I have to admit that even though I listened to the news and was concerned, I had a baby at the end of December and was preoccupied.
I didn't really realize the severity of the potential for the virus to spread so I wasn't worried until I heard that the situation was escalating fast.
I felt that the response was very calm but, later when things became serious I felt that social media was full of mixed messages when it was necessary to rationalize the situation and listen carefully to the different organizations' suggestions and not just share scaremongering news that lead to panic.
March 17th, When the lockdown here in France began:
My husband is a train driver so he has had to continue working so it didn't affect us on a day-to-day schedule basis, but I was and am concerned about him - he's vulnerable and exposed. I am still on maternity leave but I quickly felt very isolated, worried about my husband and having to weigh up the situation alongside figuring out how best to continue to be strong and care for our daughter.
It has been tough as I have noticed on social media that some people have been very cold and vitriolic about the situation, for example people who went to their country houses or have houses and gardens telling those in small apartments about often caring for children to stay at home. I detest the #staythefuckathome hashtag.
I have noticed a lack of empathy and a judgemental approach from some when we need kindness and to support each other. It seems some tray it as a competition to feel superior when they don't understand the extra burden this has placed on some. Many need to check their privilege during these times.
In my building many people work in essential services and we keep going each day juggling shifts and childcare amid stress and any other restrictions. With a neighbor playing music at the weekend to lift spirits and swapping cakes and kind messages with neighbors we have come together to keep going strong.
My family at home in the UK, with work in essential services - delivery, front line children's services--and they have the virus. They have sacrificed their own health to keep things going and to keep people safe.
I watch a little news in the morning to get an idea and stats but try not to take in news and opinions on social media. I am very sociable and live in Paris for the social city life so it has been tough to suddenly become so insular, it's been a lifestyle change. I keep sane by falling in love with my daughter a little more each day and embracing our family life.
I resent the way the police have treated me and others though, telling me I should not go out with my baby when my husband is working all hours and we need essentials and generally being intimidating and making me feel inadequate.
I hope it finishes soon and that there are not many more people who suffer, and I look forward to making happy memories with loved ones and seeing the countryside as we have been in the city since last spring.
I hope that as a result of this people finally appreciate the people that keep this country functioning, these strong and often overlooked people living (often on far too low wages) to help and enable others.
I have included a quote by Owen Jones that I would like to include in my contribution as he says how I feel so eloquently and fully:
"Clearly, these new jobs would not replace the old ones and not should they. Get rid of all the cleaners, rubbish collectors, bus drivers, supermarket checkout staff and secretaries, for example, and society will very quickly grind to a half. On the other hand, if we woke up one morning to find that all the highly paid advertising executives, management consultants and private equity directors had disappeared, society would go on much as it did before: in a lot of cases, probably quite a bit better. So, to begin with, workers need to reclaim a sense of pride about social worth. Doing so would be a big step forward in making the case that the wages and conditions of low paid jobs must be improved in order to reflect the important they have in all of our lives."
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