If you do have kids, young ones especially, your lifestyle at night probably hasn’t changed all that much. You might miss the Sunday brunches and you surely sighed on a rainy day when you realised indoor playgrounds and Haus des Meeres are closed. If you’ve nodded once or twice already, this article is for you – it hasn’t been easy this life of lockdowns with kids in Vienna. Here are the things only us parents that have lived through the last year can understand:
1. You’re anxiety levels and mental health has fluctuated with the announcements by that young and childless chancellor of whether schools and kindergartens are closing or staying open
2. You see your relatives in the countryside more often than you ever thought you would
If you belong to that lucky crowd that has family just a couple of hours drive from Vienna, you might have become a commuter since lockdowns began. And who can blame you! Why stay in a city where there is nothing to do, when you can tire out the kids out in the Waldviertel, have them hang out in the backyard of their Oma and Opa, while you can also have a rest and a change of scenery.
3. You know every corner of the park and playground near your house by heart
You probably want to avoid public transport in order to limit your exposure to other people, and with it being too cold for long distance walks, your main outing has been whatever playground lies between the kindergarten and home. And you’ve been to that playground A LOT this season. So much so, you know which stray hat belongs to which kid, which step on the slide wobbles and exactly which doors of the park your kids can just open by themselves in an escape attempt.
4. You have spiked a Punsch with a shot of Stroh
If in any other year, you would be all done with drinking Punsch and Glühwein by now due to the sugar overdose you inflicted on yourself at the Christmas Markets all through December. However, this year, of course, is different.
The Punsch you drank this year either came from a thermos and was homemade, or was alcohol-free and bought from a cheeky place close to a park where your kid can play and you can sip away on your warm Punsch. Oh, and of course you bought one of those cute, tiny bottles of Stroh rum to spike the alcohol-free Punsch as this has now become your equivalent of a date night.
5. “Gatschhose” is part of your daily vocabulary
There were times when rainy weather implied you would be engaging in indoor activities with the kids. But with the indoor being all dangerous and all because of Roni, the outdoors is all we’ve got.
So, no matter the weather, you equip you and yourself with the right gear and brave the cold and the rain. The item in this gear set that gives you superpowers are the Gatschhose (splash pants), and this season they have been traded on willhaben like gold.
With all the stores closed for weeks on end, the online hunt for the Gatschhose proves to be a whole adventure of its own.
6. You’ve done A LOT of shopping for your kids’ clothes on willhaben and online, in general
As you know, kids grow really fast, meaning you constantly need to be updating their wardrobes (the demanding little squirts!). With stores closed, willhaben and a few online stores have seen a lot of traffic from us parents, right?
7. Sometimes playtime ends when mommy, or daddy have to pee
Every now and then, the sun shines through, everyone has fun and the day seems perfect and then you realise… your bladder is full.
With all the restaurants in the area shut, all there is left to do is pack up, pick up your protesting toddler, and quickly leave towards home, to seek the comfort of your own toilet (pretty much the only toilet you ever see these days).
8. Hey, but at least they kept the kindergartens open!
This one is a big bonus! If you’ve had to quarantine with toddlers at home, you know what we’re talking about – why do they need all of that attention the damn Divas and where do they get all of that energy from?!
With the kindergartens open, there can at least be a bit of a work-family life balance.
9. You have been able to avoid some people you actually wouldn’t miss anyway
Once you have kids, your friend circle expands and that’s great! But some of the people in your circle share no other interest with you, besides the fact that, well, they also have kids.
In those moments when nature’s most primal instinct (to reproduce) is not enough common ground, you can simply summon the power of social distancing and politely decline any interaction with good reason.
10. You have already given up on the idea of going to Eistraum because of the crowds and the queues
Going ice skating at the Eistraum in front of the Rathaus remains pretty much the only thing to do with kids this winter of lockdown.
It might sound like a great idea for keeping them busy for a while, but a simple walk near the Rathaus reminds you that everyone else in the city has had the same idea, as well. Then you quickly give up, as the thought of the crowds and queues give you a light feeling of anxiety after all those months of isolation.
11. The kids are all right with this whole lockdown thing (most of the time)
While we adults tend to complain about things we’re missing out on, young kids seem to enjoy having more structured days, they bond better with the few people they see and are less stimulated by activities and busy schedules than they were in the ‘old normal’. And that’s actually pretty cool. This obviously depends on the age of your kids. Children of school age are going stir crazy at the moment and miss hanging with their friends.
12. Parents and children need their time apart
If there’s one thing that this lockdown has taught us is that being at home with your kids, day after day, is not natural. The kids get bored, or demand too much from you, and you as a parent naturally need some space.
13. That beer or wine in the evening has never tasted so damn good before now
Sitting down on the couch after the kids are in bed, with your drink of choice in hand, and settling into your favourite series at the moment on Netflix has never felt so good, right?
14. Homeschooling is hard
You can pretty much leave 2020 as a big, fat, gaping hole in your child’s education as homeschooling just doesn’t work. Ok, it might work for some parents, but to those parents succeeding with it – please, tell us what’s behind your magic trick.
15. Doing home office with the kids at home can be fun, but is also often damn difficult
OK, so whoever has this picture of parents being able to work away on their laptops while their kids sit, well-behaved, on their laps, or play next to them on the floor is obviously somebody without kids. Kids obviously will demand your attention if they are hanging out with you, which makes home office similar to trying to perform open heart surgery on somebody in the middle of a battleground. OK, we may be exaggerating but this life of lockdowns is long.
On the other hand, it is nice to have lunch with your kids (some days… well, on the days they’re not throwing the food at you or the walls) and spend more time with them during the time you would normally be doing your daily commute…or is it?! We don’t know anymore.