parent opinion

"I will drink less." 5 parents share what they'll 'start, stop, continue' from isolation to normal life.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation
Thanks to our brand partner, Alcohol and Drug Foundation

As we transition back to a version of “normal” life, the iso journey is yet to end because it has changed many of us.

My family and I were initially relieved to be hidden in the safety of our home, away from any potential source of coronavirus. But each week, things changed.

First it was the toilet paper panic. Then we started to worry about a potential shortage of essential household products, food and medicine.

We are a family of five and being ethnic, I normally have a fully stocked pantry, fridge, laundry and garage. You see, my family has lived through war, they have experienced numerous lockdowns and shortages. As a result, bulk buying has become a cultural norm for us, part of our collective DNA.

While we were OK when it came to essential supplies, it didn’t help alleviate the worry, the uneasy feeling, the unexplained anxiety. Then, home-schooling was added to the mix and the situation quickly escalated to impossible.

I was lucky to be able to continue my job, working from home. However, working and also “home-schooling” or supervising three young children – all in different age brackets, with remote learning was absolute madness. So, the initial feeling of relief wore off quickly as we tried to figure out how to manage everything.

As a coping mechanism, I found myself turning to a glass of wine to help take the edge off my day. Before I knew it, the single glass had turned into several glasses every night of the week.

mina zaki
#IsoLife. Image: Supplied.

As it turns out, I wasn’t alone. Statistics from the Alcohol & Drug Foundation show that parents in Australia with children aged nine to 12 years increased their drinking the most during lockdown. Almost one in 10 said they were drinking "a lot more".

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No surprise there, but what was surprising was that my generation were the biggest drinkers with 35 per cent of millennial parents drinking more, compared to Gen X parents (28 per cent) and Baby Boomers (16 per cent).

After one too many groggy mornings I recognised the pattern and put a stop to it. I want to be a positive role model to my kids. So, I started to drink copious amounts of tea throughout the day, meditating and either napping or exercising, or both, daily. I started #isobaking - banana bread, ANZAC cookies, and several failed loaves of sourdough. I reorganised my pantry and purchased lots of useless things online, including a fermenting pot, heavy duty drain cleaner, a replica of an OTT Kris Jenner jacket and vegan bacon seasoning – I don’t even eat bacon.

I had a few "start, stop, continue" lessons I learned in iso. My next start, when life returns to normal, will be to start travelling around Australia. I would love to visit Perth, Darwin, Alice Springs, Adelaide and Tasmania. My next stop will be to stop that pattern of having a drink each day. There are other ways to cope, I've found, so I will drink less. And my next continue will be to keep up my daily meditation - and even find a meditation I can listen to as I walk.

Some of my friends and I discussed what we would "start, stop and continue" post-#isolife. Here's what they said:

Shaminie, mother of two

 

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"Start: As an event planner almost all my events for most of the year were cancelled. I had to get creative and launched some custom candle and gift hampers as people were unable to visit friends and family. An idea I had been thinking about for a while but finally had the time during the COVID shutdowns.

"Stop: Cooking/eating and drinking so much, out of utter boredom and also as a coping mechanism.

"Continue: While being forced to stay home, I realised how stressful life was and how much I was missing of my kids' lives. I also enjoyed spending more time with friends virtually. Usually we’re all busy all the time but because we were at home more we could do more Zoom calls and online games nights. I think I’m going to miss this time because eventually everything will probably get busy again."

Amy, mother of one (and Gary The Dog)

“When the lockdown started there were posts about quality time, reading and resting. These were quickly followed with day drinking, bulls*** home schooling and warnings about the increase of domestic violence. The sense of failure was everywhere - we didn’t have the ideal retreat experience. It was hard and it was disappointing. I will keep on doing big hikes with my family, including our beloved golden retriever Gary. Everything else I hope changes back to pre-COVID."

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Patrick, father of two

“As a family unit I’d like to stop the volume of individual screen time. I’d like to start seeing my friends and family in person more often. I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with people and just catching up. Also, for my children restarting play dates, my five year old really misses his friends.

"As a family we have spent more time outdoors in the nicer weather. We are lucky that the weather in Canberra has been fantastic and given us the option to explore some of the many reserves and green spaces around Canberra. Moving forward I hope to continue getting the whole family out together.

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"Also, with friends and family living in different parts of Australia it’s been fantastic catching up each week via video catch-up. This pandemic improved my communication with old friends, I’m now talking to more people more often. I hope that continues."

Karly, mother of two

“I will stop getting out of my PJs at 3pm and start walking daily. I will continue gardening as it helped me get out of the house and do something productive, see tangible results and improvement.”

William, plant dad

"I started a spoof news show for friends where I present my very ordinary day with a compelling news anchor voice (@thelauranewsnetwork). This has been a source of joy and many friends have become involved in it.  I also rediscovered the joys of conversations with friends and family. I have loved having long and deep conversations which are not interrupted by ordering drinks or rating food. It has been so lovely focusing on someone else’s voice – all from home!"

What are your "start, stop, continues" you're taking from iso to normal life?

If you're looking for more information or help and support services, visit the Alcohol & Drug Foundation's website or call 1300 858 584.

Feature image: Mina Zaki/Supplied.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation supports all Australians with quality information to help them prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms. For free and confidential information or support, visit adf.org.au or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation's DrugInfo line on 1300 85 85 84. The non-judgemental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

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