Under House Arrest

Photo by Fate Photography

Lockdown, quarantine, isolation, social distancing…. who would of thought this would ever happen in our life time…. but BAM! Corona hit, and hit hard, real fast.

This virus has impacted the entire world and has affected each and every one of us differently. From illness to plans being cancelled, isolated from loved ones, loss of jobs and income. Some have been affected more so than others but none the less we have all felt it.

When this all hit Australia with a whopping big slap in the face, I sure as hell felt it like a punch to the gut. First, shows that I had been booked to perform in were cancelled, then boarders were closed off meaning my trip to New Zealand to perform at The New Zealand Burlesque Festival was cancelled and the actual event itself was unfortunately cancelled too. My final dental surgery was postponed to months down the track. Beauty salons were put on the ban list and then kids were asked to stay home from school if possible. Now this may all seem like first world problems to most, and yeah I guess it is but when that all hit me it was hard to swallow. Which started a downward spiral into a depressive state. Everything had changed very rapidly and I was technically forced into unemployment but then made to work for free in a profession I am not qualified to do. Was this the start of something like ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’…. What on earth.

That’s right, I was now a school teacher. A primary and high school teacher. Lord help me. Having 1 child in primary school and 1 in high school made things extra hard. Just trying to teach 2 kids is hard enough, seriously anyone with more than 2, far out, are you still sane? So how did we all go? Cos I almost had a mental breakdown, not even kidding. I had one particular day there where I sat at the dining table with my face in my hands sobbing at the fact that if I fail at this then my kids fail…. yeah I know they will be fine, but at the time tensions were high. Oh and to all those who posted on social media about how amazing it was can go suck a ____ <how do I insert an eggplant emoji here>. I call bullshit on your perfect little study set ups and sneaky selfies sipping wine with your kids in the background working away peacefully. Be honest, you smashed back the whole bottle in one day. Ok, maybe I’m just a little bit jelly but really though, rub it in much.

Don’t get me wrong the teachers did an epically amazing job of getting all the school work online and offering a huge amount of support for the parents homeschooling their kids but it was still a lot to take on. My youngest was certainly easier than my eldest. Trying to navigate 3 different online platforms to get their school work and keep up with emails and messages from 10 or more teachers was a task in itself. However we pushed on through and made the most of it.

Our home school daily schedule

For the end of term 1 as everyone was starting to take their kids out of school and the online stuff was still being set up by the school I decided to make a daily schedule up to try and attempt some sort of routine. This actually worked really well but as term 2 rolled in and the school had made up the work packs, things changed. Again my youngest being in year 4 was far easier to deal with than my eldest who is in year 7. Trying to stick to the usual daily schedule he has at school and checking into each class as if he was there moving from class to class was beyond difficult. By the time we worked out what he needed to do for a class he literally had 10 minutes left before needing to move on to the next class. This caused an immense amount of stress and anxiety for my son which only made me more stressed.

I am very lucky that both of my kids are actually pretty smart little cookies but for my eldest dealing with the change and struggling to navigate the online schooling was made harder due to his anxiety and sensory issues, OCD, and motor processing disorder. At school he has access to EA help and also the school social worker. So yeah, homeschooling not so fun for me or the kids. I heard so many parents make the comment that teachers need a pay rise after all this as now us parents have experienced first hand what it’s like to be a teacher. Look teachers sure as hell went above and beyond to make things work during this time and had to adapt quickly to accommodate for kids at school still and kids being home schooled, heck yeah they deserve a bonus at least…. however can we all please remember that teachers not only get paid to teach our children but they are also qualified to do so, us parents on the other hand are not.

Mind you, as much as I found it hard trying to help my kids (not so much teach) with their school work and not knowing my way round some of those subjects, English I’m looking at you. Oh, I also forgot to mention the fact that my husband was away at work so this was all left to me to tackle solo. I was however delighted to help with one subject…. drum roll please…. Drama! When I read through the assignment details I was literally grinning from ear to ear, thinking <I’ve got this>. Stage lighting, props, characterization, facial expressions…. <Mumma got this one>. Going through and talking about all these things and watching my son become more and more interested and really enjoying learning about something that I love was the absolute best thing to experience (oh Lordy, now I’m crying like a baby) and worth every bit of stress that came before that.

School work at the dining table and morning bike rides

So, yes homeschooling was a huge stress and was definitely not at all within my skill set but there was good parts to having my kiddies home. Having the daily schedule in place to start off with meant going on daily walks/bike rides for exercise, gardening, outdoor adventures and cooking each day altogether. Plus one day my little man decided to do my makeup as part of ‘creative time’. We had so much fun filming that one. He did however turn me into the Joker, which of course I’m totally cool with.

Now, getting back to my downward spiral into a depressive state…. when COVID-19 set in and the whole of Australia was busy hoarding toilet paper (which I still don’t understand) I was dealing with huge adjustments and disappointments. Yeah, I know “it’s just the way things are now”. I found the worst part was the fact that this was what everyone would say, “it’s just the way the things are now”…. no shit Sherlock. Regardless of what is happening in the world, what is happening to you is still valid. Were we all of a sudden not allowed to feel anything or express our emotions. Seriously, I get that the whole world has come to a stand still and everyone is adjusting to the change and the panic of it all but being cut down and pretty much told that me being upset my surgery is cancelled, being angry my salon is banned from operating and I now have little to no income coming in, being stressed I’m having to home school my kids just doesn’t matter because “it’s just the way things are now”.

Holding all these feelings and emotions in only makes it worse. It took me a few long ass weeks to get my feelings in check and come to the realization that being pissed off about how my life had changed wasn’t going to make it any better. It was time to crawl out of my self loathing state and embrace the change, find ways to not only occupy my time (other than homeschooling) but also make me smile and have things to look forward to. It looked like I was going to be self isolating for a rather long time (5 weeks I didn’t leave the house other than to pick up or drop off my hubby at the airport – FIFO life) sooooo…. As lame (or cringy as my kids say) as it may be, I started making tiktok videos. I even got my friends to join in, by getting them to film at home and send to me to be edited together {you know the whole social distancing thing}. This got me doing my hair and make up each day, which makes me feel good. I even finally got onto starting my Etsy store selling t-shirts featuring custom designs inspired by body positivity and confidence. I also brought the Western Australia Burlesque community together in a ‘Pass The Glove’ challenge, and then went on to getting the whole of Australia onto doing a nation wide edition. That’s just to name a few things that got me out of my dark hole, and when I say dark hole I mean cosy warm bed.

Keeping busy and having stuff to do helps the time pass and also gives you a reason to get up and get moving each day. If I hadn’t of found something to do I legit would of stayed in my PJs all day watching Netflix and not really doing much more than I absolutely had to do. Well really I do have to get up each day anyhow, you know the whole Mum thing but other than that it would have been a Netflix and chill marathon. I don’t even think my friends realized how much Friday night online catch ups meant to me. It gave me something to look forward to, dress up for and drink wine for fun not to drown my sorrows.

I have never not worked. I went from high school to college and straight into working in a beauty salon then within a year to owning my own salon. I barely even take sick days let alone holidays and certainly not maternity leave. I don’t always work all day long but I pretty much work everyday, 7 days a week. So not working is new to me and I don’t like it one bit. I’m lucky that I’ve still be able to sell beauty products which provides a little bit of monies to help contribute to the household. I tell you what though having all this extra time up my sleeve has meant lots of spare time to spring clean, reorganize and redecorate my house. My front living room is finally transforming into a beautiful vintage sitting room which my friends have named ‘The Parlour’. Plus all those things my hubby said he would get to eventually, well that list is getting ticked off pretty quick now, because when he is home from work, where is he going….. nowhere {rubs hands together and laughs with a very evil tone, more evil than usual}.

As of right now, I’m doing pretty well. Soon (fingers crossed) salons will be allowed to reopen. There is going to be a lot of very hairy kitties heading my way in hoards (mental note, stock up on wax). I’ve actually left the house and got out of the car, yay. Kmart was calling for me lol. My kids are back at school and they are so much happier. Since the number was increased for group gatherings I’ve even been able to see my friends face to face altogether. The online catch ups were and still are amazing but seeing some one face to face is far better. It’s amazing how you appreciate the things you take for granted once you are forced to see them in another light. Seriously, I’ve never been so happy to live on 5 acres of land, having that space for my kids to run around, is a blessing, and also have my parents live right next door. I know there are so many people out there going through self isolation alone. I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been if I wasn’t able to see my family for weeks on end.

So, amongst the fear, panic buying, washing your hands hundreds of times a day and all of the unknown, we can get through this. Be there for one another, keep the love and support going, even after all of this and validate each others feelings. Remember that there is always someone worse off than you but what you are going through still matters because it matters to you. Check in with your friends, we are all dealing with this in such different ways. Some are embracing the isolation and others are struggling. As restrictions start to ease things will start to improve and eventually return to ‘normal’. Til then try your best to be kind and understanding and not hoard the darn TP like a bloody idiot.

Love Delza xoxo

‘Crack The Mirror Of Perfection’ – Tee available via my Etsy store

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A Pinup Girl, Living In A Burly World, Working In A Beauty Salon

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