'I barely sleep, eat, drink': Dear mums of Victoria, you are all heroes

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

I can't stop thinking about all the Victorians doing it tough at the moment, but especially my mum friends who are dealing with stage four lockdown restrictions with children.

My biggest message to them is thank you.

While life in SA is starting to get back to normal, I still feel nervous that our time will come, and we'll head back into lockdown again. But in the meantime, knowing my friends are stuck in this hellish reality makes me heavy-hearted. And knowing their children are missing out on so much makes doubly sad.

And it's not just my immediate friendship group, I know mums all over the state are struggling right now.

Those out of work not knowing how they'll afford to put food on the table, those juggling work, school and everyday commitments, those far from loved ones or living in unsafe households, and those working in high risk sectors scared for their own health every single day.

I interviewed a few Victorian mums, and this is what they had to say.

'I barely sleep, eat, drink'

For Rebecca and her partner, both essential workers in residential construction with a child at home remote learning, they're exhausted. 

"We are always out there first distributing relevant information and being there for everyone if they need support and ensuring compliance on site, with safety our primary goal," Rebecca said.

"As a result, I barely sleep, eat, drink, give myself any self-care and work through the night after midnight most days - even the weekends now.

"My son is home doing his learning and I barely get to see him or spend any quality time with him where I am present and engaged and not stressed and just trying to hold it together by a thread."

But to help make life a little happier they've turned their home into a Christmas wonderland.

"My son is obsessed with Christmas and this is his coping mechanism, so my house has been decorated already for a month and I love it," she said.

"We listen to Christmas carols every day and when I do have time, we make care packages for people - mostly he instigates this.

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"He is becoming a kinder more compassionate person and I appreciate that."

'Juggling work and a two-year-old is not possible' 

For Laura, she's concerned about her mental health.

"As a parent of a two-year-old - I am worried about my mental health. I work full time (as does my husband) across three different businesses and need childcare for me to be able to work," Laura said.

"I am concerned about my career, my business and being able to juggle that with a two-year-old. And I worry that my mental health will suffer - because 'juggling' a two-year-old actually isn't possible while you work.

"I'm passionate about women in business - and I think many other women will be worried about their mental health in the same way that I am."

'It feels relentless'

Donna has a 16-year-old, 14-year-old and a 12-year-old who has autism and an intellectual disability. 

"The impact for our family has been quite significant," Donna said. 

"Trying to give our attention to work and also home school our three boys, has been difficult but we've managed to work it out. We try to do something fun every day to break up the monotony of being home," Donna said.

"It's been hardest on our youngest son as he has autism and doesn't understand why he can't go to school and why he can't go to his favourite parks. 

"He also doesn't understand we need quiet time to work. Our work colleagues have become quite used to hearing him in the background of our zoom meetings."

But watching their friends struggle has been one of the worst aspects.

"The hardest part is seeing our friends lose their jobs and their income," she said.

"I'm a charity CEO and many people who used to donate to us are now needing our help. Our charities workload has tripled but due to COVID-19 and social distancing our volunteer force has reduced to around 10 per cent.

"We know there will be an end to it but some days it feels relentless. We just have to keep taking each day as it comes." 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To everyone in Victoria - thank you. 💕

A post shared by Bianca Wordley (@biancawordley) on

You are all heroes

And that's the best way of approaching lockdown, one day at a time. If you let your mind race ahead, it will feel even more overwhelming.

Please know the rest of Australia are thinking about you all, parents or not.

I feel very grateful to my friends, and the wider Victorian community, in lockdown, and while I know this time sucks for them all, they should be so proud of the sacrifices they're making for the health of this country.

We are thankful to them and always here if they need someone to talk to.

The day will come when restrictions all over the country will be lifted, and we'll all celebrate in the streets.

Thank you, people of Victoria, you're all heroes.