Freedom – It’s all a bit overrated

Maybe the title is a little extreme and more than a little tongue in cheek but one week after many of the more severe restrictions were lifted in the UK, I’m really not sure if this lifestyle is any better.

Whilst many in the country are obviously delighted to be able to get back to pubs and restaurants as well as meet up with friends, I’m one of those on the other side of the coin.

For me the concept pubs as a social venue died nearly three years ago, coincidentally the same day my Son was born. To be honest, much of my social life ceased to exist from that moment.

I’m sure there are many out there who are suffering a weeklong hangover having made the most of being able to get out and about again. There are possibly others who feel the scales are now their mortal enemy since restaurants started serving. For me though, I just ache.

Though in my mind I had just about managed to remember how tough work could be, my body had not. After a couple of shifts back I could barely move and the struggle just got worse after every shift.

More importantly though I had completely forgotten the pain of being in the strange predicament of being a happily married single parent. For those that don’t know my little family well, my wife and I work in the same restaurant but on opposite shifts to ensure childcare. This results in us basically being ships in the night during busy times with around 15 minutes to say hello to each other and handover control to our little man to his next victim. Finishing work exhausted and just wanting to relax is not an option in our house.

We have tried to make the most of the time off that we have had together and visit a few places that we’ve missed. We visited playpalz on the day restrictions lifted but had to check out early as Robbie had a tantrum. We made it out for a nice family meal too but had to check out early as Robbie had a tantrum. I could go on but the point is that going out with a two year old is way more difficult than I had expected.

The aches, pains and mental anguish of dealing with a hyperactive toddler are actually not my biggest problem with the freedom at all. My overriding frustration is that the country opening up has taken away most of the freedom I have.

You will often hear parents talk of trying to cram all of their own personal activities into the child’s nap time or the couple of hours between the kid’s bedtime and their own. I had become used to this and more than happy to keep it going but the return to work makes things far more complicated. It is now a case of squeezing a week’s worth of ‘to do lists’ into these times during a day off.

I have already managed to book in two different doctors appointments for my next bit of free time. I finally have my first Covid vaccination booked in for Wednesday morning half an hour after seeing my doctor for help to quit smoking. Both at different surgeries of course, wouldn’t want things to be too simple. How has the country lifting lockdown resulted in trying to squeeze in as many hospital appointments as I can into a day off? Must be age.

I realise this post all sounds a bit grumpy. Perhaps deciding to give up smoking at the same time as returning to work was one of my more crazy ideas. I’m only at the stage of slightly cutting down and I’m even more miserable than usual and can only apologise to my colleagues for that.

In reality though, I am delighted to see the world slowly returning to a sense of normality. On a personal level we were at a point where a chance to get earning again is much appreciated and I realise that just moulding myself into my armchair for the last six months may not have been the healthiest use of my time.

I appreciate that Robbie is in his terrible two’s and that we always have to be ready for a bit of drama when going out but I also have no doubt that he is loving all these new or forgotten experiences.

We were lucky enough that he is at the age where hopefully a year of lockdown will not have affected him but realise that it is more important than ever now that he spends as much time as possible around people and enjoying himself.

To cut a long story short, I could have written this post as a positive and happy celebration of life resuming but well… That’s just not my style! See you soon, Steve

The smartest moron I know

It’s commonly accepted that kids go to school to learn. It’s a gradual process where children get brighter every day and come out years later as semi functioning human beings. Simple right?

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Robbie the schoolboy

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