Finding Balance During Quarantine
It’s been a while! We’re in our 7th week of quarantine now and I want to put some thoughts down. I’m mostly writing this because I need to hear it, but if this helps anyone I’d be so happy which is why I’ll share.
Covid 19 turned the world upside down and we still don’t know how we’re going to come out of it.
I’m still talking to people daily through dms, emails, texts etc about sleep training babies. My message is always “consistency is key.” It feels ironic to write in this blog, but I feel like consistency isn’t key for handling this time.
On any given day, I can go through a range of emotions. I can wake up optimistic about having a great day. Then I catch the news and read about people dying alone without being able to say goodbye to their loved ones. Then for the loved ones to mourn in isolation. My heart breaks. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people on the front line putting themselves at risk on a daily basis. Then I read about the kindness of strangers and people helping each other during this time and there’s hope that perhaps the world will be a better place after this. There’s always the moments during the day where I’m frustrated that it’s been 7 weeks and we have no clue when it will open up. Which immediately leads to guilt because I’m frustrated and complaining, yet healthy and in a perfect scenario for being quarantined. So then it’s a wake up call – appreciate what you have, your health, your family, your home, your husband’s job while millions are losing theirs. And then I feel sad for the people who lost their jobs and are scared they can’t feed their family. I feel sad for the people of all ages who have to isolate all by themselves. I feel sad for those who were in the middle of the dating scene which abruptly stopped; it’s not ideal to find a partner without being able to leave your home. Then I feel pain for the people who’s infertility treatments had to stop and all they want is to be quarantined with a child, or an additional child and they are forced to pause. Anger comes next. I’m angry that the hospitals couldn’t figure out a system to have separate Covid hospitals so that people who need cancer surgeries could have been getting them the past 7 weeks. I’m angry that people have to deliver a baby and their husband has to leave them in the most vulnerable time. I’m heartbroken and angry for the children and people who find themselves in abusive homes with no option to escape. I’m exhausted just writing this, and these emotions are related to outside my home, it’s even more a roller coaster inside my home.
In my home I’ve figured out a good morning routine. I’ve committed to doing a short exercise workout and getting it done early before the “school day” begins. It feels good to move my body, and while it’s nothing like going to an actual gym class, it does put me in a good place to start the day. Then the day begins. All my children sign on to their zoom classes and I know that’s already a win, so I’m happy for that. But the day has twists and turns. My oldest struggles in school in person, so transfer that to trying to learn through the computer, it’s an understatement to say he needs support. And I know, that even very strong students are still needing support so I know I’m not alone in trying to juggle support for multiple children at same time.
At some point there’s behavior that isn’t enjoyable – a sibling fight, a rude interaction, list can go on 😂 Ideally I’d like to take a deep breath and say calmly to them that this behavior isn’t enjoyable for me, and then I would separate myself and tell them to let me know when they’re ready. I can’t do that because I’m also the tie to school. If I’m not there, he can’t do school, so I need to sacrifice how I want to parent so that I can help him learn.
And then there’s the messages going around – don’t worry about school, they’ll catch up, so spend time on other things. I get that for certain ages, but for a kid who is still struggling to read and write (in a grade where it’s expected to already know how), to give up and not try to progress would mean a major set back. I’ve proved this to myself because I could see that after the days that we’ve put in even a short time of practice, the struggle is a tiny bit less. But if days in a row are skipped, the struggle is there. It’s different once a skill is mastered or proficient vs when it’s at a point that practice can really help.
I know there is so much more to discuss, how people are taking on all household duties which are more than normal because people are living in the house all day. The millions of snacks and meals. The list goes on. Not everything can be done, some things have to give.
Now let’s spin this on it’s head. Before quarantine I truly believed that weekends and vacation days needed to be packed with activities in order for my kids to be happy. And after 1 or 2 activities they’d even be willing to ask, “where are we going next?” Now I know, they can stay home for weeks on end and a bike ride is a true highlight of the day. If I block out a lot of the sibling fighting, I can see hours and hours of time they got to play together, and no one was in a rush. We enjoyed each other without leaving the house and we definitely have fond memories that we’ll look back on.
But, the messages going around to take advantage of every moment, to be extra productive and creative in this time. I’m not always feeling those messages. And here’s where my message isn’t “consistency”. It’s about balance. If one day you feel like taking advantage and soaking in this time and doing something you’ve been too busy to do because of real life, then go for it! But if the next day you feel like you just need to survive the day – that’s 100% fair. Seven weeks is a long time to continue to make these moments count, while knowing all around your bubble of your house there is so much pain and sadness from Covid 19. If you’ve run out of steam, let that be. It’s also okay to have good days and retreat into your bubble of quarantine and not turn on the news or hear from the outside world. You can’t be everything to everyone all the time.
Kids thrive in routine. And it’s good to keep some routine. But it’s also good to acknowledge that this isn’t normal living, and they’re missing parts of their lives too. There can be later nights and ice cream before bed, but there can also be expectations for school and behavior.
I’m not here to say I found a balance. As admitted, my day goes through twists and turns. I’m here to tell myself (and anyone who wants to listen) that that’s okay. I don’t need to take advantage of everyday and make sure my kids’ memories of this time are a daily new hobby. I’m entitled to having good times while acknowledging that’s a blessing to be thankful for in a very scary time. I’m allowed to have moments where I want to wake up from a dream and wake up to a day before corona times. I miss a lot of people and places and I very much look forward to being able to see and hug them again.
My heart breaks for all the sadness Covid 19 brought both directly and indirectly. I’m also extremely grateful for my personal situation and feel very blessed. So it’s mixed emotions at all times of the day, and I’m trying to find a balance. Balance is key.