Return to normal or a new normal?

Hello there! How’s it all going?

I don’t personally believe things will ever ‘return to normal’. I am more of the opinion that there will remain a ‘new normal’ that will keep adjusting as we – collectively – try to find a balance. I’ve had some time to reflect (more so since my kids went back to school) and one thing has continuously resonated with me throughout is this: slowing down. This taking one day at a time and seeing how that feels. I’ve done this before, when I’ve travelled for long periods on my own, but I’ve never done it with a husband and two kids and it’s mighty different than doing it self-imposed with no travel restrictions. As a family, we’ve always been busy with places to go, things to do and see and try and enjoy and…

Tallows Beach, Byron Bay

when all that is taken away from you in an instant, and your world shrinks to pretty much the house you live and if you are lucky, a long stretch of beach where you can take a walk, have a swim or surf it suddenly becomes a whole new world you have to navigate. Not only that, you have to navigate it for your kids too so that ultimately they feel safe and secure. It’s a big ask.

Compass

On the one hand we suddenly found ourselves with no work, applying for job seekers allowance, freezing our mortgage repayments and the most crushing of all, cancelling a never before taken with kids, overseas trip to meet my family; parents brothers & sisters and their offspring – who are similar ages to our kids and this would’ve been the first time we all met in person. Oh the excitement of the planning and booking and countdown to departure 😆 – the last week in June. Oh the tears of frustration and disappointment that it cannot happen.😫😭  And, before I forget, on the other hand we are being are a rock for our children who are suddenly at home with us all day and any space that could’ve been given to the raging torrent of thoughts endlessly bombarding our minds of how to cope with this new situation, is taken up with supporting them in this equally bewildering transition.

overseas flight

It’s exhausting, frequently unbelievable, but it’s connected us as a family and strengthened those bonds in a way I can only be grateful for. School from home means that we have taught our kids and we have equally been taught by them; gaining a real insight into how our children learn and what subjects they are strong with or struggle at, what ignites them and what leaves them cold and importantly, how we can better support them in their learning.

school from home

All that said, I definitely do not feel the urge to homeschool my children as a result of this time together. I do however believe that I better understand the rhythm of their school day and how important that is to them. I am more interested in what they study and in how they feel like that subject is going for them. This is reciprocated in them being willing to share more about their day at school as we as their parents, understand it better and also – after having been their teachers – their increased confidence in us actually understanding what they are trying to explain. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all roses. There were very loud discussions, slamming of doors, time-outs and tears to get there. To get to the point where when questioned by another adult (my dad on FaceTime)  “Do you like being home schooled by your mum?”, the response from my 8 year old son was “yes, I like her as a teacher, she’s good and she’s funny but, I’ve never had a teacher who swears… and she swears… a lot!” Cue a combination of proud and mortified face from me!  😇😳

school from home

So, back to this time of reflection. From always having something to list, follow-up, share, promote on social media etc on Byron4Kids, to all activities and events for families and kids coming to an immediate and abrupt halt at the beginning of the 3rd week in March 2020 -save for the odd online show here and there over subsequent weeks – there has been barely anything to do. I’ve received and responded to no more than a handful of emails and messages over the past 10 weeks. This period of almost silence has been weird in the extreme… except when you put it together with the catalogue of weird and unbelievable situations life has thrown at us all over the past two and half months, then it just becomes another addition to the list.😔

addition to the list

Except now the list is being updated. Slowly but surely things are changing. Glimpses of life pre-Corona virus are appearing although in post-Corona virus mode. Playgrounds and skateparks are opening up (albeit to currently only 10 people at a time), libraries have a new system of being able to borrow books until they feel ready to reopen their doors to the public, kids have returned to school with stringent physical distancing and hygiene measures.

playground reopened

On 1 June, holidays will be allowed in NSW. Pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants will also be allowed to have up to 50 customers. If they are comfortable with opening and are able to have all the health and hygiene requirements in place, people will also be able to visit museums, galleries and libraries.

However indoor entertainment venues – such as the cinema, theatre, community centre and indoor sport & recreation centres remain closed until further notice – which could mean tomorrow, next week or next month. I am unsure what the new measures mean for other kids activity and entertainment providers – such as playgroups, dance schools, circus schools, skate schools. Local attractions such as Macadamia Castle have just announced they’re reopening as of 1 June, and the Crystal Castle be opening as of Thursday 4th June  As soon as I know more about other local activities attractions, I will endeavour to let you know by sharing social media posts.

Summerland Farm Tractor Tour

In the meantime, Byron4Kids will slowly ease back into social media circulation. Slowly because a) this is how things are moving in the world of kids activities & events here. b) I don’t want to jump the gun and – like I did for the Easter school holidays – chase up and list a heap of events before lockdown was even a thing here, only to have to cancel/delete/undo all my efforts due to COVID-19 restrictions and c) because I am finding inspiration in being slow. In not living the hectic life I that I believed I had to live pre-Corona. Sure there are some things I miss, but being run off my feet isn’t one of them. It’s not so much ‘taking it slow’, it’s rather ‘not jamming too much into a day and doing things in a rush and being exhausted at the end of a day like it’s some kind of achievement’. It’s doing less and being more. Surely the opportunity to make thoughtful, conscious and inspired choices can only be of benefit to a person and to a business and I want to be the best person and operate the best business that I can.

Open For Business

So, if you have any information about a kid/family friendly business that is re-opening in the near future, has reopened already or has perhaps temporarily moved online until they are allowed to reopen, it would be wonderful if you could let me know. I would be delighted to share this information on social media to promote awareness of their offering. And, as restrictions ease, I will return to listing the fun stuff on our What’s On Guide too.
You can PM me through FB or Insta or email me direct at info@byron4kids.com.au

💗 A Huge Thank You 💗

Thank you for all the support that has been offered during this time. From signing up to the newsletter, following Byron4Kids on social media, renewing your subscription to the What’s On Guide – despite it currently being empty it’s the trust you have placed in it being refilled to be the one-stop-shop for family friendly activities and events –  the kind comments, messages and reviews. It’s those gestures of encouragement that lift my heart and make me feel blessed to do what I do.

Much love, Michelle 💗