Well, it looks like you’re stuck with me. Since the kind folks at The Courier asked, I’ll be keeping my column going even now lockdown is easing and I’m no longer technically “Cooped up with the kids”.
Nicola set me free on August 1 and I’ve worked out how far I can push the mister and the kids through talking about them in public, so now you’ll get my “views from here”.
I never considered myself a wordsmith. Can I spin a tale? Absolutely.
Those who know me have spent years working out how to back away slowly from my chat. I never quite know when to stop.
I love a blether. When the café opened, himself accused me of wanting a place to meet with friends and talk all day.
Meeting new people makes me happy but seeing those I love on a regular basis and having a legit reason to feed them is pure bliss.
My writing is as accidental as me opening a café. I always believed I’d make an excellent agony aunt. I may not be too good at advice, but if you’re interested in a sarcastic comment, I’m your woman.
If you ever need a slightly distracted, unsympathetic friend, I’m right here. My being distracted isn’t intentional, I just tire rather more easily and often.
This morning, I woke up and thought “MJ, you need to stop wasting time on FB and clean the house, weed the garden, fold the washing, pay the bills, walk the dogs, do the weekly shop and prepare a nice healthy dinner”. I quickly realised I am not her.
She is not me. I remind myself I’m only unproductive by the standards of the world we lived in four months ago, and that world is now gone.
This wee pep talk may make me feel fleetingly better, but does it turn the washing machine on?
No. Does it populate the Tesco trolley? Not even through the power of osmosis.
My favourite part of having the kids home indefinitely is not the continual £837,492 a month spend in the supermarket. Who else loves when you buy bananas and they eat them all in one day?
So you buy two bunches of bananas only to watch them rot because they’ve decided “nobody likes bananas”. My waistline is an ever-increasing entity due to it being the place where banana bread goes to die.
Some days I am superwoman. Other days I give up before 9am because I have no idea what’s going on and I didn’t sleep well enough to try to figure it out.
If I get in the shower before starting some tasks then I’m winning.
Things get done. There is a flurry of activity and things can be scored off the “to-do list”.
If I skip the shower and go straight to the laptop then I can disappear down the black hole involving filling lots of online baskets only to get to the checkout and realise that I haven’t won the lottery during lockdown.
Middle kid then says “you’re still in your PJs and it’s 4pm”. I laughed and said, “Oh sweetie, clothes are so 2019”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry anymore, but she’s laughing so I will, too.
The thought of returning to work requiring clothes with buttons and non-elasticated waistbands is almost terrifying enough to make me drop my third jaffa cake.
My convenient “shielding” excuse is about to expire and I shall be released on to the world once more.
Not that I’ve been the world’s best “shielder” (sorry chemo team), but I have used it as an excuse not to go running, jogging or long-distance cycling. FOREVER. How often have I exercised? Three times. A week? A month? I’ve given my answer…
I remind myself parenting is a lot of getting up when you’ve just sat down. Amazon parcels don’t bring themselves into the house. I type really quickly which is almost a speed sport.
All exercises in my eyes. Talking uses calories yes? No? Fine. Once littlest kid’s birthday is over and I’m free to roam again, I’ll get right back on it.