Lockdown parenting is a smugs game

It’s almost a year since our children were told to stay home for two weeks. Looking back, we can’t but laugh at our blissful ignorance, dreading this weird situation would last until Easter or worse, summer. Eleven months down the line, we’re ‘remote schooling’ again while trying to work, maintain sanity, clean around the clock with bad hair and odd socks pondering the existential question- where have all my clothes gone?

It’s all so strangely familiar -underperforming in both household chores and schooling our young. Well some of us. While I struggle to fulfill my five year old daughter’s daily school tasks and my own, others have successfully mastered dryrobing, going for dawn runs and ‘enjoying’ lockdown with their five children who are all ‘flying it.’

Though it is physically, mentally and biologically impossible to work full time, while looking after children, and keeping the house spotless, there are some inspector gadgets out there who are doing it with a breeze. Some feature on social media after a morning workout, others share their exceptional capabilities with friends on the phone.

“Well my daughter with the pseudo made up Irish name is just working away in her room. We don’t have to do anything.” Oh so you’re paying school fees even though she’s not in school.

The smug mother who started her career saying things like; ‘‘Try having kids,” to people who don’t have children is flourishing in times of lockdown. “Yeah we love it. My husband with a pseudo Irish name has been great. He does everything. We’ve merged into one now.”

I’d say there’s nothing like hanging out with a grumpy, middle aged Irishman day and night for the best part of a year, with only the kids WhatsApp group, the pressures of work and a pandemic as a means of escape. Any chance you are turning a blind eye to his annoying peccadillos?

Even though parenting, by proxy brings out self congratulation because we can do all these things we didn’t do before, lockdown has elevated smugness, while creating hierarchies.

If you have no children, your life is meaningless and you deserve but an eye roll and a ‘yeah whatever,’ with an undercurrent of consternation and smugness.

If you have one child and work freelance, you don’t fit into the same level of importance and smugness as someone with two or more- and a full time job. Those who squeeze in jogging or sea swimming are higher up the scale, while those who get up at 5am are on the top of the smug pile.

Obviously not all parents are smug. Most are honest about the struggles of juggling it all and making a balls of some of it, while others are living harmoniously in a wonderful bubble of joy, not being smug about it.

At the risk of sounding smug myself, I haven’t spent the past year whaling at the awfulness of everything, I’ve enjoyed most of it, and have come up with lots of ideas to entertain myself and my daughter.

But let’s face it, we live in boring, frustrating and scary times. Our children should be in school, not home with us all day and if you’re saying it’s all just bloody great, you’re lying and we know it.