The Mummy Diaries – Mummy’s worst week

The Mummy Diaries – Mummy’s worst week

by Emma Hargan
article from Saturday 19, September, 2020

I KNOW in my previous blogs that I’ve joked about having ‘the worst week ever!’ and maybe at the time, it seemed that way. But believe me when I tell you that this time, I have had the worst week ever. And it’s been no joke.

We’ve all seen or heard the reports of the Coronavirus on the TV, the radio and social media. We’ve all been affected by the pandemic in different ways. Many of us have been out of work, some of us have had to work from home. We have been confined to our homes, not allowed to travel or see family and friends. We must now wear masks if we leave the house to go shopping or use public transport. Each and every one of us has been affected and it has changed our daily lives for the foreseeable future. As parents, we do not only have the responsibility to protect ourselves, we would do anything and everything to protect our children. I wrote in my blog a couple of weeks ago about the fears and anxieties that I was having as a mummy in sending Jamie back to playschool. At the time, my mind was racing at the thought of the consequences if anything happened and the worst case scenario. After a couple of days into our new routine, I felt settled, happy, I felt safe…

Sunday morning – 8.00am 

Jamie and Lily both wake up with colds. Runny nose, wee cough and sore throats. Of course, the first thing that goes through my mind. Panic stations! What do we do? Is it just a cold? I looked up the symptoms online which states you must contact your GP if a new cough develops. I checked both their temperatures and thankfully, no fever.


Jamie and Lily are wolfing down their second bowl of Shreddies.

“There’s not much wrong with those two!” James said, while the pair of them were messing about and laughing in between coughs and a snotty nose.


Dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed and a dose of Calpol later, it was time to get the day started. We had made the decision to hold off until later in the day before contacting the out of hours doctor if needed. Kids have a way of getting better just as quickly as they come down with something.  


I got the kids sat down to a bowl of mac and cheese each (a firm favourite!) while I got the usual washing and tidying up jobs done. Jamie and Lily were both on good form and cold or not, it hadn’t affected their appetite. 


I left the kids at home with James so I could go and get the weekly shopping done. I absolutely hate doing the food shop, it’s such a chore! I did the usual asking everyone if they wanted anything and I got the usual response…

“Get me something nice please Mummy!” from Jamie.

“Yeah get me a surprise.” Replied James.


After arriving at the supermarket and driving three times around the carpark so I could actually find a space that I could get the car door open, I was ready to get this rat race started and over with so I could get home as soon as possible. Bags! Don’t forget the bags! I said to myself. Sorted! All organised for once! It wasn’t until I had walked the half mile across the car park and go to join the queue for getting a trolley that I realised I had left my face mask in the car.

Fox. Ache.

So, 20 minutes after actually arriving, I made it to the front of the queue and got passed the front doors.

A trip to the supermarket nowadays seems to take more of an age. Firstly, we now have to follow a one way system, while maintaining social distancing rules. This sounds good in theory, but when you are following a mum with five kids and they are all stopping every two minutes, it’s not easy to squeeze past while maintaining the 2 metre rule! The next handling, is the forgetting of certain items. Gone are the old days of simply turning the trolley around and nipping back for the said forgotten item. No, now we have to carry on until the end and then return back to the start again. Then, if by that time you haven’t spent the entire afternoon winding your way around the aisles, you then have to find the shortest queue for the till and hope that it isn’t the one that stretches down the frozen aisle!

Two and a half hours later and I reach the car. Thankfully I didn’t have the kids with me because the cars next to me and had parked that close, I wouldn’t be able to get the doors open anyway. Actually, thankfully James wasn’t with me as this would drive him mad!

I arrived back at the house to find the kids happily playing shops and James on his iPad. 

“Have they been okay?” I asked.

“Happy playing away, not a bother.” James replied.

Great, must just be wee head colds. I thought to myself while unpacking the shopping.

“Mummy? Did you get us something nice?” asks Jamie.

“Yes, I got you guys a box of those watermelon ice lollies you love. You can have one each after dinner.” I replied.

“Oh no Mummy, I wanted a white lollypop!” Jamie cried.

“Chocolate buttons please Mummy?” Lily pipes up.

“I asked you all before I left if there was anything you wanted and you said a surprise!”

“Hmm!” grunts Jamie while stomping off in a huff, with Lily trailing behind him.

Fox ache.

‘What did you get me?’ James asks optimistically.

‘Bacon fries.”

“Ah really?” He says.  I look up at him ready to spit nails.

“I’m joking! I’m joking! Thanks!” he says, smiling.

We managed to get through the rest of the afternoon with another dose of Calpol before dinner. The kids were tired but seemed on good enough form and ate all their dinner – and the watermelon ice lollies they didn’t want either! After showers and bed, James and I sat down with a cup of tea. Just at that moment, my phone beeped with a text message. It was Jamie’s playschool.

‘We have been informed that we have a positive Covid 19 case in one of the rooms. At this point your child is not considered a close contact but we have made the decision to close the playschool as a precaution. We will update you as soon as possible.’

“Oh my God James, this is awful.” I said frantically.

“Okay, calm down, they have said it’s not even in Jamie’s room so he’s not at risk.” James said trying to calm me down.

“I don’t care, I’m going to ring the docs in the morning. Our two both have coughs, I’m not hanging about anymore.” I replied.

As you can imagine, I didn’t get a whole pile of sleep and had my phone in my hand, ready to call at 9.00am. After the usual engaged tone for five or so minutes, I managed to get through to the receptionist who listened intently to our story. He took down all the details and said he would get the doctor to ring me back within the hour. 

20 minutes later and my phone rings. 

“Hello, is this Mrs Hargan?”

And then it started. I was informed that because Jamie and Lily had developed a new cough over the weekend, that the health advice was to get them both tested for Covid-19. The doctor explained the process and told me I would receive a text message telling me the time to attend the testing centre.

I was sick to my stomach. 

It was a drive through process. On arriving at the test centre, we queued in the line of cars, waiting for someone to approach. A figure arrived at the window, so heavily gowned and masked that I didn’t know if it was a man or woman. Until she spoke reassuring the kids in the back. Jamie and Lily of course had no idea what was going on, other than I told them we were going to see a special doctor. I mean, what else could I say without freaking them out? I was given an envelope each for both Jamie and Lily, and told to hand these over to the nurse that would do the test.

Then it was our turn to drive in. Two gowned figures appeared at the side of the car.

“Hello. Please turn the car engine off and put the rear windows down for me,” the nurse asked.

After chatting away to Jamie and Lily in the back and gaining their trust, the nurse said it was a quick swab at the back of the throat and then the nose. She would do Jamie first. Jamie was a superstar. He didn’t even flinch, which put Lily at ease. Lily was a different story. She refused to open her mouth.

“I’ll just do the nose swab okay?” the nurse said.

Poor Lily started to cry afterwards and says in her fury, “Excuse me Doctor, I don’t think so!” Pointing her finger. Everyone started to laugh and the nurse managed to get a smile out of her before we drove off.

48 hours to wait now.

That evening, as if the day hadn’t been bad enough, I got another text message from the Playschool confirming that they had now been informed of a positive Covid-19 case in Jamie’s room as well. Someone from the contact tracing team would be in touch to arrange testing. My only saving grace was that I had already jumped the gun and got them tested anyway. The next two days were going to be rough.

Jamie and Lily were none the wiser and Jamie was even asking me when he could go back to Playschool. I hadn’t really eaten and was pretty much exhausted waiting on my phone to ring with the results. And then finally…

“Hello, is this the parent of Jamie and Lily Hargan?”

“Yes it is!” I replied anxiously.

“I am phoning with the results of their Covid tests and they are both negative.”

If I’m being honest, I can’t remember what I said, but I do remember not knowing whether to laugh or cry with relief. I think I just cried.

I am now in a dilemma with what to do next…

Do I send Jamie on to Playschool when it re-opens? Do I take the risk that this may happen again? Do I run the risk of having to put the kids through testing again? Is this the way we have to live now? What if the next time, the results are positive? How do we survive financially if we can’t work if we have to isolate? What are the implications of keeping Jamie and Lily at home?

Thankfully, I don’t have to make any decisions for a while or until the playschool re-opens. 

What would you do?

Friday evening and I could feel a head cold coming on. I was almost positive I had a bottle of grape juice at the back of the ‘juice’ cupboard for emergencies. I think after the week I’ve had – this qualifies. I reached up on my tip toes and searched my way through the Mi Wadi and Ribena bottles. No wine – Fox ache. All I could find was a lone bottle of Corona sitting there at the back from last Christmas. It seemed almost fitting! 

Thankfully so far, the only Corona in this house comes with a wedge of lime – Cheers! 

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