Lockdown has affected us all in different ways but it's important to find the positives where we can. We caught up with diver Tom Daley on how he's found life with his two-year-old son Robbie and husband Dustin Lance Black during lockdown.
Plans have changed a lot
I think it's been challenging for lots of people. You know, initially, when you were told to stay at home, it was like ‘Ok, great, I’ll stay at home!’ When actually, it can be a really tough experience. And I mean, it’s been a long time and all of a sudden, we've time traveled into summer which is insane. But at the beginning of lockdown, I’d assumed that I was going to be competing in the Olympic Games this summer, and then obviously that was getting postponed and initially we didn't know when it was going to be moved or if it was going to be moved. And then we did find out and then we were able to plan. But I would have been traveling here, there and everywhere going to competitions and training camps, and I do feel extremely lucky to have got to spend so much more time with Robbie, my son. He’s just turned two now and just to see so many of the milestones, I would have missed.
Typically my mum comes up every weekend and she was in London when Boris Johnson made the announcement about going into lockdown. We just said to her, 'Look, do you want to lockdown with us? Or go back down to Plymouth and then who knows when we'll see you again?' So my mum was here at the beginning of lockdown and she’s been here since. So that's another silver lining for us, you know, my mum spending all this time with me and Robbie, it's kind of like a multi-generational family bonding.
Because we've been around so much, Robbie has been so occupied with having so much more attention. He has my Mum, Lance and myself around 24/7. He's been really happy just having someone playing with him constantly which is something that he's really enjoyed but I do think that it will be nice when he sees his little friends again. There have been occasions where we've had to explain that we can't go too close to people but and to hold my hand when we'd go out for a walk. But we haven't really gone into too much detail about the coronavirus and what's going on because I don't think at two he has too much comprehension on that.
Johnsons Baby has done some research which is very similar to how my experience has been in that, this time has allowed families at home time to bond with their kids and actually, two-thirds of parents would have missed milestones if it hadn't been for lockdown. So for me, there have been lots of positives coming out of it with the relationship with my son.
I look back at photos and videos of my son at the beginning of lockdown, and it's almost like he's unrecognizable in all the ways he's changed. Like how much he is able to speak now, how much he's able to do, how independent he is. He knows all of his colors which he didn't know the beginning of lockdown. All of a sudden he knows all the words to nursery rhymes, from the beginning to the end. He's constantly looking out the window to see whether the cranes are moving, just cute little things like that. He has just changed so dramatically and I genuinely wouldn't have gotten to see that, especially in an Olympic year. There would have been so much time that I would have just been away and missed some of those amazing moments. So to be able to be there every single day and see how he's developed, I do feel extremely lucky to have been able to do that.
There's been a lot of baking and cooking in our house
At the beginning of lockdown, we were baking a lot although we couldn’t find flour for the first four weeks so we started looking online about hacks and things like buying oats and things and blending it down yourself for four. Robbie also likes baking so randomly he'll come to me: 'Papa! Robbie make cake!' And then we do and it's 'Robbie mix it!' He wants to do it all himself! Which makes an incredible mess but he absolutely loves it!
My husband Lance doesn't normally do that much cooking, mainly because his food is more on the unhealthy side. He does all the deep-fried stuff and baking sweet stuff. Occasionally, he's been like 'I've always wanted to make this, and I never make the time to do it, so I'm going to do it!' He's made peach cobblers, pineapple upside-down cake, and these amazing mole enchiladas with a chili chocolate sauce. We've generally been a bit more adventurous with our food because obviously we're not able to go out to eat and things like that. So rather than being you know, stuck cooking in the same things that we know how to cook, we're just a little bit more adventurous, trying new things.
Routine has been good for us
One thing that I've been doing is at the beginning of the week, I write out what I'm going to eat for the whole week. I figure out what everybody's going to be eating so that when I go to the shop on a Monday, I know I can go and get everything all in one go and we don't have to go back and forth to the shop. Because like everyone, we're trying to go out as little as possible. I think having a kid definitely helps keeps us in routine during lockdown. A lot of my friends have been going to bed later, waking up late and then your schedule is a little off. So having a kid that goes to bed at seven and wakes up at seven and has to have his meals at the time that he's going to need his meals, it gives a sense of structure to what we do.
I've taken a lot from lockdown
I think this experience has given everyone a sense of perspective of what actually matters most and I think that's really important, especially in this day and age when we can be so consumed with social media and consumed with what everyone else is doing and about being go go go. Sometimes, taking a step back and just realizing how lucky we are is really important. It's given me a sense of perspective of what matters most and to appreciate life more, to appreciate the things that we're lucky enough to do, that we're lucky enough to do every single day like taking it for granted, going out and grabbing a coffee or just going out for a meal or meeting up with your friends being able to go to the cinema and the theatre, being able to train even, little things that we take for granted, I think it's just given me a sense of respect for to appreciate things a lot more.
Tom Daley has teamed up with Johnson’s Baby for its #ChooseGentle campaign to highlight the small silver linings of lockdown.
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