Locked Down and Locked In

(This article was written in July 2020 while we were in the thick of the pandemic and India was in complete lockdown)

It has now been four months since we have been in lockdown. With the exception of a few visits to see family in the past month, we have literally been “locked” inside our home. There have been no morning walks outside or even grocery runs for the kids and me. When India went into a nationwide lockdown on March 24 due to the pandemic, I don’t think we really knew what we were getting into. The lockdown meant that everyone was going to be home all the time (although my husband didn’t have that luxury as he works in healthcare). For Indian women, the unavailability of domestic help (which is very common here) has made things even more challenging. For mothers all around the country, this meant the burden of house work increased significantly overnight. Although gender roles are more dynamic today, household chores became the woman’s duty in almost every home. For working mothers, there was an added challenge of attending Zoom meetings, finishing deadlines, and all while managing their role as primary caregiver in the family.

I remember the first few days of the lockdown, as the number of COVID-19 cases steadily increased in our city. Since we live in an apartment, the girls and I couldn’t leave our building to even walk outside. The absence of a balcony or any outside space certainly didn’t make things easy. It reminded me of a quote by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” Well, the sunlight streaming through the windows in the morning was the closest we came to “fresh air and sunshine”. The very things I had always taken for granted became a luxury we had to do without. With my husband being in the healthcare sector, this was the busiest time for him. We hardly saw him that first month. If not for the phone and Whatsapp, I would have been completely lonely and cut off from people. I went through the motions of caring for my two girls while being in a constant state of worry and anxiety over the possibility of him getting sick and in turn getting the girls sick. Needless to say, those were not easy days for me. For the girls, it was great fun in the beginning. They played all day long and watched more T.V than ever before. Routines went out the window. They would stay awake late to spend time with dad when he got home, and would therefore end up sleeping in till late hours in the morning. Honestly, at that point I didn’t care. There was nothing specific to do, nowhere to go, no one dropping in. I was just going with the flow.

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As the weeks went by, the stories I read in the news seemed to get worse. My biggest fear was that my kids would be whisked away from us, if my husband and I got sick and had to be quarantined. I prayed to God to keep us safe. I was living in fear of the unknown.There was also a feeling of guilt. Shouldn’t I just be grateful for a husband who had a job to go to while so many others did not? I had a home and food on the table, while others were struggling to get even a square meal a day. I had healthy children running around, while many others watched their loved ones suffer. This guilt and fear was overwhelming. Then one day I came across a Bible verse, which completely changed my perspective. Psalm 112: 7 “He (or she) does not fear bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” At the same time, it so happened that I was teaching my girls Psalm 91, and the Lord spoke to me through these beautiful verses.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up
"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him."


As I made them repeat these words day after day, I was able to consciously give up my fear to God every time it popped in my head. It was a daily, intentional effort on my part, with God’s help. I clung to these promises and the Word became real to me like never before. Now my fear was not mine to worry about. I made the choice to live my life one day at a time. I was not going to let the fear of “what could happen” tomorrow affect “what I could do” today.

I was not going to let the fear of “what could happen” tomorrow affect “what I could do” today.

So that meant I had to get my act together and start making some changes at home! We started by waking the girls early in the mornings, which consequently led to them going to bed early at night. It gave my husband and me some time together after the kids were in bed, to talk and catch up on the day’s events. We got back into some sort of a routine. My favorite part of the day was quiet time and Bible journaling with my five-year-old. We took time to pore over all the books on our shelves. We lived in the world of A.A Milne, enjoyed the humor of Dr. Seuss, and made up our own rhyming stories with Julia Donaldson! We drew, we painted, and we baked, while listening to Kate DiCamillo and Roahl Dahl on Audible. We welcomed dad home with dance parties to Meghan Trainor’s “Better when I’m dancing”. Wednesday night was game night and Sunday night was pizza night. We got together with family and friends on Zoom and Skype. We made it work. We made it fun.

Well, that is not to say it was all sunshine and roses all the time. There were (and still are) tears and tantrums, diaper blowouts, spilled milk, piled up laundry, a mountain of dishes and what not. I have my good days and my bad days. Days when I struggle to cook lunch while getting my older daughter set up for online school. Days when I lose track of time and wonder how it’s already time to cook dinner. There are days when I have about five projects lined up for the kids to do and then there are other days where I can barely think straight.

I can still remember the first time we stepped out of the house after three long months. It was a Sunday, the 14th of June. It was a hot day, yet we welcomed the warm wind blowing on our faces! We were excited to just GO outside, to see our car, and to meet our loved ones face-to-face. We were still in the middle of a pandemic, but things seemed to be getting better.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

C.S LEWIS

As C.S. Lewis says “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” It’s true, a change in perspective enabled me to see my circumstances in a new light. Perhaps it’s the effect of being forced to slow down, of nowhere else to be except the present, no other commitments other than your family that makes life simpler during the pandemic. Yes, at times it is more work, and maybe I’ve lost a lot of “me time” but I’ve also lost the pressure to do things a certain way. Do I stay in or go out? Where do I leave the kids while I run this errand? Will so and so feel bad if I choose not to meet up today? I definitely miss going out, meeting with friends, taking the kids to the park. And I absolutely want this pandemic to be over! But for now, the pressure is off. For now, I want to just be. I want to rest. Who would have thought that ‘rest’ was an active verb? But it is! I want to “actively” and “intentionally” rest. I want to get on the floor and play with dinosaurs with my two-year old and learn all the facts about the solar system from my five year old. I want to make the most of this time because before I know it, we will be back to “normal”, back to our busy lives and endless commitments. So, for now I choose the simple life. I choose to be present today. I live in the moment and take one day at a time.

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boredandbusymama
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11 Comments

  1. Congratulations, well-written Shiphrah. You drew me into your story. Keep it up! I look forward to reading sine of your other blogs.

  2. Yes! Covid 19 has turned the lives of many upside down around the world. Many have lost their loved ones so suddenly. I have friends who could not visit their elderly parents who were very ill in the nursing homes. Fear of the unknown grips every heart. A new normal has set in.
    However, we must always cling to the promises of God in the Bible. He gives us grace to get through each day, one day at a time.
    Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
    Blessings!
    Jaya aunty

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