Author, influencer and mum to two gorgeous girls, Louise Pentland, gives us in an insight into her life in lockdown and shares how her family has been coping throughout the pandemic.
Although we’re all preparing for a return to some form of normality (at the time of writing, that daily coffee walk you’ve been going on with your best friend is now actually legal), it’s safe to say our everyday lives have felt far from normal for sometime now – whatever ‘normal’ actually is. We caught up with YouTuber and mum-of-two, Louise Pentland, to chat all things life in lockdown and to find out a bit more how she’s been coping with homeschooling, working from home and finding some much-needed alone time.
Whether in her book, Mumlife: What Nobody Ever Tells You about Being a Mum, or when addressing her 2.5 million Instagram followers and 2.3 million YouTube subscribers, Louise has always spoken candidly about her experiences of motherhood. With a few more weeks of lockdown to contend with, Louise speaks openly about ‘surviving not thriving’ as her family continues to adjust to life in the pandemic.
24 Hours in Lockdown with Louise Pentland
7am: “We get up pretty early, because Pearl [my youngest daughter] is three and hasn’t got any concept of a lie in. We’re always up by about 7 o’clock and then we do breakfast. We have our Hailborange vitamins at breakfast time, too and then I sort Pearl out with an activity of some description.
“We’ve been doing kinetic sand, or crafts, or paint. She’s kind of sick of them all but we kind of make do.”
8:45am: “Darcy logs on to her homeschooling. I’m really lucky Darcy (9), is just at that age where she can actually manage her homeschooling herself.
“Last lockdown was terrible, because it was all just printing a load of sheets out and sitting down with her to do those sheets, but now her school are really good and her teacher, who I just love, comes on and does a video chat with them all and sets out the day. Darcy’s really good with her routine now, which means I don’t have to sit with her all day.
“So now I am able to get some work done. I’ve actually just finished writing my new book, which is out this summer .
“But if I’m really honest with myself, I don’t feel like I’m firing on all cylinders, I’m not working to the level I was a year, or two years, ago – we’re just sort of surviving, not thriving.”
Daytime: “Pearl just plays all day – anything crafty.
“Some days are tough and so much harder because you can’t go outside as much. I’ve never been outside more in my whole life than I have in this pandemic. My children are little princesses and they complain when they’re cold. So that side of things has been really difficult because I’ve been having to entertain them at home. And, of course you don’t have your normal support system of going to your family, going to your friends, going to soft play – I mean I never thought I’d live for the day I could go to soft play but here we are.
“But also I think we’re in the swing of it, we’ve found a good routine, we’ve lowered our expectations of what’s fun these days.
“We’re a blended family and so we’ve had to change our custody set up with Darcy to support homeschooling. Before we would do all out changeovers at school but now we’ve had to change the days and he lives in a different town so there’s a lot of driving so it was just a bit up in the air. I think like everyone else, we’re just winging it.”
3pm: “I try and coax them to play outside in the afternoon after Darcy’s finished homeschool. It’s not always successful.
“We bought an indoor trampoline so that the kids can jump around on that when they don’t want to go outside, so at least they’re getting some exercise there.
“We’re watching a lot of Sky TV at the moment. We’ve upped the screen time, and again, in ‘normal times’ I would be a bit more like, “Oh no, we mustn’t be on screens so much,” but we are and I’m not feeling guilty for it, because, hopefully, by Summer we’d have thrown the screens out and be outside seeing people and more doing things.”
5pm: “The Children have dinner in the kitchen at around 5ish and Liam, my partner, and I will eat later.
“After [the children eat] we’ll just try to wind down a bit for the evening.”
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7pm: “In the evenings our children go to bed earlier. Pearl goes to bed at around 7ish, she really likes a little milk and cuddle before bed. We’ve transitioned her off a bottle as she’s three now and doesn’t have a bottle at night any more. She still likes a little cup of milk though, which is very sweet.
“Darcy is nearly 10 and she likes to sit and watch YouTube videos with me in bed, so we do that most nights.”
Evening: “Liam watches something on TV and I tend to go upstairs and work – typically during the day I’m missing out on opportunities to get things done, so in the evening is when I do all my work. Writing my new book, editing videos and getting admin done. It’s not that exciting!
“I’m pretty strict on me-time, too. Initially, I didn’t really have any because I felt like if I was going to be the best mum possible, I should do my duty and I should look after [the children] entirely and then when they’d gone to bed, I should be printing off the home school sheets and tidying up and making delicious snacks, and the list is endless. Really quickly I found myself getting down and really struggling; and not being a nice, happy, understanding and caring mummy but a sort of frazzled, half-coping mummy.
“I started having lovely bubble baths every night and I’ve also started going for a walk, on my own, three or four times a week. It’s tricky because you think, “Oh, I should bring the kids with me and we’ll go to the park,” but now I carve out specific time, an hour, where I just go by myself, have time with my thoughts and by doing that I actually find I’m a better mummy.
“What I tell myself if have an attack of the guilts is: ‘I’m not just doing this for me, I’m doing it for my children. You can’t poor from an empty cup, so I have to look after myself so I can look after them.'”
Tell us a little bit more about Hailborange’s #ItsAllNormal Campaign.
“Haliborange really want to celebrate all families. Years ago the vision of a family was Mum, Dad and two perfect children, typically a white family, and we didn’t see many families of colour, same sex families, families where there’s disability or blended families in the media.
“Blended families used to be called broken families, for goodness sake. How depressing is that to have to say that your family is broken, where in many cases, you’re anything but. It would be more broken to stay in a situation that’s not right for you and in many cases if you have a split and find someone else, you’re a fixed family.
“I’m so glad to be working with a company who want to celebrate every kind of family. This is a really nice fit, any chance I get to talk about having a blended family and having it well, I’ll take it.”
Do you think there’s more pressure, as an influencer, to parent in a certain way? Is it daunting to be put on pedestal or are you happy to share a realistic approach to parenting?
“I definitely wouldn’t want to be put on a pedestal, as I feel I am just muddling through like everyone else. I am really loving all my mummy insta-creator friends because I feel like there’s a camaraderie and a support. In a time when we can’t be together physically, being together online and having that community, I think, is more important than ever. It’s been a bit of a lifeline for me actually.
“First of all it gives me ideas of things I can do, activities to do with the children, meals they’ve been cooking. But also when you see them post things like ‘uh, another walk..’ I’m like, ‘I’m with you, I understand!'”
What do you think we need to champion more with regards to our attitudes to parenting?
“I think the Hailborange campaign name is perfect for this answer, It’s All Normal. I think we need to champion that there is no set template for a family and if you call something a family, it is your family. You can have friends that are your chosen family, Liam and I aren’t married but we’re still a family.
“I think just accepting that it is all normal, and that we live in a society now where we don’t have that ‘nuclear family’ and we can just say, ‘if you’re happy, I’m happy – crack on!’.”
Louise Pentland is working with Haliborange, the UK’s No. 1 kids’ vitamin brand, on its #ItsAllNormal campaign, encouraging family units of different types to share their ‘normal’ – because it’s all normal! Haliborange supports kids’ growth and development at every stage. To see more #ItsAllNormal family stories, and share your own, visit @haliborangeuk on Instagram.
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