One lesson I have learned over the last three months: nothing is more important than family

When coronavirus came knocking on her door, new mum Dominique McMullan was forced to learn a lesson: nothing is more important than family and health. #WashToCare is Dove’s simple call to action for people to show love and compassion for themselves, their families, and communities by taking the time to wash their hands, in line with the World Health Organization’s guidance.


I have learned one lesson over the course of the last three months: nothing is more important than family and health. As we watched the world close down and brought our loved ones close, hand-washing became as important as it has ever been in our lives; and the first line of defense in protecting the only things that mattered.

Unfortunately, early in lockdown, my family became ill with coronavirus. As I prepared to return to work after maternity leave, little did I know that the virus I had heard occasional mention of on the news, would have such an impact on our lives. The night I rang an ambulance for my mum, as with a grey, pained face, she told me she could not breathe, is a night I will never, ever forget. But we turned a corner. We celebrated a slow return to health as my son turned one. It was an emotional time. It still is. There have been joyous Zoom calls and tears shed by all of us.

Over the course of lockdown my little bear learned two tricks, both of which he performs joyously (and occasionally like he is bored of our silly demands). One is blowing kisses. We noticed that Archie Windsor, who is the same age as him, performs this for the crowds. After so much video communication, this is a skill that comes in handy for my son, especially when wanting to end a call and get on with the more important activity of opening and closing all the kitchen drawers (fingers!).

His other trick is ‘washy hands’. On request, my little pal will rub his chubby little hands together, with a stern face letting you know the seriousness behind the action. This trick is of course, much more than the adjective lets on. He began doing this not because we taught him, but because this is what he saw us doing. This perfect addition to his lockdown repertoire, makes actual hand-washing with him a breeze.

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As new parents we are learning that little eyes see more than you could ever imagine. And actions are learned far faster, and I imagine with much longer lasting effects, than words. We are beginning to learn that our actions matter, and we see that as our son’s little world starts to reflect ours.

The first year of your child’s life will always be a roller coaster, and ours certainly has been. But we have been so lucky. We are privileged to be surrounded by family, and a comfortable place in which to self-isolate, to have sunshine and to have our health. As I wash my hands with my son this evening, I will remember never to take those things for granted again.


Dove knows there are a million things we do with our hands that are reasons to wash, but it’s so easy to forget. It’s more important now than ever to #WashToCare. Dove is helping to spread the message about the importance of washing hands properly and frequently, in line with the World Health Organization’s guidance.

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