Seeking a little optimism?
London Entrepreneur, fashionista and self-proclaimed free spirit Bella was the first special guest to join us for our Lockdown Lives Q&A series, and spoke to us about how she’s coping in quarantine as a single mum-of-one (and how her Islington home was transformed into a fort for three days!). We were so intrigued to find out about Bella’s fabulous theory of loving yourself more and doing less as a parent, and her infectious positivity proved that it’s certainly working for her and three-year-old daughter Bunny! Here’s what she taught us, and you can find the full interview on Kidadl TV.
Find Your Silver Lining
“The happier I project to be then the happier I feel. Things aren’t always the best but if I focus on the negatives then I can’t be the best me and I can’t be the best mum. It really is about taking each day as it comes because some days are so smooth and others are like hurricanes, but I’m taking the good with the bad! There’s always something good in a bad situation. Yes, we had to stay home but we made this, we did this, we went on walks. Of course, there have been hard days, but just try and focus on the positives that have come out of it.”
Embrace Slowing Down
“Lockdown has forced me to slow down and my focus is really on Bunny now. I’m really present, I’m listening to her, I’ve found out so much about her - I thought I knew everything about my child but this has taught me that there’s so much stuff I didn’t know! Before lockdown, I was always doing so much, but this has taught me to just have days where we’re chilled and not feel bad that I’m not doing enough for her because she’s happy just sitting and reading a book.”
Sometimes Ignorance Is Bliss
“I don't want to overload my daughter with information she can’t really process, which might just make her more upset and more fearful. I’m trying to break it down to as much as she can understand as a three-year-old without bombarding her with information. She’s asking more questions, probably because she’s got more time to think, but unfortunately I don’t have all the answers to her questions. But I’m doing my best!”
Don’t Take Unregimented Life For Granted
“For my spirit’s sake, I am just looking forward to being able to choose how I spend my day, whether that’s being indoors, seeing family, connecting with people, because my soul needs to connect with people. It’s good for my mental health and it’s good for everyone’s mental health, being in fresh air and connecting with people. I’m just looking forward to being able to breathe with no time limit.”
But Appreciate What It Has Taught You
“I’ve lived here for many years but I’ve still found places during this lockdown that I haven’t been. We pack a little snack box, Bunny gets out her scooter and we find somewhere new to go. And it’s been so lovely. We’ve written out stuff that we’re going to find and then we check them off, and by the time we’ve checked them all off we walk back. My daughter doesn’t really like to get dirty, but on our daily walks she’s actually been crawling in the mud and had her fingernails all dirty - I love it!”
Finding Strength As A Single Parent
“I know this is a hard time for everybody but I think it’s particularly hard for single mothers, who are just alone with their children and then alone with their thoughts at night. A lot of us have no help and no one to bounce off of or even debrief with at the end of the day, but I’ve really shocked myself with how I’ve adapted. I think it’s because I haven’t put pressure on myself to get all this stuff done in one day, we’ve kind of just been taking each day as it comes. Living in the moment. Thank god she’s very like me, and we kind of just get each other. She says to me a lot ‘Mum don’t worry, we’ve got each other!’.”
Trust What Works For You
“I haven't homeschooled, and I know most people have and that’s wonderful, but it's not for us. I would love a routine but our life just doesn’t work best in that way. I'm just about keeping up with all of the other stuff that I'm doing, so I didn’t want to have a schedule and then feel like I'm failing because I know for me it’s unachievable. We like to just be spur of the moment, we have done educational stuff but it’s been natural, rather than being in battle with each other. If you want to make a list of things to do, maybe don't put time on it. Just know that at some point during the day you’ll get this stuff done. Sometimes we’ve ended up being able to do more than I even wanted us to just by going with the flow and seeing how the day unfolds!”
And Know That You’re Doing Enough!
“I think my biggest tip would just be to take each day as it comes and not put pressure on yourself. Any parent already worrying that they’re not doing enough, you are doing enough! That took me some time to work out, the fact that I was worrying about the kind of parent I am, but she looked at me like I was everything and more! So sometimes we second guess ourselves but our children think we’re amazing.”
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