20 June, Worcestershire, UK

By Rachel Smyth

Today has been a tough day. I’m typing this on my phone, crouched in the darkness of my bedroom, while my daughter sleeps. I know I should be sleeping too and will regret the missed sleep in the morning. But I want to do something for myself today – and so, I write.

It hasn’t been an exceptional day today, so I’m not really sure why it’s been so hard. My husband has been ill for a few days and is pretty much out of action following a minor operation yesterday. All the household chores and childcare have fallen to me. This was normal pre-lockdown. However since my husband was furloughed in April, these responsibilities have been somewhat more equally divided.

I am, maybe unfairly, resentful that my husband can rest when he needs to and can recuperate when he’s ill. Since my daughter was born, this has been impossible for me. I’ve had to carry on through an unplanned c-section, countless colds (an unwanted perk of playgroups), several bouts of mastitis, a particularly delightful episode of norovirus and other illnesses. The extra practical, physical and mental load can be exhausting. When you combine it with the fact that my daughter rarely naps anymore, the days can feel long and there’s little opportunity for any respite.

I’ve definitely taken my frustrations out on my daughter today by being more impatient with her than usual. I feel bad for it and for not being able to give her enough of my time and attention the past few days. I’ve promised her that I will do better tomorrow. Told her that Mummy is tired and I’m sorry. Although she’s only just turned 3, she seems to understand and gives me a big hug. Mother guilt is very much present and real today.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I am meeting my parents and siblings in the morning for a “socially distant” get together. The never-ending lockdown in England and our ever-increasing death count are equally depressing and infuriating. I’m angry at how useless our government has been through the whole pandemic so far and their apparent lack of accountability. Everyone talks of moving towards a ‘new normal’ but for now, I just feel stuck in a weird limbo with no end in sight.

The weather has been terrible here the past week. It’s made it much more difficult to escape the confines of our house for some much-needed fresh air and a change of scenery. After days of grey skies and rain, we have warmer weather coming again. I can’t wait for the sunshine.