CwL Ep73: Lockdown of Fun

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In this episode Lisa shares the small tweak she made at the start of Lockdown 6 in Melbourne that has change the experience for herself and her kids.

This episode is a brilliant reminder that what you focus on grows. 

We have so little control over much in the world that it’s important during these times to double down on what we can.

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Hi, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life. And if you are to, these conversations, adjust for you. I’m really glad you’re here. Enjoy.

Welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am speaking to you from Melbourne. We are still in a pretty hardcore lockdown, but it is a gloriously sunny day, blue skies, beautiful spring weather. And there’s a gang of kids outside my window. No doubt, you’ll hear them probably at some point or another while I’m recording this, they’re all outside playing Gang Up Tiggy or 40-40, or whatever it is. And I tell you, it’s a sweet, sweet sound to hear kids playing after just this, I mean, the lockdown sucks. Lockdown is really, really hard. And it’s especially hard for kids. There’s no denying it. There’s a lot of pain out there in Melbourne and in Sydney at the moment. And it honestly, it just feels sort of never ending in lots of ways. But in this episode I wanted to share with you just something really small, that shifted for us in this lockdown at the very, very start of lockdown number six. Great, God.

That has really changed things for us. And it’s a small tweak and it made a really big, big difference. And I just want to say at this point that I don’t want to talk over the angst, sadness, desperation, depression, frustration, tiredness, lethargy, boredom, all the BS that lockdown can be. There’s people who are massively stressed out whose livelihoods are on the line. There’s people whose health has been really negatively impacted. And I just want to acknowledge all of that and say that if you’re in a real struggle with this, you can call places like Lifeline, one, three, triple one, four, and get some support for yourself. But also that when you listen to this and it’s actually an episode for everyone lockdown or not, cause there’s some central themes that I want to explore here. It’s just that lockdown is the way in which I’m exploring them. Is that I don’t want you to feel like also it’s not hard for me to.

That there’s not all of those things wrapped up in this as well. I’m not gaslighting myself about the realities of lockdown and I’m not gaslighting you. I’m just wanting to explore this tweak that we made, this choice that I made at the very, very beginning and how that has actually informed our experience of this sixth lockdown. It’s no joke that these kids here in Melbourne have now, it will be two years of a massive amount of disruption and a massive amount of things that they’ve lost. So we were in the car when they announced that the kids wouldn’t be going back to school the next day. So it was about four o’clock in the afternoon. We heard it on the radio and let’s just do what we have to do for the next week. We knew it wasn’t going to be that, but we were hopeful, but I saw my son and his head just sank back into his chair.

And he was just disappointed that the next day he was, it was an up state at school. And he’s been really busting to do athletics at schools. Like he’s, he’s pretty sporty guy. So he was like, “Oh, I just don’t get to do that tomorrow, Friday.” And I thought, “Oh my, this is going to, you’re not going to be able to play soccer. You’re not going to,” okay. But let’s allow this disappointment. Let’s allow this to suck. And I really did tell them what this is, suck it, none of us want to go back into lockdown. Holy moly. But when I looked at him, I just thought, “You know what? We’re going to do this differently this time. I can’t keep falling off the edge. I can’t keep losing my momentum. I can’t keep on feeling like a victim to this news cycle and the numbers and what I don’t want to go to endless screen time. I don’t want to lose my mojo with eating well or whatever it was.”

And I just looked at him and I said to them, “You know what? we’re going to make this. This is going to be the lockdown of fun. And you get to think of all the ways in which this could be a lockdown of fun.” And at that point I thought, it’s at least, we’re going to be in it for two weeks so we can totally bring the fun. Let’s talk about fun. And so we’re actually on our way to the chiropractor. And we were all getting a treatment that day. So we sat in a room with our amazing chiro and they started writing a list of all things that they would want to do that were fun. They knew that home learning was going to be a part of that too.

But it was also like, “Well, how can we make that fun?” And I was thinking, “How am I going to bring a level of like, how am I going to do this juggle?” Because this year, as opposed to last year, so last year, a big part of my story of getting through 2020 was the fact that we had a long standing supporter of our family, who was like our permanent babysitter who we would call on. James was doing TAFE. And so in the very beginning, I got him coming around and we established a routine where he would come from 9:00 to 12:00, each day to help the kids move through their home learning tasks. And we structured the business around 9:00 to 12:00 being my working hours. I had three hours a day to work and I made the most of them.

And what happened then was, as the lockdown got extended, because we had this in motion, because of the rules of the second lockdown, we were able to continue on using James. And we were all in a little bubble and all was well, he was just doing TAFE remotely. So all felt really good.

And I remember saying to people, when we came out of it, they’d be like, “How did you do that with three kids?” And I would say, “I couldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for James. I literally wouldn’t have survived that if it wasn’t for James.” I mean talk about dramatic language coming out of my mouth, but I genuinely felt like there’s no way I could have done that if I didn’t get help. That was my story. And so here we are in 2021 and our amazing James has a job and he has a job in which he’s in contact with people all the time. And having had my sister experience a 14 day quarantine when there was a COVID at my niece’s school. I did not feel like doing that. And also James just isn’t available. And so what, what I’ve had to do is change my story and realise that “I can do this,” that in fact, we can not only survive this, but we could thrive.

Could we, is it possible? Is it possible to be okay? Is it possible for this to be fun? Is it possible for me to lower expectations, even further make life simpler, make life more wholesome? God, I don’t know. And we went into this two weeks and then it became obvious. It was definitely not going to be two weeks. And I was thinking, “Okay, what am I going to do here?” And we’ve made all these tiny little tweaks that have made a really big difference. So in the beginning, here’s what I want to say is that I didn’t take on the responsibility of making it fun for my kids. I took on the responsibility of inviting in fun. So I made it their job. “You guys, what are we going to do that’s fun today? You guys, I’m feeling a need for some fun times, what’s on the list? what have we still got to tick off? What are we thinking today? It’s a sunny day or it’s a rainy day? So what’s going to make today fun?”

And just placing our attention on it completely changed the vibe. It completely changed the vibe. We’ve done things in the beginning, we were doing a lot of beach soccer. So for some reason, that just became their most fun thing to do. And it’s changed and rolled and we just had father’s day, which was a pretty, I wasn’t really feeling like the fun vibes, but I still, we had my boyfriend and he had his boys over the weekend. So there was a dad who was celebrating father’s day and we thought “we can support his boys to make it fun for him knowing that he’s not their dad, but he is our dad, and we get to celebrate dads.” So we did some fun things, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to be like bringing the vibes. I was deeply sad. I feel father’s day to my core. Yeah. There’s no words really.

But then his son had his birthday the next day on Monday. And you know what a great excuse to get the fun vibes happening. And even just the buildup that talking about it, the deciding on the food, deciding what was going to be played with, the other kids made some things for him to and fun, right? Fun. But because we’re focusing on it, it even feels more fun. We might’ve been doing those things, but we named this the lockdown of fun. It’s amazing what happens when we place our attention on something. As I said before, I’m not discounting the hardness. I’m just saying that amongst all of it there’s choice, right? There’s choice about where we choose to place our attention.

And for me as the mom, I’m like, “Okay. So if this is meant to be feeling lighter this time, this is like the actual life. This is no joke. This is not something to enjoy. This is life right now, where the choice is for me to switch things up.” And one of them has been starting school at eight o’clock. So, getting up, heading out, getting everyone having breakfast. So I’m setting my alarm and just making sure I get my meditation done a bit earlier than usual. I get in the shower by the time that they’re up so I can get their breakfast on. And don’t worry, it’s hasn’t really been anything fancy, porridge and eggs. And then I get out and go for a little 15 minute walk and collect my coffee and come home. So I’ve even been out, had fresh air.

The kids and, every Monday we do a morning walk and they’re actually, I offer them every single day. But it’s feeling more fun for them to be doing school in their pyjamas. That’s absolutely not something that happened last year. I was really intent on having them dressed and ready to go and face the day by nine o’clock by the time James got here. Once again, thinking that that was the way to do it. Now, it’s just like, “What feels best?” We get so attached to certain things, to things having to be done a certain way in order to be okay. And most of the time it’s just not true. So sometimes they come out with me, sometimes they don’t. Either way, I have had some fresh air and the way I rock up to start home learning matters for everyone. So we get that underway by about 10:30, 10:00, 10:30.

There has been a lot that’s been moved through. And my kids aren’t on zoom all day with their teachers. They get about a 15 minute zoom in the morning. And then they’ve just got to complete tasks, which really, if I’m not there to kind of help drive, self-sufficiency changes amongst days. Sometimes for my kids, what they see, there’s certainly one who is far more self-sufficient and willing to move things forward than the others. But I give my best. They know that those hours are the hours that I’m available for them. So even if they haven’t moved through the tasks, they absolutely know what’s expected of them. And then I need to go and get some work done. So oftentimes I’ll have meetings in the morning. There’s work I need to do. I mean, last year I used to knock off at midday. This year, I’m not.

So I’m having to work a lot more than I did last year. Changes in our team, changes in programmes and all sorts of things. And they’re not allowed to be on their devices apart from the home lending stuff until midday. And then they get a bit of time on that. Then we have a bit of lunch. The more organised I can be on the weekend for those lunches, but they have gotten into the habit of making their own lunch boxes, which is like fun to pack your own lunchbox, put this, this, this, this, they do not a great job all the time, but at least they’re not asking me for food all the time. And then we get out and about in the afternoon, so all things like games of 40-40 are happening on the street, or they might go for a run around the block, or they might put their roller blades on and head outside.

There’s lots more playing happening. They’re really responsive to turning off their devices when it’s time, because they have fun when they don’t, right? Because there’s always fun ideas for them to be doing. They’re the ones who created this. And it’s really just the most amazing reminder of whatever you focus on grows, and that good things, good feelings, good times, laughter connection are actually available if we focus them, if we invite them in. Now, I can absolutely have times here in lockdown where I’ll be like, “Oh no, I’m just feeling it. I am feeling heady. I’m feeling sad. There’s something that’s really triggered a certain response in me.” Yeah. I did a very ugly cry Insta story. Last week when I saw, when what came through was a trailer that the school had put together of all of the rehearsals for the production, that the production that happens every two years and the kids have been, I mean, I’m not kidding rehearsing three times a week, a school of 800 kids. It’s a massive deal.

And they cancelled it being performed at a theatre. And they’ve said that they were going to be recording it live. So when we get back to school they’re hiring a crew and they’re going to record it and create a DVD. And now we’re like, “Oh, will kids go back to school? In time, for not sure.” So everything’s on hold. And there’s a video, this trailer of kids in halls, dancing, learning their moves, kids being backup vocalists and practising behind mics. The teachers and parents who were involved in the band. And I just wept, I just wept for how sad it was that they’re not there with their friends and the stuff that they’re missing out on. That is really real. There is so much grief wrapped up in these extended lockdowns. There’s so much bizarreness about not being able to move further than five kilometres from your home.

And here in Melbourne, we’ve got a curfew. It’s just so outrageous. It’s so bizarre that we’ve also kind of now normalised it. Like, this is just how we do life. You heard me say that before. This is, this is how we’re doing life. And it’s my choice. Whether to get in the mud with all of that and really get into it all, or just kind of get on with what I can control, like my little energetic bubble of literally this household. What can we control? And this is true all the time, you guys. You don’t have to be in the lockdown. Most of us get in the mud about things that we literally have no control over, no matter how much we think about them, nothing will change if we do.

And that’s not to say advocacy, that’s not to say that making a difference using your voice isn’t important. But you have to really choose what serves you in that department. The friends who are just like, “have you heard [blah 00:21:09].” Or things that are happening in places that you can really, especially if you’re an empath you can really feel big things from it, it’s your choice to keep exposing yourself to that sort of stuff. And I think we’re having a full blown shakedown, and it’s important to stay informed to a point.

Yeah, we hear the things, okay. Even climate change, that can take me down a full blown crisis, rabbit hole. I mean talk about what we should really be focusing on. And once again, I’m like, “Okay, so in my life, in my life, how can I feel like I’m contributing to something here? In my life, what can I control? What conversations am I having with my kids? What choices am I making that support the feelings that I have towards this? Am I going to go down the path of joining the greens and going into government? Nah, I’m not. I’m not going to do that. So what can I do?”

And this is where this is what it all comes back to. Right? We’ve got no control over most things that exist outside us, but I’ve got control over where I place my attention, all the time. And I think I shared a little bit about that. Doing the 12 days of happiness instead of the 12 days of Christmas, I think I shared that on the lesson of attachment episode just recently. So like, “What are you going to focus on? Your husband’s in rehab for five weeks, you’ve got to get your kids through all the end of school staff. You’ve got to do Christmas on your own. You got to do like, what the heck? But where are you going to focus your attention right now? You can focus on the despair. The despair is there. The grief is there and you can create space for happiness.” And that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling in lockdown.

All of it is there, all of the weirdness, the strangeness, the loneliness, the boredom, the frustration, the lack of anything to look forward to that amazing article. If you haven’t seen it, that described languishing. All of those feelings. Yes. But can we create room for fun? Yes. Yes, we absolutely can.

And it’s just this beautiful reminder that kids are naturally playful. Humans and naturally playful. Play makes life fun. And I’ve let my kids lead the way and I’ve gone along on the ride with them and it’s made everything better for me. Soccer on the beach. Oh my, sand running, uff, fun, exhilarating throwing my kids like around on the sand, best. Cooking with them, making theme nights of food, so fun. They have slept in our, we call it the toy room, but it’s kind of like a rumpus room. They’ve slept there so many nights, their mattress is out. I think one time they did a stint of about 11 nights in a row, just like camped out there, did school from there. And I’m like, “You guys, oh, we need to get you out of here. It’s becoming a bit full on back to your rooms. Let’s do a bit of a clear out.” But even that it’s fun, to sort of go back to your room and be in your bed again.

I think that the time where, I mean, I’m running low on ideas that in terms of we’ve kind of hit all their stuff and I think, “Okay, fun, fun, fun. What do they want to do? And yeah, they’re doing the same sorts of things, but maybe do we need to inject something?” And I said to them, “Okay, this week we’re going to go to the shops. Are we going to go to the supermarket? And we’re going to have you choose, two things, any two things that you would like to buy from the supermarket this way.” And of course they chose things that they’ve never been allowed to have before. And it was like their most exciting thing ever. It was like Christmas. And I just think that when you’re having a lockdown of fun, I’m just not available for expecting too much from myself or from them.

I just can’t do the expectations that we can never, ever fulfil. I’m not available for doing that to myself or doing it to my kids, expecting more from them than is possible right now. And that has been such a huge load offs, such a huge level of freedom. Same goes, I have some friends in Sydney and they’re really in this extended lockdown for the first time. And one friend in particular, would literally chatting about this this morning, her and her partner, they’re just at this time of figuring out like, “Oh, this is so much pressure on people in lockdowns.” We put the pressure on ourselves, but we also have it on the people closest to us because we’re so desperate for connection. We’re desperate for relief. We’re desperate for joy. We’re desperate for spontaneity. And because we’re finding it hard to bring that for ourselves sometimes.

And she was talking about how emotions are heightened. She’s getting confused from mixed messages and yeah, he’s not okay. And you know what? It actually reminded me of last year a bit. When I think in Melbourne, a lot of us were like, “Oh, how do you do relationships? How do you do this with your partner in lockdown?” And now I feel like I know my boyfriend a lot better just because of time, but also because we’ve done locked down before, we’ve done extended lockdown before, and there’s so many lessons. There’s so many lessons in allowing space. There’s so many lessons in fostering a closeness when there’s already so much. There’s lessons in just, I guess, grace for ourselves and for them. And it’s actually a really like a lesson for life. We can often have such high expectations for the people around us when everyone’s going through their own things.

Extended lockdowns give you this, well, it just puts that in the spotlight that the people close to us have good days. They have bad days. They have stressed out. They are light and airy and fun. We can’t be all things all the time for everyone. And we need to recognise that in the people around us, that is a kind generous loving thing to do. Take away the expectations of your kids being on it all the time. My son this morning was like, “I’m basically just not going to do school. I don’t want to do it today.” Like, dude, we literally do this every day. I don’t know what’s happening today. And he’d slept in. He had a really big sleeping at night.

I reckon he’s sort of just a bit of a tired point. It is the end of term. We’re getting close to school holidays. And even though they haven’t been going to school for it, I’m starting to see some of that, like dragging their feet, newness that starts to happen when you’re close to holidays and it’s like, give them grace, give yourself grace. Like our patients is now running thin with having to do this week in week out as well. But how can we make it? How can we bring in the fun? It has been a game changer. What do you want more of in your life? It doesn’t have to be, you didn’t have to be in lockdown to want more fun. What would life be like if every day you asked yourself, what could we do that’s fun today? I completely changed my life by asking myself, What do I need to be happy today? What do I need to feel calm today?

There were two really, really big ones for me. And it was probably over the course of about four years of asking myself calm started it off. And I was like, “Oh, now I notice when I’m not feeling calm and what’s creating that. Interesting.” So much easier to create change when you’re asking yourself and focusing on what you want more of. So give it a try. Maybe? What do you want more of? Is it possible? Of curse, it is. Just focus on it. Ask yourself everyday, check in with yourself everyday. Do you want more peace?

What is it? Have a little think. You can always write me and let me know. You can always take a screenshot of this episode and share it in your stories and you tell me, what you’re going to create more of in your life. It’s absolutely possible. And Hey, we’re going to be running the next live round of Ready for Change the last live round for 2021. We’ve only launched it one other time this year. So get yourself on the wait list for that, because you’ll get news about it before anybody else. And I’ll tell you what, I am pretty pumped about this round. I know the changes that this programme makes in women’s lives and I just can’t wait to welcome a whole new cohort in and give them the tools that they need to be able to create beautiful shifts in their life. So if that’s you, if you’re a part of the new crew, get your name on the wait list. The details will be in the show notes. I’ll see you next week.

I have great news. The next live round of Ready for Change is coming very soon. So go right ahead and click on the link in these show notes and make sure your name is on the wait list so that you don’t miss out on joining this transformational programme that will put you back in the driver’s seat of your own life. This course has changed the lives of so many women. Make sure it changes yours this October.

Hey, if you’re enjoying the conversation, then it would mean the world to me. If you head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review, it really makes a difference. And it’s my intention to get as many of us involved in real conversations that really changed the game as possible. Thanks so much for your help and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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"I’m here to help you break free from the stories holding you back, and create change that sticks"

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