Now that we’ve all been at home pretty much full-time for several weeks, it’s time to take a moment — and a breath — and see how things are going. I don’t mean that daily “holy crap this is absolute chaos and I don’t know how long I can manage” moments, but a solid look at what is going well and what isn’t.
Even for this seasoned homeschool mama, life at home has not been an easy transition. Homeschooling, at least for our family, did not involve being 100% at home. We went from Scouts, days at the YMCA, classes at Veritas, work outside the house, church, speech therapy, playgrounds, and running around downtown, to work, school, play and even grocery shopping all from home. The first couple of weeks involved a lot of tantrums and tears from everyone including myself. As we now get into a groove, I’m able to see what we need to do differently and what we might continue even when this lockdown is over.
With my husband and me both working from home, we started out spending a lot of time bouncing the four-year-old back and forth. The 13-, 11-, and 8-year-olds can keep themselves busy while we work; the four-year-old is like a giant chihuahua with a caffeine problem. We now manage by me being in charge during the day while my husband works, because his is the biggest chunk of our income, and I get a couple of hours after dinner to lock myself in our bedroom and focus on work. While I cannot get all of my work done in two hours a day, that consistent uninterrupted time is enough to not only get a large portion of my work completed, but is a consistent time every day that I get to not be in charge of the children.
Once lockdown has ended, I do plan to hang onto at least some evening work time on my own. Having the consistent space to not be mom for a bit is pretty fantastic for my mental health, as the constant strain of being in charge of four other humans is beyond exhausting. Turning that over to my husband for even an hour each day is like a deep breath of fresh, clean air.
As a fitness professional, most of my workouts are, well, work. I exercise because I enjoy it, sure, but I primarily do it because it’s my job. The days of going for a quick run because I needed the release went out the door years ago because of time and energy limits. So much of my time is spent exercising or planning classes that I had stopped taking time to work out for me. Now, my personal workouts are critical.
I have found that I have to get in a bit of a workout each morning before the kids get up. Without hopping on the bike or getting in a quick HIIT workout, I start the day sluggish and empty. It’s like a morning cup of coffee and now that I have very little time to escape these four walls, I NEED that charge. Even my absolutely non-negotiable Sunday rest day starts with a 30-minute bike ride.
Once life is back to “normal” I plan to continue working out for me. Not only is it great for my mental and emotional health, I am becoming a better coach by doing workouts written by someone else.
While I don’t have a lot of control over online classes, curbside pickup, and YouTube church, these are things I would love to see continue post-quarantine. I haven’t bought gas in two weeks, you guys, and that is amazing. Being able to take classes, order literally everything online, and “go” to church in my living room has actually reduced my anxiety. Can I get an “amen” from the mamas not having to buckle car seats ten times a day?!
We were even able to participate in an Easter service for the first time in several years. We attend church downtown and we discovered pretty quickly that parking is non-existent downtown on Easter Sunday. We made a decision a few years ago to forgo Easter services and leave our spot for those who don’t attend church regularly. Most years we spend Easter camping with family and return to our normal Sunday services the next week. This year we had the privilege of an Easter service in our living room via YouTube and it was phenomenal. (So, to the powers-that-be at North Shore Fellowship, consider this my official request to Livestream holiday services forever and ever amen.)
Here are a few things I miss:
- Stocked grocery stores
- The YMCA (specifically childwatch and our many, many friends that feel like family)
And a few things I don’t miss:
- Traffic and finding a parking spot downtown
- Buying gas every 6 days
- Strict schedules and having to get five people ready and out the door on a daily basis
- Shopping (like, going inside a store and having to look for things and stand in line and pay for them. Yuck.)