OPINION: ‘New six people rule stinks - it’ll be tough to stick to’ says mum-of-three

Parenting columnist Ruth Davies with her husband and three children

Parenting columnist Ruth Davies with her husband and three children - Credit: Archant

Parenting columnist Ruth Davies is part of family of five. Despite obeying every lockdown law she’s had enough that she can’t now invite both grandparents around for a birthday party

The new rules about gatherings of no more than six have really got my goat. As a family of five (soon to be six) and with my mum in our bubble it means we are at capacity yet we have other family members who need to see their grandchildren.

My youngest is soon to turn three and having abandoned normal birthday celebrations (as we did for our other children) I’d planned an intimate afternoon tea for family instead. I’ve ordered individual pots of jam and am busy making personal cake stands so that no food is on sharing platters.

We’d thought, despite the October date, we’d have the bi-fold doors open and ask the children to play outside. We’ve considered this, as we have all aspects of social distancing, very carefully. We don’t want the grandparents put at risk but at the same time we do want our family to have a normal semblance of love. We need to see each other and frankly, it’s been long enough.

How, I wonder now, was it acceptable to encourage us into restaurants in order to keep the industry afloat, yet I can’t have family over to celebrate a birthday? There will be no alcohol consumed at this “party” yet it is now forbidden while at the same time it is acceptable to go into a pub and sink five pints all the while becoming less capable surrounded by others who are doing the same. The whole thing stinks!

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My mother lives alone and does not drive. At the height of lockdown the only personal contact we had was delivering her shopping. I would then retreat to my car and we’d talk on our phones through the window. I couldn’t take our youngest for a wave as he didn’t understand and for months she simply didn’t see him - what a relief it was when we were finally allowed to bubble up, still keeping visits to the garden and still being quite solitary for her.

August came and lit our paths for a while allowing us time where we were encouraged back to normality with a government incentive. “Come”, they said, “enjoy,” they pleaded… “The economy’s crashing and it needs to run. Sit in restaurants, go camping or fly to Greece. Do ALL the things and spend ALL the money! Folks, it’s been long enough!” We ate in (but outside) restaurants, had a mini holiday and finally went inside each other’s houses albeit distanced with no hugging. We followed the rules, we were careful, we didn’t want to spread the virus and were dedicated to doing our bit but at this point I feel like I am absolutely done. I no longer want to comply. I no longer want to oblige a government who care more about a pub being open than my front door and I have ceased wishing to do “my bit” thank you very much!

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My husband is a teacher and as such surrounded by his class all day every day as are my two oldest children. Because of this we still very much want to protect the older members of our family and are very aware the virus is not gone. But we’re are capable of being cautious and this is why I’d planned a distanced afternoon tea. I wonder if everyone in the pub could say the same - I suspect not!

The numbers are rising in Norfolk so we are being more cautious than ever but trying to live life at the same time just as the government told us to do last month. When my in-laws went to France a couple of weeks ago (to stay in their own summer home) they chose a journey which meant they didn’t get out of their car, even on the Eurostar. Both ways were isolated. During their stay they were isolated. They have, since returning, followed the rules and been isolating. What on earth does Boris think they will damage if they come into my home, sit on their own chairs and eat a few sandwiches while watching their grandchildren play - all at the same time they could legitimately be in a pub swilling wine next to strangers doing the exact same thing?

As ever it feels ill thought; random numbers and ideas plucked from thin air. For families of four perhaps it works but there has to be leeway for larger kins? We are being penalised after months of dedicated obedience and it is not fair!

So...outwardly on social media my “party” will go ahead with each grandparent popping in for individual sittings taking us to no more than six at any time (unborn baby not included). In reality of course things may be different but I’m not going to give anything away – why should I?

Read more from Ruth Davies on her blog

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