I have a guilty secret. Chances are you might too.
When people ask me how I'm doing, I say the same thing as everyone else. "Oh good days and bad days, you know yourself...".
Only, that's not strictly true. I'm actually enjoying lockdown more than I've let on, more than I feel I ought to. With so much suffering going on in the world, it seemed shameful to admit that I'm liking this lockdown life.
That is, until I saw the results of a survey by everymum.ie that showed 61pc of 2,400 parents in Ireland felt happier and calmer since the world pressed pause. The figures seemed at odds with the multitude of reports about increased anxiety, financial worry and homeschooling stress - so, what exactly is going on?
For me, there are a number of reasons life is good at the moment. First and foremost, all of my closest loved ones are healthy, and neither I nor my extended family have suffered job losses (as yet). These are huge aspects of life that pre-Covid would have been taken for granted, but are now daily sources of gratitude. In fact, almost every day I'll mutter to someone - "We are just so lucky".
That gratitude then extends to many other parts of my life. I'm grateful for the town I live in, the fact that the sea is within my 2k radius, that my mother and sister and brother are all within walking distance. Life has shrunk down to such minuscule proportions that a Friday night takeaway, or the delivery of a skip, can cause untold excitement. And maybe that's the way it should be. The little things have become the big things.
From talking to others, it seems that one of the greatest gifts of all that we've been given is time. That precious resource that no one ever seemed to have enough of is now in plentiful supply (and yes, some days maybe a little bit too plentiful).
Ciara Morgan, mum-of-two from Dublin, has also seen the good side. "The positive mental health aspects are definitely the lack of commute, the ability to get out for a walk whenever it's needed and the time with the kids. Despite the stress of balancing it all - it is actually lovely. I wouldn't say I'm calmer because it is stressful being pulled in all directions but it certainly forces you to slow down and think about yourself and your family and what is best for you all."
Indeed. Before, I would have spent my weekdays rushing from the school-run to work, then back to school, followed by homework, cooking, cleaning, shopping, football runs and a multitude of other tasks. Life was frantic and I could never seem to catch up on myself.
We now have a much slower family rhythm. I rise early, go straight to the beach for a swim, then come home and listen as the house wakes up around me. No shouting about lost uniforms or fighting over milk. We all waltz around each other for an hour before departing to our desks to get through whatever work we need to - some doing more than others, some hiding forbidden phones on laps instead.
Like many, I've chosen a calmer home over a dictated educational programme. I realised very early on that a loose structure was better than a rigid one (or none at all).
Emily Rainsford Ryan is a mother-of-six from Kildare. She acknowledges that while the first two weeks were "horrendous", she has now found her groove.
"I love being home and in isolation because we were always so busy and always either going somewhere or someone coming to us. Now, I'm reading loads to the kids and we are all doing meditation before bed. My two older boys are at home from college and for the first time in about three years, we are all together and I feel this has been the most extraordinary positive for all of our relationships and connection."
She is keen to add that she lives in the country and has plenty of outdoor space on her doorstep, so knows she is lucky in this regard.
In our house, each afternoon, once my work is done, I'll head out on a walk with one or other teen to break the day. This time is a gift in itself. We either walk in comfortable silence or chat about what's on our minds. We notice nature more - the drifting clouds, the cherry blossom trees. With only me to hang out with, they've been forced to hold on to extended apron strings. I can't say I'm not pleased.
This extension of the innocence of childhood is something to cherish for parents of tweens and young teens. No discos, no make-up, no hanging out on street corners - just homemade fun and time spent with family, like it or not.
Board games have been pulled out and puzzles dusted off. It's amazing, the bonding that can be found in boredom.
There's a lot about this time that reminds me of my own childhood. The quiet streets and the birdsong, forgotten rock pools and made up games outside the house. The boys spend hours perfecting skateboard tricks and today I caught the youngest one in the garden with swimming goggles, a hammer and a large tree branch he had dragged through the street. I still have no idea what he is planning.
I asked my 15-year-old daughter whether she felt her mental health was better now or before. With no hesitation, she said she was far happier now. She misses her friends but every other aspect of her life is slower and better now.
She manages her own school work in her own environment. Social pressures have disappeared and her own time management allows her to be more productive. She has more space for baking, creating, and, um... Minecraft.
Interestingly, recent reports suggest that demand for mental health services for young people and teens has dropped since the onset of the crisis, which tells its own story.
Many of my own anxieties in pre-Covid life would have revolved around money and security, but they quickly fell away once the Government safety net was announced. Of course, this will have to change soon but with income and a roof over our heads guaranteed for a set period of time, the 'what ifs' dissipated. I've been very strict with myself in not looking too far ahead. What's the point? No one knows what's going to happen.
A friend agrees. "Both my husband and I are freelancers and are always stressed with either too much work or worry that we'll never work again. We've managed to park that anxiety for the first time in so long. Being acknowledged by the Government and allowed to receive the Covid-19 payment too is a huge relief."
Some people that I spoke to who suffer from anxiety disorders feel that, at last, others know what they are going through - that there is a greater understanding of their illness following those universal first weeks on the covidcoaster. In fact, initial reports from an ongoing study by University College London on 74,000 people have shown that, despite an initial decline in happiness prior to the lockdown starting, well-being has risen over the last few weeks, and anxiety levels have fallen for both people with and without existing mental health disorders.
Right now most of us are keenly aware of many others in much more difficult situations than ourselves - from major health concerns and family bereavements, to devastating relationship issues and massive financial hardship. Perhaps that's one of the reasons there is a surprising feeling of positivity.
A mirror has been held up to our lives and for the first time in a long time we're able to see all of the good things we so often take for granted.
The results of the Irish survey were surprising to everymum,ie themselves, so much so that they wanted to back up the findings. They released a further poll on social media asking whether the figures were a true reflection of the community. A resounding 70pc answered yes - they felt the same way.
Life is slower, simpler and filled with family. It's not perfect, and we still have our bad days, but we are mindfully taking a deep collective breath before whatever is coming next hits.
Hopefully it doesn't involve a hammer and a large tree branch.