Covid, The Toddler & Me

Arghhhh… self-isolating in a small flat, on your own with Covid AND a three year old toddler, is hard.

If you’ve had to do something similar and come out unscathed, give yourself a big pat on the back.

My recent stint was emotionally (as well as physically) challenging.

All I wanted to do was be still and horizontal but, as you parents know, being a felled grown-up in the vicinity of a small person means you instantly turn into the ring of a WWF bout.

My head hurt.

My nose streamed.

Every limb ached and I felt fogged from head to toe but my little one still insisted on grappling me like he was Hulk Hogan.

Now – obviously – I’m very grateful I passed by this period of illness (and the last time I had Covid) without serious consequence but I did feel rough. Worse, in fact, than previously.

I could barely drag myself off the sofa. All I wanted to do was be motionless but that’s not an option with a pint-sized Mr Hogan commanding the room!

So, my son and I played games for a bit. We baked once, dressed up, read a lot and watched Disney movies. We made it through okay, but I also learnt a few things about myself after they uncomfortably bubbled up…


Firstly, going outside every day makes me feel I’ve accomplished something and – what I realised from this current isolation – is that I need to feel ‘accomplishment’ to feel good about myself.

This means if I can’t go outside or do anything other than muster a 2 minute game of snakes and ladders, I immediately feel my time has been useless (and therefore, what use am I!?!).

Reflecting on this new, jigsaw-like piece of self awareness, I suppose, I’ve always known ‘accomplishment’ was a thing. Now, though, it was highlighted to me in bright, bold and with surround sound so I couldn’t conveniently ignore it.

I brought awareness to my gremlins and challenged them – ‘What use are you to me? What negative impact are you having? What evidence is there that my worth hinges on accomplishment?’

Taking a reality check shone light on the falsehoods and inconsistencies I was thinking and feeling. I knew what was real and helpful, and what was just a story.

I know my worth is not about going outside, ticking things off a list, ‘achieving’ or anything else goal-orientated. Accomplishments can be galvanising and good, but they do not define how ‘good’ I am.

My worth is not validated by the external. I am enough just as I am – whether indoors or out – lying still or doing things.

Mindful practices were also very beneficial for me during these uncomfortable moments about accomplishment. I focused on what was happening in the present – on what my son was doing, on the colours and shapes I could see and I listened to the noises of my flat and noises outside. We watched the clouds from our skylights and touched the fabrics around us. These all helped to ground me in the now and in what is beautiful.

Breaking Patterns

The second thing I realised – and this is hard for me to admit because of the shame it brings – but I snapped at my son a couple of times whilst ill. There was also the odd eye roll when he was asked me to play bingo for the 115th time.

Thanks to a lot of self-reflection and digging about in why I do the things I do, I caught myself after these moments and felt a swell of guilt. Being like this is not how I want to be – there’s a mismatch between my values and actions.

After I snapped and rolled my eyes, I apologised to my son and said I felt poorly and not like normal. I asked him if I could try again and do better.

I used a clear, calm voice and gentle words to express myself so he understood and felt no schism in our love.

He told me I’d done a good ‘try-again’ and we had a hug.

Sheesh, single parenting is like the best therapy money can’t buy!

Single Parents in Isolation

As our Covid days and isolation came to an end, I considered (as I have many times) how other single parents managed their lockdowns over the past two years.

Gingerbread states “Single parent families have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic. Urgent action is needed to protect single parents and their children during the crisis and beyond.”

How did you cope with multiple kids at home and a job to do online?

What helped you manage if you got ill or tackled long Covid?

Did you feel lonely when stuck indoors?

My trail of thoughts went on….

Our recent time in isolation was both hard and good, which also sums up how the past two years have been for me. Lots of positives alongside more than a few negatives.

If you’d like to talk about anything that’s come up for you as a single parent during Covid, then please get in touch today.

dressing up
My son dressing up as a fireman or a fisherman (depending on how you look at it!?)
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Letting Go

A few weeks ago, I found out my ex – my son’s dad – is having another baby in June and, since, I’ve experienced much in letting go.

There have been multiple difficult thoughts, feelings and emotions from anger and panic to resignation and sadness. I’ve faced stuff I had no idea was lingering, along with crazy night time dreams (and these say a lot about my subconscious)!

Blocked fears, beliefs and opinions have been realised and whilst many aspects were intense and exhausting, I’ve also had a releasing and cathartic experience.

Studies show that the best ways to forgive and forget take an emotional form so I know this was the process which needed to happen for me.

The Process…

Firstly, I felt deep anxiety and anger. Those two beasts rose their ugly heads high with my fear of change and numerous unhelpful ‘what if’ scenarios surfacing.

‘What if’ my ex and his girlfriend end up like he and I did?

‘What if’ my son isn’t loved as much as the new baby?

‘What if’ my son doesn’t see his dad as much?

‘What if’ my son is impacted and worse-off, and additionally (more selfishly), what if my life is also affected?

What if…?

What if…?

What if…?

Thankfully, I was able to voice all the above to friends and family – those who have my back. They listened to my stuff, told me it’s just stuff and then listened some more.

In essence, I was wanting to control the uncontrollable.

I can’t control these things and nor should I. My ex is free to get on with his life as I’m free to get on with mine, and I do trust he does as well as he can by our son (as he trusts me to as well).

I was also passing judgement on things that haven’t happened, pouring ill-will on the imagined. This serves absolutely no purpose to anyone or anything, and does nothing to aid letting go.

After all the ruminating and worry, I felt flat and tired. I wanted to hide away so I rested my weary mind and took time out from over-thinking.

The gift of learning

Feel The Feelings

Then, came a wave of sadness and I cried.

I really cried.

Belly wrenching tears over aspects I had no conscious clue were there.

The realisation that, regardless of how things where at the end of our relationship, at the start, my ex had made me feel very special. I really loved him then and was still holding onto the idea our son’s conception and birth was something unique. I had no idea this remained a thing for me.

I also cried over the fact that life may well be different going forward for my son. It could be better (when he gets a little brother to muck about with) or it may be worse, no one knows. Things will be as they’re meant to be, and that goes for any impact that comes for my life too.


Through my tears, I finally came to accept the idea that maybe my ex and I just hadn’t been right for each other. Perhaps things would work out well with his girlfriend and this family he was creating?

Perhaps I needed to leave my stories in the past now and truly move on?

Perhaps the time was right in letting go for me and everyone involved?

All of this stuff was a big and bitter pill to swallow but something else came after the tears…


Through feeling the feelings, allowing them to be and accepting their presence as a gift for me to learn from, I was able to get to another place.

I faced, processed and released tethers I had no clue were tying me up. True freedom is on the other side of that.

The present and the future are a gift


I made the choice to fully forgive my ex for everything that happened as well as for the version of events I was holding on to.

I wish abundant joy, love and happiness to him, his girlfriend, their new baby and the family they’re creating alongside the boy he and I made.

I also forgive myself, sincerely and profoundly. There has been nothing wrong in me feeling the way I have or for blocks in my subconscious. I have simply been living a real and powerful human experience which I can now move on from and let go.

The Present

Today, I have a new life ahead of me and I rest in a place of love and light. Today and all the gifts I have are what are important.

My son has two parents who love him, he is a joy and a gift to us. He has 3 half siblings from his dad, every one a gift to my son and the world.

My son has wider family and friends who adore him and they support and guide both he and I.

I have a career I love which serves others purposefully and powerfully.

We live in a beautiful place and have good health.

We are blessed.

The Future

Last week, I wrote a card to my ex’s family. I hadn’t heard from them in the two years since I left but I felt compelled to tell them they are always welcome to come and see my son and I anytime they like.

I received a card back, telling me their door is always open to me too.

In letting go, I’m seeing a whole host of new wonders on the horizon for my son and I. I’d missed these before whilst I was still half looking back.

I’m excited for he and I to go grab them now…


(Images from Unsplash, with thanks)

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