I don’t know what it is about Downton Abbey that creates such an appeal. However, almost everyone I talk to can appreciate it. I recently (pre-quarantine) got a chance to visit the exhibit!
I walked through the real live set of the downstairs kitchen and read through letters from the war. I followed a virtual Mr. Carson around a tour of the house and bought a cookbook of the times. My young children even enjoyed this tour and walked quietly along admiring all the artifacts and wedding dresses.
Out of all the different things I read and looked at, one of my favorite things about the show and movie was the smaller exhibit room. The one that held all the costumes! The time frame for this Sega is set in a period where people of the upper classes would change six times a day sometimes! They would have hired help just for the sole purpose to help them in and out of their wardrobes. Dressing for dinner was considered one of the most important aspects of your day. How wonderful! It would be like red carpet help everyday. It seems simpler some how. I know lots of things were not. Modern conviences like toasters and cars were just becoming the rage. Yet, they also didn’t have email, iPhones, and virtual media.
During quarantine, things got busier in some aspects and a whole lot slower in others. Dinner with the family suddenly become an event. Something to plan and look forward to. Every single day. As we settled into a more simpler schedule I tried to focus on how I could take some of the old fashioned enjoyments of Downtown Abbey into my everyday life.
I tried lots of things but I adopted two that I will continue to maintain long after quarantine is lifted.
- Afternoon Tea Time
I started stopping the days virtual homeschooling and work activities at around 4:30pm everyday for about 30 minutes. We would pour a cup of tea and sometimes nibble on a lemon cookie or a piece of dark chocolate. I would sit down with my kids and just hang-out. It helped level set right around the time we were all about to loose our minds, and burst with emotions and frustrations.
- Dressing for Each and Every Activity
Instead of staying in one outfit all day, like most of us do now, I opted to follow my 6 year olds dress up mentality. I am gonna confess something…. If you are one of those people that wears workout clothes but doesn’t work-out, I am judging you. I have always secretly made fun of the individuals dressed up in workout gear and full on makeup. I know they haven’t just come from the gym. They aren’t planning to go to the gym with their hair looking that good either! I think they look plain silly! However, during Covid-19, I started to find myself in my leggings all day during quarantine. Ahh! So I followed my daughters idea. Change for everything! Every activity is suited to certain outfits. You aren’t gonna wear you bathing suit to the office and neither are you gonna wear dress slacks to the lake. I first noticed this when My daughter had a zoom call with her teacher and class week two of quarantine and she got all dressed up put on her sparkly Cinderella dress up shoes and used my pink lipstick. I realized how awesome she was when one of the mom’s committed about how cute she looked sitting in her fathers large computer desk chair and office all ready for her “meeting.”
Do the same for your everyday. Wear workout gear for working out, evening clothes for dinner and looking good for your spouse, fire pit and yard work clothes for when your gardening, and cute PJ’s for bedtime. If you must, changing six times a day!
We took special care to dress nicely for family dinner. Whatever we were doing for our day taking time show up well and put in the effort for each other meant a lot. My kids deserve just as much thought as my work does and showing them that I was going to dress up for them showed them and my husband the importance they have in my life.
So go ahead, pour yourself a cup of tea and go get dressed!
“It’s a brave new world we are headed for, no doubt about that. We must try to meet it with as much grace as we can muster…” – Robert from Downton Abbey