Before I say anything about self-isolation, I am writing this in the hope that my family and my friends come out of this pandemic healthy, happy and untouched. For those who have been affected, my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry!

So here we are, just started our third week of self-isolation and so far so good. There has been fun, laughter, tears, tantrums, school work, Chas’s work, my work, computer games, YouTube videos, arts, crafts, baking (badly), drinking, eating, movies, more eating, online shopping and some very unusual bedtime routines!

Waiting Game

As with the rest of the world, we were playing a waiting game, desperately hoping that things wouldn’t become too serious, but inevitably self-isolation was suggested, borders were closed and curfews were imposed. These measures are obviously very much needed but at the same time, pose their own problems.

As countries began to lock down, #bekind seemed to have been forgotten and instead it was, for a while, #eachtotheirown and #imaselfishprat. Luckily here in Thailand, there was no panic buying, no stockpiling of toilet rolls and almost instantly communities banded together to help the vulnerable. That’s not to say we’ve not seen selfish or questionable acts. But on the whole, it’s been a rather calm transformation into life on lockdown.

Smog vs Covid-19

However, where Thailand is currently failing is with its burning catastrophe. We’re currently living in dangerous levels of smog every day. The forests are on fire and nothing is being done about it! We’re stuck indoors for as long as the idiots continue to burn and as long as the government refuses to deal with it! We just need the April rains to come and then the burning will subside (for another year!)

Anyway, I could write thousands of words about how pissed off I am with the smog, but now is not the time! It is what it is and we’re lucky -we have air filters and clean air in our homes. The way to get through all of this – self-isolation because of Covid-19 or smog – is with positivity. There is nothing we can do other than to keep ourselves safe, and again we’re fortunate enough to be able to do so.

History in the making

It took a while, but it finally dawned on me that this is history in the making – and it wasn’t the daily memes assaulting my Facebook page that told me this, but looking inwards at my little family unit. Yes, the kids have to do some school work and yes, we have to have a semblance of a routine, but at the same time this is no doubt the only time in our lives we have time; and lots of it. Time to spend together without rushing off to school, after-school activities, friends’ houses, dinner dates etc. Our life outside lockdown is a never-ending list of places to go and things to do. I’m fully embracing the more sedate lifestyle – as are my kids! So what if they fall slightly behind with their school work – they’ll catch up!

That being said, however, it’s also important to look outwards at those who might not have it so easy – look at your circle for starters. Some of your friends and family will really be struggling. So have a think about the next time you bombard your Facebook feed with those perfect creations. Yes, my kids have made some questionable wonderful artwork and yes we’ve had great fun baking bland delicious treats, but we’ve also had tears, tantrums, moaning, whining, late nights, far too much TV and really crap dinners.

Check-in and check up

Social media should be used for more than just a platform for perfect parenting. Check up on those family/friends who you haven’t heard from; check in on those with children who might not be coping as well or who are vulnerable for whatever reason; be empathetic towards those who have to still have to hold down their job while at the same time making sure their kids are safe, happy and thriving; and make sure you’re telling your kids how proud of them you are – not just your ‘friends’ on social media.

We’ll never get this time back. Use it as best you can. I want my kids to look back at it with a smile on their faces when they remember that month they ate breakfast at lunchtime, played until dark and had time just for each other.