Life in Coronavirus lockdown has certainly been life-changing. The threat of no income, the loss of physical contact with family and friends, and staying at home each day has been challenging, especially with 3-year-old twins. However, keen to keep the British ‘stiff upper lip’, and ‘carry on’ with some normality, here’s what I and my family have been up to during this difficult time.
This post comes in two parts. The first from me, and my experiences with this COVID-19 lockdown. Then the second part is from my wife, who has given 10 top tips for survival during this period. It comes from a professional point of view, mixing her work life with home life and being a mummy. It’s a great little piece and worth a read.
Pandemic experiences from me, The wedding photographer, the business owner, the husband, the Daddy, Ross.
This pandemic certainly hit us hard and continues to be a bit of a struggle, as we now surge into May 2020. All this began in February when the threat of COVID-19 started to rear its ugly head. From there we have entered a world where life-changing events are being dealt to poor family’s across the planet, with many fatalities to loved ones. A place whereby our work and careers are suddenly under threat, with little to no income, and we are all missing our loved ones, family and friends, who we cannot see, through the threat of spreading COVID-19.
I myself caught what the NHS believed to be the Coronavirus, quite early on (although not officially tested). Sunday 8th March to be exact about it and I struggled for 4 weeks with it. But that wasn’t the end, as I then ended up catching another chest infection and pneumonia, probably off the back of having an immune system shot to bits by COVID-19. Emergency calls were made and the NHS ‘rightly so’ advised to fight the virus at home, as they do in most cases. I had the ‘cough’ and difficulty breathing for 8 weeks and if I’m honest, it might be some of the scariest weeks of my life.
Add to that, the threat of and realisation, that weddings are just not going ahead and my livelihood has been taken away from me, in one fell swoop. The wedding and events industry has unfortunately been crippled by this pandemic and my income has been completely lost so far this year. The ability to keep me and my family going, putting food on the table has, like most of us, been quite a strain.
But there’s a sense of Britishness going on. We are all getting by, changing our way of living, pulling together, and making a difference. Scenes not far too dissimilar from the memories of 1940’s Britain.
Suddenly I am spending much more time at home with my wife Rebecca and 3-year-old twins, Chloe & George. We’re in the garden playing ball, playing airplanes, getting the bubbles out or paddling pool, making castles out of cardboard boxes. My wife and I are eating together more, enjoying our family ‘exercise’ walks to the local woods as a family, something I look forward to so much. In the sun, the BBQ is out, even for lunch. Phones are looked at a lot less, I spend a LOT less time in my home office and we all talk more.
Externally we chat with the grandparents nearly on a daily basis via video, and we play Quiz games with friends online in the evening. We all talk more than our normal pub visits, which these days is a lot less with children.
My record collection has even been given more ‘air’ time than normal, with editing now down to zero, I get a bit of time each day to listen to some great music.
Although it’s a tough old world at the moment and people are certainly struggling with this, some more than others, with varying lives. My advice is to try and find the positives. This pandemic has actually brought me and my family closer together, even my friends.
Yes, the financial uncertainty is there for me and I’m having to reschedule weddings on a daily basis and deal with lost profits. But on most occasions, I’m working with couples who have not only been fantastic to deal with under their difficult circumstances, they’ve been so understanding and helpful to me and my small business.
It’s the sort of thing that can really reinstate your faith in humanity.
I can’t wait for this all to be over, for a sense of normality to resume. But I will have a lot of positives to take away with me and place into our new lives. Into a new world, we are all heading towards. Let’s embrace some of the changes, and keep some of these great values we’ve all re-learned and re-mastered.
Top survival tips from one of the world’s best Mums, my lovely wife, Rebecca.
To set the scene I have twins, a boy and a girl who’ve recently turned 3 years old. They don’t yet go to nursery or school, so they are fairly used to home life. Seven weeks ago, I was told to ‘work from home for the foreseeable future’. My husband was then struck down with the Coronavirus mid-March, so you could say my perfect working routine, was turned upside down!
My already overactive mind went from, ‘how am I going to cope?’, fighting tiredness each day, craving my old and familiar routine to return, to now living in what I’d say is a calm and enjoyable home environment. Here’s how I have adapted my working days and managed to turn the scary lockdown situation that many parents face into one that works for me:
1. Dress for the occasion
After being abruptly woken up early to “Mummy, I need a wee!”, one of the first decisions of my day is deciding whether I put on my work outfit, or my mummy outfit, as technically I’ll be doing both. But what I don’t do is to stay in my pyjamas and work, that’s a big no-no! Firstly, I’ll be a laughingstock appearing in my many Zoom meetings, and secondly, getting myself suitably dressed helps me feel like I’m going to work, although my pink slippers will remain on my feet and well hidden!
Establishing a routine will not only help you, but it’ll also help your children settle into this new way of living. Being a parent means lie-ins are a thing of the past, however, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you can get yourself an early night (anyone who knows me knows I cannot function past 9pm!). Being an event organiser means planning comes naturally to me, so I find the second I wake my mind is in gear planning out the day, which usually works around what our ever-changeable British weather is doing! Which leads nicely onto my next point…
3. Get creative
Before you begin work set out 3 or 4 activities that kids can happily do on their own. Don’t expect these activities to last all morning, just 10-20 mins but do this before you begin work so you’re interrupted less. If this can be in a separate room or garden, you’ll reap the benefits of better concentration.
Most young ones won’t understand why they’re being kept indoors all day, not seeing family or friends, so make it easier on them by encouraging their creative side and make a rainbow poster for your window in support of our wonderful NHS and key workers. This should keep them occupied while you tackle a couple of emails!
4. Step outside
Children need exercise, daily. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, make an obstacle course, we’ve turned ours into a mini playground, or go out to a secluded spot for our one-hour allowed exercise time. Try to do this before you start work when it’s quieter so there’s less chance of meeting others, you’ll also feel in a better frame of mind to begin work.
5. Have lots of snacks ready
For you and the children. I’ve lost count of the number of times my twins demand food throughout the day; this morning my son wanted lunch at 10:30am! I’ve been using up our Easter Egg stock, think we’ll be okay for a few more weeks!
6. Involve them in your Zoom chats
We’re all in the same boat, and whether we chose to sink or swim pretty much everyone who has children, or looks after little ones will know they don’t sit still for more than two minutes, so let them see your colleagues, who knows what the future holds for them, they could be the next legend in the events world, so start them young. Plus keep tabs with your friends, play quizzes, do some gin tasting sessions, anything really to keep spirits up. It can be a lot of fun!
7. Have a regular working space
If you don’t have a dedicated office, don’t be tempted to follow the children around the house by moving from the sofa one day, to the dining room table the next (or bathroom if you choose!). Sticking to the same spot means you’re showing your children where mummy’s working spot is.
8. Don’t stress about the mess!
Yesterday I walked into the living room, every toy box was turned upside down, books flung on the floor, sofa cushions piled up to build a tower, and two children excitedly running around naked! I, somehow managed to keep my calm, took a deep breath, and went and boiled the kettle!
Take some deep breaths to focus on the moment. I find doing some yoga each day really helps to focus my mind and bring me into the present day; my mind is constantly thinking of what I need to do next, or how I shouldn’t have done or said something in the past. Yoga is also a great exercise to do with children, or pets! They can do as little, or as much as they wish. Pick a few poses, like downward dog, call them what you like…and breathe.
10. Enjoy some quality family time
One of the best bits for me having this time out of the office has been to spend some quality time with my family. Life as a parent can be tough at times, but it’s also very rewarding, so I regularly remind myself to think how lucky I am to be with my family and not stuck on some hot, overcrowded, delayed train!
Stay at home, stay safe, protect our invaluable NHS and save lives.
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The photography: All images captured with two Fujifilm X-T3 cameras.
Lenses: Fujinon XF 16mm f1.4 R WR, Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 R, Fujinon XF 35mm f1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2.
Are you looking for a wedding photographer? Would you like someone who photographs it in an alternative, fun and natural way? Fancy seeing your wedding pictures on my Instagram and on other cool wedding blogs? Get in touch and let me know all about your day! I need to know the date, ceremony and reception details and most importantly all the ideas you have!
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I am a Kent wedding photographer who has been featured within Your Kent Wedding Magazine, Rock n Roll Bride and Your Sussex Wedding Magazine, with images also published in the The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Independent, The News Of The World and many other large newspapers and magazines.
Ross Hurley Kent Wedding Photographer | Kent wedding photography | https://www.rosshurley.com | Copyright Ross Hurley Photography 2020