Creative Dundee

Blog: Parenthood and the Lockdown

Our blog series regularly invites guests to share their thoughts on different aspects of life in Dundee, their own practice, and anything in between. Hayley Blakeman is a drama practitioner based in Dundee. She is passionate about creating spaces where people feel a sense of purpose and belonging.

How’s lockdown going for you? 

The question we’ve all been asked the most in the last 5 weeks. I’m never satisfied with the answer I give. Maybe because that answer varies from hour to hour. Sometimes from minute to minute as I’m on Maternity Leave and my lockdown consists of looking after 4-year-old and a 7-month-old.  

I’ve learnt a lot in the last few weeks. From realising that Joe Wicks isn’t for us and that the novelty of online classes quickly wears off. To the fact that bananas don’t last long enough to make bread in this house – but if we did make it, would be gone in a day! I’ve never been more grateful that my husband has been perfecting his coffee making skills for years and that coupled with Blend bean delivery has hugely helped this whole situation. Especially with a baby who has no idea that now would be a good time to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time! 

I’m missing all the people all the time; Zoom doesn’t quite cut it. You can’t hug a box on Zoom, you can’t make someone tea or pour them a glass of wine. In a crowd of Zoom faces, I struggle to spot the small giveaways about how someone is really feeling. I hate feeling so helpless as I know so many people are struggling in so many ways at this time.  

But mostly I’m learning about myself from watching my 4-year-old son, spending so much time with him, in such an intense way. I understand myself a little bit more. Therefore, I’ve decided to write a letter to him – though I could just as easily be writing all these things to myself. 


Dear Lenny/Self  

I see you, finding your own little space. Lost as you imagine investigating distant lands and meeting new people. Asking others not to talk to you. It’s been a long day which in many ways was just like the one before and your mind is full of thoughts and feelings. As you talk yourself through the latest exploration, I can see the tension is easing and it makes it easier to sleep.   

I see you as you sit as close as you can with those who love you. As you tell them over and over how you love them. I see you need them to know how you feel, but also how you need the reassurance that those feelings are reciprocated.  

I see you trying to catch the eye of every person you see on our daily walks around the Law, or of the Asda delivery man that you spy from our garden. Desperate for another person to say hello to and tell them details about our day, which are of no consequence to them.  

I see your bursts of energy, tickle fights, and the silliness as you shake out all the weird emotions that are building up inside you – we can only do Cosmic Kids Yoga and Andy’s Wild Workouts so many times. 

I also see you when those overwhelming emotions can’t be expelled by the spinning, jumping and falling over. But rather result in irrational emotional outbursts. Tears over nothing and shouting over the trivial.  

I see your excitement that we are spending so much time together, as we get to know each other better. I worry that it will be hard to venture into the real world when this is over.  

I see your fear as you try to process what is going on. Your limited understanding and your big heart battling as you ask the question: ‘what can we do apart from staying at home?‘ I see the disappointment when the people you trust to know it all can’t give you the answers that you need.  

I see your boredom, frustration, and disappointment as each new day isn’t the one where we can go to a café and the Science Centre. Or just pop to Granny and Grandad’s to play. 

I see you; I understand you and I’m working on knowing you better. I’m trying my best to be patient with you. To give you the tools to be mindful.  I’ll continue giving you creative and emotional outlets. I’ll carry on trying to not meet emotion with emotion, but with calmness and hugs. I’m sorry for those times when I fail to do these things and my fear and frustrations get the best of me. 

I’ve never been here before, no one has. So, let’s try and be kind to ourselves and never take for granted a trip to the beach and ice cream at Visocchi’s ever again.  




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