2020: A Year We Won’t Forget In A Hurry

We have less than 48 hours (at the time of writing) left of 2020 – and all I can say is ‘thank fuck for that’. It’s been one hell of a year, hasn’t it?

I’m not naive, I know that the beginnng of 2021 is going to be rough. Looking at the stats and news, it’s probably going to get even worse before it gets better, but I am hopeful that with two vaccines and time, we will start returning to some form of normality in 2021.

2020 is certainly a year that none of us will forget in a hurry. I’m not going to say it was all terrible – there were plenty of positives in the year, but as a whole, it was pretty shite. Here, I’m going to look at each month and try to remember everything that happened – and didn’t happen.

January

I would say it started off positively but actually, poor Australia had horrendous bush fires to deal with. If I recall correctly, there were various other shitty events – locust swarms and earthquakes. After that turbulent start to the year, perhaps the modern-day plague should have been expected!

On a personal level, January wasn’t so bad. I finally got my arse to the doctors to deal with my rapidly declining mental health. I came out with a diagnosis of OCD and a prescription for anti-depressants and the improvement was almost instant. I felt happier and much more confident. I started going to playgroups and baby sessions with Elizabeth, we went out a lot more and generally, life seemed pretty positive.

We were all aware of murmurings that a new virus had made itself known in China and that it wasn’t great, but it seemed so far away and we were assured that it wasn’t going to be a problem here. How naive we all were!

Some of my favourite blog posts from January:

Why Controlled Crying Is Not For Us

February

February came along and the discussion about this new virus got a bit louder. Still, it didn’t seem to be a problem here, and so while we all hoped that the countries who were experiencing it were ok, we didn’t worry too much.

Nothing massively happened to us on a personal level. We plodded on through, going to messy play sessions and I started up my now-neglected (but plans to restart in the new year) Tales From The Tuff Spot series and Instagram account. It was a sign that my mental health was improving – I was excited about planning activities and things to do with the kids again.

Some of my favourite blog posts from February:

Jelly and Cream Tales from the Tuff Spot

OCD and Me

March

March – aka the month where the shit hit the fan.

We went to Birmingham on the first weekend of March, not knowing that was going to be the last time I saw my nan for a very long time (still haven’t seen her!) and my parents for many months. We knew that it was getting serious, and hand sanitizer, pasta and hand sanitizer started flying out of the shops, and we realised that this virus was here – and causing chaos.

I remember sitting down with Graham the one evening and talking about whether we were going to take the kids out of school. I was really worried about the figures and wasn’t at all happy. We came to the decision that we were going to take them out, just for a couple of weeks until it all settled down…

HAHA!

Two days later, Wales took the decision to close all schools, and England followed suit. We all thought it might be for a few weeks at the most – it was six months before they returned to school.

My favourite blog posts from March:

Lockdown Learning Diary

April

April was a weird month. We were totally locked down, and while I obviously felt sad and worried about not seeing family and the number of people who were ill or dying, I actually quite enjoyed those first few weeks, in a weird sort of way. It felt like the world had pulled together – painting rainbows, communities helping one another, clapping for the NHS, daily walks and so on. We enjoyed home schooling, doing Joe Wickes workouts and Oti Mabuse dance classes, English with Holly videos and so on. I guess it was maybe a novelty, helped by the fact that it was sunny and warm.

My favourite blog posts from April:

10 Fun Things To Do With the Kids

May

You know, I don’t really remember much about May. It just seemed to pass in a bit of a blur with homeschooling and doing all the things we had done through May. Again, if I remember rightly, it was quite nice weather, so we spent lots of time out the front in the garden and going for our daily walks. It was also VE Day, and we made banners for the front window. Lots of our neighbours decorated their houses as well. I think we were allowed to go out a little further around this time, so we headed to the beach and park, which was a nice change!

My favourite blog posts from May:

A Lockdown Walk In the Park

June

Some kids started going back to school in June, but we decided to keep ours at home. Homeschooling was going well and we were enjoying the time together. We did start to meet up with friends on the beach for socially distanced play dates, and it was nice to see someone other than each other! It was Harrison’s birthday on the 11th, and while we didn’t have a party as we hoped to, we had a takeaway and a nice evening together.

My favourite blog posts from June:

F**k Off With Your Be Kind

July

July was when things started feeling like they might just go back to normal. The kids still weren’t back, but it felt like things were going in the right direction and slowly but surely, normality started to creep back in. We even started to make plans to see out families in the summer! Best of all – my family could come to stay for a few days – the first time we had seen them since March.

My favourite blog posts of July:

Let Me Hold You A Little Longer

August

August brought some normality! We managed to get to Birmingham and see my mum and dad again, and my brother and his family. We were able to go out with our friends and eat cheaply thanks to the Eat Out To Help Out Scheme and most amazingly of all, my brother and sister-in-law became parents – my beautiful second nephew, Arlo was born. I sadly still haven’t met him yet, but thanks to technology, we get plenty of pics and videos. It was also the month our little lady turned one. We went out for lunch and ice cream to celebrate.

My favourite blog posts of August

12 Months of Breastfeeding

September

After six months of being at home, the kids returned to school in September. It wasn’t quite the same as they were used to, and it was Alex’s first term at junior school. but they settled back into school life quickly. It was nice to see my friends at the school gate again, albeit it with masks and from an appropriate distance. However, the positive news of August began to give way to a feeling of despair. Cases began to rise againa nd it seemed like people were always arguing with each other on social media. Not only that, at the end of the month, Graham lost his job – like so many other people have this year.

My favourite blog posts of September:

Covid bleakness

Baa Baa Mask Sheep

October

The start of the second wave. We all knew it was coming, but I don’t know how many of us were prepared for Wales to go into a two week lockdown at the end of the month – when we couldn’t even buy birthday cards from the supermarket. It was a rubbish month, with warnings of worse to come. Graham, Alex and me all had birthdays in October, but they passed without much in the way of fanfare and celebration.

My favourite blog posts of October:

Why The Language We Use To Talk About Mental Health Matters

No Ifs, No Buts

Why Need People Like Chrissy Teigan To Talk About Miscarriage

November

What even happened to November? It just sort of flew past. We spent some of it in lockdown, then we put the Christmas decorations up, slightly earlier than normal to try and cheer ourselves up. Ben had his birthday and I joined a team of volunteers running a North Wales community group, somehting that has helped to make some new friends and do something good with my time. One thing that did happen here in our sleepy little town was I’m A Celebrity – watching the lights at the castle from our garden was pretty cool, especially the night that they filmed the Celebrity Cyclone.

My favourite blog posts of November:

Our First Halloween

December

And then we come to December – and if a month could sum up 2020, it would have been this one. First of all we could go and see family at Christmas, then we couldn’t. Schools closed early, Christmas celebrations were muted and then just a few days before Christmas, Wales were plunged into another lockdown.

Christmas has been quiet. We celebrated it at home, just us lot. It was nice – of course it was nice with four kids. They loved their gifts and we had a relaxed, chilled out day. It wasn’t the same though, not without visits to Santa, school parties, pantomimes, visits to family, Church events – it was all a bit depressing.

My favourite blog posts of December:

Fat Mum or Fit Mum? F**k Off!

What are my hopes for 2021? Well, I’m no longer making big hopes and plans. I’m taking it day by day because everything can change so quickly. I’m hoping we get to see our families more, we get to have a bit more freedom and that this damn virus fucks off once and for all. I’ve started a new little side business up making prints, and I am really hoping to expand on that and grow that, but 2021 is about looking after each other and making the most of what we do have.

Have a peaceful, safe and healthy New Year, and thankyou for all of your support this year.

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