opportunity to go into our « work offices ». Family time and couple time has been very limited but we cherish what we do manage to grab.
Usually we like going on walks together and spending time with our extended family.
We feel that we are doing well, we are remembering to be kind to ourselves and to each other, and as we say, to cherish the time we do manage to have together. We are grateful for the green spaces nearby.
All of us miss our parents (for Lucas, his grandparents). Lucas used to be looked after two days a week by his grandparents and so had built a very close bond with them, and it is obvious that he misses them. He frequently calls Nanna on his toy telephone.
We unquestionably think that Covid-19 will have an impact, but quite how this will be is not clear yet and we want to hug people.”
Chris and Laura
«Chris travaille au NHS (dans les bureaux) et a donc dû faire face à du travail supplémentaire liés au Covid. Laura travaille dans le milieu universitaire. Nous travaillons tous les deux à temps plein, nous faisons donc de très longues heures à jongler entre travail et garde d’enfant et le fait d’aller réellement au travail nous manque à tous les deux. Le temps passé en famille et en couple est très limité, donc nous en profitons le plus possible.
Habituellement, nous aimons aller marcher ensemble et passer du temps avec nos proches. On se sent assez bien, nous essayons le plus possible d’être sympa envers nous-mêmes et les uns envers les autres et, encore une fois, de chérir le temps que nous réussissons à passer ensemble. Nous sommes reconnaissants d’avoir des grands parcs à proximité.
Nos parents nous manquent (pour Lucas, ses grands-parents). Lucas avait l’habitude d’être gardé deux jours par semaine par ses grands-parents, il avait donc construit un lien très proche avec eux et il est évident qu’ils lui manquent. Il appelle fréquemment Nanna sur son téléphone jouet.
Nous pensons sans aucun doute que Covid-19 aura un impact sur nos vies, mais on ne sait pas encore exactement comment cela se passera et aussi, on à hate d’embrasser les gens. » Chris et Laura
LAURA, CHANDRA AND THEIR DAUGHTER ANAMAYA (18 MONTHS)
“Chandra is a GP so is still going to work. He fears that things are going to be very difficult when the restrictions have been lifted and people feel brave enough to contact their GP again. It’s likely that a lot of illnesses are going undetected whilst people do not want to go to the doctors or hospital. I am a yoga teacher and run leader. I have had to stop teaching classes. I believe we need yoga more than ever and although I considered teaching classes online, I don’t feel it is right for me.
In the house we all like to read. Chandra enjoys cooking and we all like to eat! Anamaya likes to dress up, make music, play on her bike, with her pram and in her tunnel. We all love dancing around the house together. Due to there being less traffic on the road, Chandra is now back from work in time for us to have dinner together. Previously he wouldn’t get back until after her dinner and I’d be rushing out to teach. It’s been lovely to have this extra time together.
The hardest thing has been for Anamaya’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins not to be able to spend time with her. Anamaya and I miss the many playgroups we would go to on weekday mornings, however it has been nice to not have to rush to get us both ready and out of the house on time. Instead we’ve been playing in the garden or exploring the local park.
I feel sad when I see Anamaya wanting to play with other children in the park, but being so young she has adapted to the new routine with ease. It has been a lovely opportunity to slow down and appreciate the small things, to enjoy spending time together, to build our relationships and get closer.
With lockdown, I have had to learn that it’s ok not to be going out and doing something all the time. A day is not a wasted day if you haven’t completed certain tasks. I have learnt to be kind to myself in this respect and I don’t want to lose this. Now I am volunteering with a local charity, delivering food parcels, something I didn’t think I could find time for previously, but will make time for in future.
I also hope that we’ll spend more weekends at home, something we rarely got to do.”
HAYLEY AND HER DAUGHTER MALIN (4)
“I’m a place writer and tour guide and all my tours for 2020 were cancelled at the start of March.
I also have a 3 day office job too but was put on furlough and make 80% in that role now.
I’m also an MA student and found it very complexing how universities seem to equate lockdown with lots of free time rather than realising, for some of is, its entire days without childcare then working through the night, so it took me a while to get an extension on my next assignment and that was very stressful thinking I’d fail by proxy.
My block of flats and its shared garden have been my saviour in terms of parenthood. An amazing community even pre-lockdown, where sharing leftovers and childcare has been the norm for years. Malin and I like to watch birds, especially the long tailed tit who sits on our windowsill, and to go on secret walks looking for alleyways that she thinks are fast lanes for witches on broomsticks.
Life at home is vastly better. I’ve had social anxieties for years and all that has melted away. I don’t often think I’m doing a good job parenting and I’m always feeling angry and wanting time alone so I worried it’d be hellish being home all the time but it’s much happier than I imagined.
I feel like, job and financial distress aside, my quality of life in every other respect has hugely improved. I sometimes get sad that even in these isolated times where more people than ever are taking their lives online that I’ve been left out of that too – no zoom calls scheduled, no one calling me to check how I’m coping alone, it felt at a time that finally I’d have a chance to socialise, well, that didn’t happen.
I’ve gone from working 7 days a week and never having cooked a meal since my daughter was born to finally having time to have breakfast with Malin. She is coping really well with it too, she’s always been a very clingy child so she loves me being home but my concern is how hard it will be to go back to a normal routine.
The lockdown has made me see even clearer how working 7 days a week and yet barely making enough money to pay my rent and bills most months is so wrong. I’m doing it to survive and it hasn’t been enough. I don’t want to go back to that. Socially, I don’t see things changing, there’s a bit of single mother aura that people see and back away from. I don’t know what exactly it is but I have been living a socially distant life for 4 years, at least I’ve been well prepared for 2020.”
NATALIE, DAVID AND THEIR DAUGHTERS CARMEN (8) AND LOLA (6)
“We have continued to work through lockdown as the work we do has been directly impacted on due to Covid-19 meaning we are very very busy. David works with children with eating disorders and I work in the Children’s Safeguarding Team. We have been working a lot and the kids are key worker school so time at home has been extra precious to us during lockdown as a way of relaxing and resting.
We all love to read and play board/card games as a family. The girls play a lot of role play games with dolls whilst David is busy in the kitchen always cooking up something special!
We switch off from work at home and solely try to focus on being present with the children.
Usually, the normal routine consists of the girls doing lots of after school clubs, play dates and birthday parties. With this all stopped, the time together has been lovely and slow and a positive shift for us. Something we hope to continue after lockdown.
Also, being able to all eat a family meal together has been a highlight. We have renewed a love for cooking rather than the takeouts we became so reliant on. The girls have voiced that they want to have Sunday dinner every week for all of us haha!” Natalie
NAOMI (25 WEEKS PREGNANT), ALEX AND THEIR CHILDREN INDIA (5) AND JESSE (2)
“I am a paediatric doctor working part time and Alex works in IT sales. For me it’s only really changed things in the fact that I am not allowed to see patients due to my pregnancy.
I think the impact will be on my confidence doing this job when I’ll go back after maternity leave. A year is a long time to be away from clinical practice anyway and now even more with an additional 4 months not seeing any patients.
For my husband the only change has been the difficulty of working whilst the kids are around and interrupting him constantly. His job involves a lot of conference calls and these are hard to do with lots of noise and interruption.
The lockdown has definitely made us more tense with each other. There seem to be much more frayed nerves, especially towards the end of the day. However it has been nice to spend more time as a family all together. We are cherishing the nice moments and I think India and Jesse’s relationship has blossomed after spending so much time playing and hanging out.
We will probably go back to our normal routine when lockdown is over though, I miss it and I miss being able to give my children all the experiences they had previously”
BEC, STAN AND THEIR DAUGHTERS WINNIE (10) AND PEARL (8)
“I’m a photographer, and also now home-schooling the kids so my work has stopped for the foreseeable future. I’m still doing a bit of documentary stuff at home so that we have something to remember this time by when it’s over. Stan is still able to work….things are kind of slow, but luckily jobs are still coming in.
From Monday to Friday the kids will be homeschooling and I will be doing some sort of extravagant DIY job, while Stan attempts to work. We only moved into this house in September last year and we were mid-way through renovations when Coronavirus hit.
I think on the whole we’re pleasantly surprised by how it’s affected our family and our relationships. We’ve been getting on pretty well and we’ve definitely had more good days than bad. With the nice weather it’s been like an extended Summer holiday. I spend a lot of time at home, as a rule, so my life is not massively different
I think that after the lockdown, I’ll feel more at ease with enjoying our home, and less pressure to follow the crowd. It’s been a lovely realisation that just being at home, as a family, and enjoying each other’s company is enough so I’ll be sad when the kids go back to school. I’m lucky because of their ages – I think it’d be different if they were younger.
What I’m looking for the most when this is over is just walking about freely, seeing friends, and hugging them.”
JANE (37 WEEKS PREGNANT), ANDY AND THEIR SON ERNIE (3)
« Jane has been furlough and will then be on maternity leave. Andy is editing from home, doing jobs as normal really so in the future it might hopefully mean that he’ll be partially based at ITV office and partially work at home.
We usually love going on little adventures, exploring, finding new places, eating out, seeing friends & family. Most of those things are not currently possible but we have explored our local area more on our daily walks and found some nearby gems, we rely on video calls for staying in touch with close friends & family, we’ve been doing lots of painting, crafts, playing with Ernie’s toys, reading stories, snuggling, listening to music, dancing, and we all love a film night.
We were always very busy on non-work days, always having lots of fun, seeing our amazing friends and family and going to lovely places, often staying over and having people stay with us. Although we miss all that and we hate not being able to see those closest to us, we are really enjoying the slower pace, it’s nice to not be rushing places and to not feel any burden or pressures.
A surprising thing for us is that Ernie seems really happy to be ‘staying home’. It’s really highlighted that he doesn’t need to be on the go constantly and going different places all the time, he’s just happy to be home and be together, he loves playing all day with no major distractions. We wonder how he’ll be about a return to normality, whenever that may be.
There are certain aspects of our life that will have to return when it feels safe to do so – work, nursery, school eventually. However, we want to retain some of the positives…the calmness, the lack of rushing, we will try to be less busy. We are so unbelievably lucky to have our little family, we’re going to make more time for ourselves. Family time is precious.”
Jane and Andy
CHARLIE, AND HER SONS VAUGHN (9) AND GABE (6)
“I work in the public sector and I’m very lucky to be able to work from home. My employer has been really understanding and has allowed me to just do what I can. It’s been a real struggle as a lone parent, trying to work every day, while juggling childcare. I’m incredibly fortunate to have my job and my income, but it’s hard for the boys to understand me being physically there but not available to them and I often feel guilty rushing them home from the park or stopping a fun game because I’ve got a conference call.
I’m a widow, I live alone with my two sons. Their dad died 3 years ago. I don’t have any family nearby and it’s been just the three of us during lockdown but we have kind, supportive friends who have been helping out with food. Vaughn and I have both had birthdays during lockdown, so our friends came to sing us Happy Birthday from the curbside and drop off gifts and they all did what they could to make those days special.
Vaughn is a very keen artist and has spent lockdown doing lots of drawing. He is very social and likes to be out and about, so it’s been tough for him being stuck at home. I think his artwork has been an amazing outlet for him. Gabe is football mad and we’ve been taking the ball down to the park for a kickabout every day. because, at his age, children don’t connect so much through conversation, more play. He’s more of a homebody than his brother though and is enjoying all this time with me.
I’ve been working on making the garden nicer. My husband was a keen gardener and grew vegetables but I’ve let it all go since he died. I’m finding it hard not having any adult company, but I’ve been talking to friends on the phone and zoom regularly.
I like being active and social and being cut off from my friends and social activities has really made me realise how important these things have been in getting me through what have been a tough few years.
Before the lockdown, I tended to fill every weekend with constant activity and meet ups with friends. I think since my husband died I somehow subconsciously felt we were an incomplete family and that we needed to constantly have company. But I think lockdown has helped me to adjust to the idea that we’re a family of three now and that we’re enough on our own.”
JUUL, RORY AND THEIR DAUGHTERS HAZEL (2), PIP (5 WEEKS)
“I work in the travel industry however so I have no idea what things are going to look like when I have to return. As I’ve just given birth I’m also on maternity leave. Rory is furloughed at the moment which has given him the opportunity to spend lots of time with both girls. It’s been really amazing having him home to help during the newborn stage.
While we all work together we end up doing a lot of Hazel’s favourite things to do like building towers out of Duplo and making drawings. We’re currently learning how to draw numbers and the letters of her name which she finds very exciting.
Hazel has reacted to the lockdown very well. Up until lockdown Rory and I both worked full time and she spent 3 days a week at the nursery. She seems to love spending a lot of time with both of us and it’s amazing to watch her learning new things. Now that Pip is born, the dynamic has changed a little. Hazel adores her little sister but gets jealous at times over sharing the attention.
It’s been lovely to spend so much time together but we’re both at a point where we sometimes would like a little more time to ourselves. The hardest thing at the moment is not being able to see our family and friends. My family is living in the Netherlands and has not been able to come over after Pip was born. I really miss them.
I think the lockdown has given us time to think about what we really find important – where we want to raise the girls etc… We haven’t made any choices yet as we’re also not sure what’s going to happen with our jobs but it’s likely we’ll make some changes in the year ahead.”
BECKY, STEVE AND THEIR DAUGHTERS CLEO (4) AND JUNO (13 MONTHS)
“Steve and I both work in the NHS. He is currently working from home full time and I am mostly working from home too, to try and manage childcare. Juno’s nursery has closed so we are trying to care for both girls at home and do our jobs.
Usually what we like doing is eating out, going to parks, exploring new places, seeing friends, listening to music/dancing… lots of things we can’t do now but some we can!
We’re finding it hard in terms of trying to fit in work and meet the needs of two children at different ages. Cleo is missing her friends and school. Steve and I miss the chance to have time to ourselves. But…on the positive side…we have done special things together like I had a sleepover in a den in Cleo’s room with her. And we are appreciating small things.
We are being pretty creative too. Our routines have changed a lot. I was just returning to work from maternity leave when lockdown began but our usual we was: me getting up and leaving the house at 7.30 every day, Steve dropping the girls at nursery/school, then us working, me picking the girls up at the end of the day, a quick tea, then bedtimes. One of the things I dreaded about maternity leave ending was seeing the girls less – now I’m with them almost 24/7! This brings challenges but benefits too.
I hope that after lockdown we will be more mindful and enjoy simpler pleasures, appreciate small things more. We used to do A LOT with the girls every weekend. Perhaps our pace of life will be a little slower. I hope so but I also fear us just sleepwalking into old habits.”
ROSANNA, MIKE AND THEIR DAUGHTER FREIDA MARIA (1)
“I work in the clothing industry for a small brand and I am aware that everything is on hold until lockdown is over, however the opportunities and demand may now drop.
Is clothing really a necessity in this current climate..? As I am currently on maternity leave I have had no feedback on how this will impact.
Mike is currently working from home and it can be difficult at times for him to get his work done with Freida excitedly crawling everywhere! He tends to put the work in early and wind down later in the day and then we go out for our one hour walk.
As a whole it is nice to spend more quality time together as a family as during the week Mike usually only sees Freida an hour before bed. We have been filling our time in the garden, potting plants and doing maintenance that has been long overdue on the house!
We have been cooking more recipes and have become more frugal with food in order not to waste.
We made good use of our weekends and free time prior to the confinement so once the lockdown has been lifted that will carry on as normal.
Freida Maria, she will be one next month so she’s gonna have her 1st birthday party in isolation.
I have found that on our walks people are more friendly, chatting at distance and smiling, I hope this continues after the confinement and I will keep this up also. Making our own pizza and bread, and potting plants have all been fun and hope to carry on after lockdown!”
SARAH, CALUM AND THEIR DAUGHTERS FLORENCE (6), IVY (4), PEARL (2) AND MARJORIE (8 MONTHS)
“I am currently at home with the children. I’m a social anthropologist, but have only managed to do bits of research since Florence was born. I’ve not found a way to make my career work with small children. Now there are four under age six, so I’ve found myself in a weird situation where I can’t afford to go out to work.
My husband is a teacher, so we are very fortunate that his job is currently secure and we just have enough to get by, to pay the bills.
We love to be outdoors, usually exploring the countryside or nearby beaches. The girls love to play (and fight) together, make up imaginary games, play in the garden, make, bake and create. Our house is usually chaotic, loud and messy!
We’ve never had so much time together. We’ve had some of the best and the worst days. Every day feels like somewhere in between Christmas and a disaster movie. Some days are pure bliss, lying around in our pyjamas playing board games. Other days there’s boredom, fighting, shouting, a new piece of news that makes us fear everything – the fear of becoming ill, the fear of someone we know dying alone.
At first we all found it really tough. We missed going out and about. We missed our friends. We missed all the social activities we did. Now the girls have stopped asking to go out, stopped asking to see their friends. In a way it’s reassuring to know they’re safe and happy.
There’s not much routine other than the prosaic rituals like meals, baths, baby feeds and naps. I’ve been struggling to follow a structured homeschooling plan.
Some days I wake up with that knot in my stomach. Every night I’ve been going to bed thinking ‘tomorrow I’ll do better’. I won’t let them watch as much iPad, I’ll plan more stuff for them to do, I won’t snap when they start fighting, I’ll hug them more, I’ll make sure they eat more fruit, did they brush their teeth? Some days I really struggle with the indulgence of so much time and feeling like I’m not achieving anything and other days I revel in having so much time we can just hang out in the garden reading, drawing and making dens. I feel like I’m in a little bubble.
I dare not watch the news or think about how long I can sustain life like this. It worries me and I don’t want to live life scared. Scared of infection, scared of other people. I don’t want to be telling the girls not to go near people, not to touch things. I worry that there will be no going back to normal. I keep reminding myself to savour all this time all together, because we’ll probably never get this again, but I need this to stop at some point and for life to go on.
This lockdown has made me appreciate so many things more. It’s made me so grateful for friends and family. It’s made me want to make the most of life and live and do things I’ve dreamed of. It’s made me appreciate what we have.
I feel just so, so lucky to have our family. I hate to think of all those people alone. Having lots of children is hard work, but they’ve been so happy just having each other!”
LIZZIE, MARK AND THEIR DAUGHTER BEATRIX (2)
“Mark works in restructuring accountancy and is currently working from home in the top loft bedroom, quite confined, only velux window so a bit claustrophobic. I am a doctor working in A+E in the MRI ED and really not too much has changed for me apart from wearing PPE and a quieter commute from work. Largely I think our jobs will remain unchanged post lockdown apart from Mark may work more from home/may involve less business trips down to london.
We currently enjoy spending time and playing/sorting the garden, lots of lego and baking biscuits at the request of our daughter! On a pleasant evening, sitting out with a glass of wine. However often found tearing our hair out surrounded by chaos so endlessly tidying up after toddler/ourselves
Normally we have many weekends/time off planned with going away and seeing friends/family either together as a family or separately, and generally busy in the evenings either with work or socially. Lockdown has meant lots more time spent together just the three of us which has actually been lovely although challenging at times as it can be hard to entertain a toddler constantly all day without being able to go and visit things.
My parents usually look after Beattie a day a week so it has been very hard from them. I think and hope that after lockdown, it will mean that we spend more time in Manchester just spending time together as a three without feeling the pressure to visit other friends and family/attend social engagements as frequently.
Obviously we will enjoy seeing everybody else when this lifts but I hope we continue to keep the odd weekend free to spend quality time as a family.”
HANNAH (33 WEEKS PREGNANT) AND ROB
“Hannah is a freelance TV Production Manager and the job she was working on had to shut down due to pandemic so she has lost several weeks of work. Luckily, she was due to start maternity leave in a few weeks. Rob works in the nuclear industry and he is continuing as usual, he can work from home and conduct meetings remotely.
We enjoy exploring our local area together, seeing friends, playing with our two cats Teddy & Ghibli, watching films, going for runs.
We try to keep to a routine to avoid boredom. We get out daily for a walk together. We are in the middle of a loft conversion so there is some disruption. Rob works from home in the dining room and Hannah has been preparing the home for the arrival of the baby.
We have become a lot more relaxed since entering lockdown, less stressed from work. More time for each other, grown somewhat closer.
Things will change for us considerably after lockdown as we will have our first baby. We are sad that family and friends won’t be able to meet the baby for a while.
When possible, we’d like to try to get back to normal life as much as possible, but it certainly won’t be the same for us.”
Hannah and Rob
HANNAH, ROB AND THEIR SON ASA (3 WEEKS OLD) – FOLLOW UP
“Hannah gave birth to Asa and is still on maternity leave. Rob is still working from home, and for the foreseeable future, which gives him more time to spend with us as a family, especially during these early months with Asa. We’ve been surviving as a new family, getting to know each other, adapting to a new way of life, running on a lot less sleep. We feed, burp, change nappies, pull faces, sing, sleep, repeat.
One controversial point in this lockdown has been women going through labour alone and scared. Hannah was in labour for two days, some of which was in hospital without Rob being able to join and support. Once the baby arrived, Rob had the standard two weeks paternity leave, but as he continues to work from home he has more time to spend and bond with Asa. He can also be on hand to hold the baby so Hannah can easily take toilet breaks, something we do not take for granted. So lockdown has some benefits for our situation; we can nurture our new little family bubble, uninterrupted.
The unfortunate side to this, is family and friends not being able to meet Asa face-to-face or hold him, missing out on his rapid growth and development during these crucial weeks and months. Local grandparents who haven’t been shielding, were only able to see him for the first time from a safe distance in the garden. Thankfully it’s summer, but being Manchester, it still rains! We’re also unable to travel further afield to meet other new additions to the wider family, Asa will soon be welcoming a new baby cousin in California. His aunts and uncles have also been unable to meet Asa at all.
After lockdown, we hope that baby groups will be able to start up again and remain open in some shape or form, as it’s really important for new parents to be able to get out and socialise, share their experiences and babies to learn in a social environment, as well as make friends for life.
We’re looking forward to Asa being able to experience many firsts; his first Christmas, first holiday abroad, first birthday! We just hope he’ll actually be able to experience these things face-to-face with friends and family. As he grows, we won’t get the time back to do this again with him.”
Hannah and Rob
LORI, JONNY AND THEIR CHILDREN ELLA (5) AND HARRY (1)
“I work as an Occupational Therapist, so I can’t visit any of my families at the moment, but my work won’t be affected in the long term. Jonny is a planner and his work won’t be affected..
We usually love to get out and about, but with the current lockdown, we like to do lots of fun family things, like craft activities, playing in the garden and watching kids films.
I may be one of the few people who is actually enjoying the lockdown. I’ve really embraced the opportunity to spend lots of time with the kids and live life at a much slower pace. Jonny is finding it more difficult, but Ella is like me and enjoying home life.
I really really hope that the lockdown changes the way we live, I was struggling to keep up with the speed at which we all live our lives.
When this is over, I’m looking for a change to the way I and society as a whole lives our lives. A greater appreciation for the smaller things in life.”
KAREN, SAM AND THEIR CHILDREN COCO (10) AND BODHI (3)
“Sam and I work together. I’m a fashion director and stylist, whilst Sam is the Director and head designer for our creative agency representedby.me. Our industry has completely shut down during lockdown. We work in the fashion, advertising and TV industry. Whilst we are still busy ‘working’ chasing overdue unpaid invoices, our creative commercial work has come to a stop. It’s scary and honestly anxiety inducing, we are a small business and currently not eligible for any of the government schemes.
The anxiety of this felt quite heavy in the first part of lockdown, so we consciously decided to try and channel our energy into staying creative and hoping our positive energy will mean things pick up for us soon after the industry goes back to work. I usually work away a lot, so finding the joy in just being together has been a real positive.
Sam and I have been together for 18 years. We were housemates at the end of university and lived together ever since! We got engaged in Feb 2013 in NYC . We had planned to get married this year at the same time as turning 40…
As a family we love to travel and are often spontaneous in our trips. We enjoy walks and bike rides and love being by the sea. Coco and I are always dancing together, Bodhi loves playing families with his sister and Sam and Coco have just started to learn to play the guitar together.
Right now we are doing a kids Joe Wicks workout every morning to punctuate our day. This helps us all get our energy up. Every day is different but the same and we are leaning in to what we need emotionally and physically on each day. At points it’s stressful being together all the time and emotions are heightened. Mostly though, being together whilst being healthy feels like the biggest blessing we could ever ask for.
We worry about friends and family who are isolated, living alone or suffering with the virus. Not being able to reach out and physically help them is the hardest part in all this. Sam’s Dad has the virus and is in a nursing home. His Mum lives alone in York and My parents are shielding in Cheshire. Being together as a family unit has kept our spirits up and we have tried to keep ourselves present for our friends and family with FaceTime and zoom chats.
I must admit I’ve enjoyed being with the kids with less distractions of the usual over filled day to day. I want to keep hold of some of that mentality after lockdown. I will also try and savour the little things so much more dearly.
We miss our friends and family hugs so much, we love hanging out with friends and our home is always full of people. All four of us celebrated our birthdays during April, Sam and I both turned 40, and whilst it was nothing like how we planned it, we felt so very loved both from each other and from afar. Our friends made creative doorstop treats and left them during their daily walks. We missed touching them so much, but in many ways we felt their kindness and consideration much more deeply.
Having less of an agenda has been so freeing and so much less stressful day to day, we have painted and taken part in online challenges. We’ve exercised together as a family every day. I look forward to life returning to normal hopefully soon, but I hope the normal we return to, keeps hold of the simpler, more content existence we’ve all realised is possible.”
NIKITTA, HER SON CALEN (3) AND HIS DAD
“Lockdown has stopped my business running right now as I run baby and toddler classes in venues around Manchester. It has impacted me hard as I want to make sure bills do get paid. I think it will impact my business for a while as parents want to feel safe taking their children out to classes and this could take a while for that to happen.
We love to go for walks in the countryside as we can sometimes live a fast paced life. We love to cook and spend lots of time with our family.
We can have good days, hard days, it’s really up and down but I try to keep my head on and not lose it as I do suffer mental health, so it definitely is a challenging time. My son does get bored as our back garden is not really child safe to be honest. We do try to keep routines but it’s hard when the days and weeks just roll into one.
The lockdown has changed me a lot. I have taken a step back from my life and asked myself what is really important,what makes me/us happy, friends and family who have been there… the ones who haven’t. It’s been a crazy time.
At the moment I am enjoying the slow pace of everything outside. No one is in a constant rush and I hope this can stay like this to a certain extent. People caring more about our world and caring more for each other.”
MEL (ON THE DAY OF HER DUE DATE) AND JOHN
“Mel is on maternity leave but her work has shut down, she is a TV editor on Coronation Street. I’m also a TV editor and am now out of work because filming has stopped. I also photograph and film weddings which have completely stopped so my income for this summer is next to nothing.
I have fallen through a loophole so I will get almost nothing from the government. After the lockdown we are hoping there will be a lot of work out there but weddings may be a long way off.
I have a son, Oscar, who is with his mother until after the baby comes and we also have two small dogs, Woody and Honey. Oscar has had to stay with his mum because Mel is high risk which has been really hard. We facetime a lot but it is difficult.
We were expecting to be at home during this time anyway because of the baby coming so it is kind of how life would be anyway but it will be hard not having family visiting when the baby comes. Mel is very close to her mum and dad so not having them around will be difficult for her.
I think that after lockdown we will go back to normal and I think the country will go back to normal quicker than people think but it just depends when that is. I think it is further away than people think but the change back to normal will be quick.
When this is over I’ll appreciate socialising a whole lot more! I won’t be cancelling any plans because I can’t be bothered.”
EMMA, RICK AND THEIR SONS OLI (4) AND MAX (1)
“I went back to work in February after maternity leave. Rick’s work is continuing as is, he is just working from home – we both work in IT in project management but Rick is currently working in Risk so is quite busy due to the lockdown.
For the first 3 weeks we were both working full time and looking after the kids, including schooling Oli, so that was pretty stressful but I’ve since been put on furlough for 3 weeks so that has helped lots.
We like to go to all the different parks near us and when not in lockdown, we like to go swimming. I’m from Northern Ireland so we usually all love going to visit our family over there. Oli and Max also love going to soft play centres and Oli enjoys bike rides. Max is a real music lover and a great dancer!
I think we are coping ok, it can sometimes be stressful with the kids but we have outside space and next door neighbours that have 2 the same age as ours so that means they aren’t as isolated as those who don’t have any kids nearby.
Oli is getting to watch a lot more tv than he normally would as he gets to watch it during Max’s daily nap at lunchtime which can be up to 2.5 hours.
We started it when I was also working and decided it wasn’t fair to change it. Rick stays upstairs in the loft room now, only really coming down for a quick lunch so most of the day it is just me, Oli and Max. We usually do a bit of school work in the morning and try to get to the park once a day.
I think that lockdown has made us appreciate being at home and we may slow our pace down a little. We used to be busy every weekend and were always out and about or off visiting and I think we will do more at home now.”
HANNAH, PHILL AND THEIR DAUGHTER MEREDITH (3 MONTHS)
“I was already on Maternity leave so for me it hasn’t had an impact on work although it has changed the job of being a mother. Phill has had to stop working as he is currently undergoing chemotherapy and is high risk. However, he is classed as a key worker and therefore this should have little impact on his job when he returns.
We didn’t have much time to figure out what we enjoyed doing as a three before all of this but now we like homey comforts. Snuggling on the sofa,listening to music or watching films- although it takes us 3 sittings to get through one film. We enjoy going for a daily walk around the park or sitting and playing in the garden.
Lockdown has allowed Phill and Meredith time to bond as paternity leave was very short lived so it is nice to have this time together. However, I am struggling and feeling very isolated and cut off. This is not how I envisioned the first few months of motherhood to be.
We haven’t been able to attend baby groups and I feel like my support network has disappeared completely. I was very reliant on friends and family for support at this time and have found it very difficult and lonely.
Myself and Meredith had got ourselves into a relaxed but fairly consistent routine which has gone out of the window now that all 3 of us are at home all of the time. This pandemic will definitely make us far more appreciative of the people that we have around us and will make us enjoy the little things more. For us it will be less about the things we will be able to do and more about the people we will be able to see and hug and spend time with.
The confinement has made us much closer and we have enjoyed having the extra time together to learn how to navigate parenting.”