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Mess has been a big thing

Mummy Thompson's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

Our home is a 1930s semi detached. We're lucky to have plenty of space, inside and out for mummy and daddy to (try to) work from home, and to homeschool and entertain our two daughters; Harriet, who turned six on her lockdown birthday in April, and Elissa who is 18 months.

We have a little dog who we walk across the fields and paths around our Bedfordshire home.

Take part in our Stay Home collecting project

Colourful chalk writing thanking NHS, police and other key workers
Thank yous for the people keeping us safe and keeping the world turning

In what ways has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way you use your home?

Our home has had to become a home office (spare room, which is now a little crammed!), a school house (the dining table), a nursery (anywhere Elissa decides she wants to lay her toys/colouring/bike/playdough!) as well as still functioning as the safe space and happy home it usually is.

How do you feel about your home? How have these feelings changed?

We love our home. We have lots of space and are slowly turning it into a modern day home, with some art deco accents and a lot of nods to the Bedfordshire arm of London Brick which employed numerous members of our family. Whilst we hoped to have more time on our hands during this period, with the lack of commute and general life 'stuff', the opposite seems true!

Mess has been a big thing...and the level of food required throughout the day, and washing generated throughout the week. Keeping on top of the explosion of toys, dirty clothes and school pencils is a battle mummy and daddy have given up on!

We've relaxed about our home – it's serving a much more important purpose than restoration and looking good, at the moment. It's providing a safe place for our family and that takes priority over all else.

Child pushing a toy trolley
The toys have won the battle... will mummy and daddy win the war?!

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

It's lovely and humbling being more involved in our six year old's school day. She's very bright and hardworking (most of the time!). It makes us appreciate so much more the value of teachers. The same goes for our amazing childcare providers!

Our youngest is very switched on and lively, so needs lots of interaction and engagement. We knew this, but haven't been witness to it every day for such a long period. In some ways, it's a blessing... in others, it's exhausting!

Overall, we are feeling incredibly lucky to have this time together and be in a happy home, with incomes and jobs being secure. Where we are struggling, is not seeing our extended family and friends. We all miss hugs from our mums/nanny/grandma. And our six year old has had a few meltdowns about missing her friends, teachers and even assemblies! We're counting our blessings that we have so many amazing people in our lives, and can't wait to see them all again.

What do you appreciate most about your home? What do you find frustrating?

The space our home offers us. There's room to roam and room to find some time alone, if needed. The garden has been especially important for us and our dog, as the footpaths are far busier than normal, so we've not ventured out on most days. The frustration with so much space is that every inch of it can become covered with toys, books, strewn shows, pencils, wooden cake slices, ride-on cars and tot shopping trolleys! There's plenty of room to play, ride, dance and build dens... so they do!

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

Whereas lots of people on social media have taken to Tik Tok, big renovation projects or garden overhauls, we have been far too busy trying to juggle working, parenting, 'teaching', and being a childcare setting. It's definitely been challenging at times, especially when work is busy. There have been occasions where a video call has had background noises sounding like World War Three because someone isn't sharing.

Our colleagues have all 'met' the children via Skype or Webex. This way of life certainly exposes the human side of work colleagues and it's been a bonding exercise. We always try and look on the positive side, and take the rough with the smooth, so seeing this as the exceptional time it is has allowed us to find new ways of working and see new sides to colleagues. Perhaps one difficulty is seeing all the fun projects other people have managed to find the time for on furlough, or the skills people without children have had the time to develop. However, we take stock and realise that we wouldn't change a thing in our home life!

How is your sense of home affected by your neighbours or those living nearby?

Our neighbours are lovely – one side lives alone, so we've been checking in to make sure she is okay. The other side passed a 10 foot trampoline over the fence for our children, which has been a total godsend! Relationships have definitely developed and we are closer than before. We all go to the end of our driveways for the Clap for the NHS and wave along the road to other neighbours. There is a new found sense of our small little community – we're all in this together.

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