QUARANTINE LIFE: One Month Check-In and Silver Linings

After one month under Ohio's stay-at-home order, I've been reflecting on what life looks like for us right now. What's working, what's not. Time has honestly lost all meaning, but I know that for about a month now Chuck and I have both been working remotely from our respective home offices. Him, in his basement/man cave. Me, in our office/guest room. We've also been effectively running a daycare center simultaneously for Charlie (5) and Crosby (3).

SILVER LINING: Both of our jobs were already set up to function remotely.

Not only was the transition relatively pain-free (I won't say stress-free), but I was reminded recently that we are both insanely fortunate to both work for businesses deemed essential when a friend expressed stress over not having a paycheck and only having a small amount of savings to keep them afloat for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of people out of work and hurting right now and I'm trying to remain mindful of that, give where and when I can, and be as fiscally responsible in the midst of so much change and uncertainty.

In terms of the adjustment for our family, the adults are...struggling, while our kiddos have managed to take it in stride. They are at the worst and best age. On the one hand, they are not yet old enough to consistently feed and entertain themselves. Our mornings are completely unproductive and I am interrupted no less than 26 times before lunch for snacks, cuddles, and drink refills. (This doesn't include the amount of times I have to stop what I'm doing to referee whatever the current screaming match is).

SILVER LINING: My kids are so resilient.

On the other hand, in spite of the fact that they need to be fed three meals and countless snacks per day, they've adapted well. In the afternoon, Crosby goes down for a nap which allows me a few productive hours before I clock out. Charlie has been amazing at occupying himself and respecting the fact that Mommy and Daddy have important work to do. A few days ago, I marveled at the fact that while he was laying in the guest bed in my office watching cartoons, he instinctively knew to pause his show every time I answered a work call so I wouldn't have any background noise. It's little things like this that make me so proud of him and how he's adapted.

Because of their age, they don't fully grasp what's going on so there's no real fear or confusion. They know they're not allowed to see their extended family or go to the store "because of the virus." There have been a couple times when Charlie has cried over missing his cousin/best friend Lucie who he usually sees several times a week this time of year. And he's mentioned missing his friends and teacher at school. But for the most part, they are just thrilled to have all this time with Mommy and Daddy.

SILVER LINING: Family time.

There aren't words to sufficient to describe the level of exhaustion we're (and everyone else) experiencing right now. Trying to work regular full-time hours while attending to small children is something I never wanted and the lack of structure and stress of not having enough distraction-free hours in the day has led me to tears on more than one occasion. However, I feel like my kids have aged so much just in the last month. Charlie is becoming such a responsible young man. And Crosby has morphed from my baby into a very opinionated and insightful little person. I feel their childhood slipping away and I'm thankful for this special time with them before they become school-aged and get sucked into the whirlwind of all that entails. So, although the threenager in the house is driving me crazy more often than not, I'm able to appreciate how much he's grown when I take a step back to reflect.

SILVER LINING: My kids are being kids.

Whenever we used to stay with my Grandma for the summers and complain about being bored, she would always reply "Only boring people get bored." I love that expression and I see now why boredom is such a gift to our kids. Don't get me wrong, my kids have consumed far more Paw Patrol in the last month than I am proud of. But even infinite computer time loses its luster after awhile and I have seen my kids play independently with Play-Doh, read more books, and spend more time outdoors all because of the gift of boredom.

I can't say I'm necessarily viewing this situation through rose-colored glasses. I am still really struggling. I remarked to Chuck this morning that it feels so unfair that after a combination of my own proactive self-care and a mild Ohio winter, for the first time in a long time I didn't have to contend with my usual seasonal depression. Then what should have been a sweet reprieve of Spring has brought with it some serious mental health challenges. I am in a funk. I miss my church and community, I miss the ability to be 100% present at work, I miss working toward my bucket list goals. Now my only goal is "Survive this Shit without Losing my Shit."

In the midst of this really ugly and trying time, there is a beautiful irony to the fact that the two little people who are my greatest sources of stress and exhaustion are also where I am gleaning my greatest joy and hope for a healthier and happier future.

I hope you're hanging in there, friends. COVID-19 is changing all of our lives. Over the aspects that we can control, let's be cognisant of the silver linings and make sure the most lasting changes are for the better. 

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