Life, as we all know it, has drastically changed. Over the past seven weeks (and counting), this has involved a lot of ups and downs as I’ve had to adapt our family life to a new and unknown way of living. I’ve had to adapt to becoming a teacher to my three kids while also personally navigating this new terrain and confusing time.
But as with everything with motherhood, I also think that this time has given me the ability to slow down, reconnect with myself and my kids, and, hopefully, learn some valuable lessons. Below, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned (so far), and things I’m hoping to pass along into our post-quarantine lives.
Kids are so resilient: Quite simply: being in school with their friends and having a normal routine, and then suddenly being thrust into quarantine life initially sucked. But within a few days, the kids really “got it” and understood that this was all for the greater good. We talked about it a lot (and still do) to keep the conversation going so that they understood what’s going on and also to reiterate the importance of staying home. And through it all, it has been amazing to see them roll with the punches and follow the “rules” of what we are supposed to do during this time. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but they have adapted in a way that’s really remarkable and inspires me to be strong and resilient like they are.
I value time: I used to let time and all of the never-ending list of things that I had to do control my day, and really every thought. I was so busy doing this and that and sometimes felt that I could never get my head above water to simply breathe. As everything has slowed down and being out of work, I have been able to appreciate the time that I do have and I’ve been using it as a gift to do things that I enjoy such as taking Zoom playwriting classes, Zoom calligraphy classes and various free talks. I try to value this time as a gift to appreciate the slow down and enjoy the things I never seemed to have time for before this all happened.
I’m amazed by the strength of our essential workers: In our day-to-day worlds, it’s easy to stay in our bubbles without connecting to the complexity of what certain people do. During this time, I have a newfound appreciation of the dedication, commitment, and endurance of our essential workers and health care professionals. We did what we could by creating a ‘thank you’ sign
Homeschooling is hard: Like most parents, I discovered how challenging homeschool was on day one. Navigating three kids with different abilities and worksheets and Google schedules is akin to managing a small team. I feel particularly challenged by my five-year-old who is resistant to following this new structure at home. I’ve also had to learn to give up the notion that our homeschool situation is going to be perfect (whatever that means) and roll with the punches. Some days this means modified schooling and others this means no school.
Nature walks revive us: Living in Westchester, we are so lucky to be surrounded by so many gorgeous paths and hikes. While we did enjoy some of them in the past, these hikes have now become a part of our new routine as we try to drive to a new area for a mini outing. This has been a really fun way to be together and unplug from all the tech and TV that we are constantly surrounded by. It’s been a great way to see my kids, who initially complain about the hikes, end up having a good time in these surroundings and with each other.
I miss alone time: As someone who actually usually works from home, I’m used to routine of that life but I am not used to having people around me all day, demanding food and my attention. I miss having my routine and time without my family when they are at school/work.
We have exactly what we need: Like most people, our days often feel like an endless cycle of school, eating, walks, TV, computer time, and reading. Some days an errand, writing, or an online class is thrown in there, but other than that we have very predictable and simple days. While this does get dull, I try to keep the perspective that we are so lucky to all be healthy and have this time together, which is all we really need.
I love movement: Prior to the quarantine, I was an avid runner (I ran the 2018 NYC marathon – whoo hoo!), which has been a saving grace for me to have a little bit of alone time. I’ve also used this time to try new exercises and have been in love with the home fitness program from obe that includes everything you need to tone up and move. Some favorites are pilates, HIIT, and mediation, which I love to listen to on a particularly hard day.