Even in the first week of lockdown, pre-coronavirus norms already felt like they belonged to a different lifetime. “This advert hasn’t aged well,” my husband said, shaking his head as the TV displayed images of people clearly not from the same household congregated less than two meters apart in an office building, with one woman – eek – eating cereal directly from a co-worker’s bowl WITH HER FINGERS. She didn’t leave the cereal 72 hours to decontaminate; she didn’t even wash her hands.
Lockdown life is already ingrained. Instead of hugging and trading nits, kids shout a cheery, ‘STAY AWAY FROM ME AMELIE!’ when bumping into schoolfriends during their government-approved outdoor exercise. Grandparents are floating heads valiantly trying to read stories to grandkids over WhatsApp before the video freezes, and we chill out with friends after a week of Zoom calls by scheduling in Zoom pub quizzes and Zoom brunches in between children’s Facebook Live ballet classes and our IGTV arm toning workouts. Going back to pre-coronavirus norms, whenever that may happen, will be very strange.
If you’re racking up 10,000 steps a day walking backwards and forwards to the fridge, you’re not alone. “Treat yourself!” shout the good people of social media. “There’s a pandemic on!” So, we join the kids in their endless munching, burning through the week’s massively expensive food shop in record time. Anyone who’s had to give up the full-fat glory of pregnancy eating (“The baby needs cheese for its BONES”) and return to the world of kale smoothies will know that this is going to be a toughie.
Judging by the interactions when they see friends on the street, most kids will almost certainly forget the social distancing rules quickly (if they ever actually managed to absorb them in the first place). It may well be harder for grown-ups – will we ever be able to shake hands again without secretly longing to get to some double strength hand sanitiser and a scrubbing brush?
EASY (LIKE) MONDAY MORNINGS
For many parents, this lockdown has been a delightful 24/7 incarceration with their offspring, a heady mix of work, parenting and homeschooling, and it’s required juggling worthy of Cirque du Soleil. One bonus of the chaos has been a very welcome reprieve from trying to get everyone out of the house in the morning. Will even we be able to find their shoes when school starts again? Will they still fit (of course not)? A return to the school run will be a rude awakening.
Screentime’s a battle even under normal circumstances and lockdown has been an absolute gift to children whose soul aim in life is to spend every waking hour playing games on devices pilfered from parents’ bedside tables, or gawping indefinitely at Paw Patrol, Peppa, Rescue Bots and Shimmer and Shine. Tech’s played a pivotal role in enabling life to continue for big and little people alike, and it’s going to be a hard spell to break.
Will anyone ever be able to face getting into normal clothes again? Those of us who traded normal underwear for post-birth massive knickers and non-wired bras and are still wearing it several years after producing a baby will know that the nation’s new found love of activewear will almost certainly last forever. Buttons, buckles and belts, your days are numbered. Expect to see a full-on tracksuit in a boardroom near you soon.