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The news came late Thursday evening that our school district would be extending the upcoming spring break by one week, meaning my husband and myself (we both work for the district) along with our three kids would be home together for two weeks. I was actually pretty excited. We have never had two full weeks together to spend as a family. The dreams of home projects, family nights and all the adventures started immediately.
The next day, the president announced a National State of Emergency and urged people to start practicing social distancing. My son and I headed to the grocery store to stock up for our two weeks at home. No we were not panic hoarding but we knew we needed to stay home for two weeks so we went to pick up the essentials.
The store was a madhouse. There was literally no meat and the line was wrapped a mile long around the store. An experience that I am sure many of you have faced over the last few days. I couldn’t comprehend what was about to come.
It’s now Tuesday and that initial excitement of being home with my family for two weeks has now shifted to fear and anxiety. We have since learned that my husband’s second income of helping to manage a restaurant is gone, in an instant. The state is literally shut down. Money we most definitely need. It’s all so little though compared to business owners and others that will not make it out of this tough time. My brother, who works as a ski instructor lost his only income in literally one moment. There are hard times ahead.
We have officially been on “quarantine” (no one is sick right now, but we are doing our part to stay home) for just a few days and I have learned a few things. I hope that you all are finding your balance and finding a way to handle the stress and anxiety that you may be feeling as I share what I learned in my first two days in quarantine.
First, I Am The One Who Needs A Routine
I recently wrote about how important it is for kids to have a routine in order for parents to stay sane. But what I have learned through this experience so far is that I need the routine. It sounds really great to have days on end with no expectations of accomplishment. Days of being in your pajamas, watching Disney+ (we have watched Frozen II a million times already) and really doing whatever you feel like.
In reality, when there is no end in sight to this new normal, a routine is something that you can grab onto. Right now, things seem so uneasy and so unpredictable. In a time where we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, a routine gives us just that; something to count on.
In fact, tomorrow I will begin a daily intentional. I want to set the expectation and the intention of what I want from my day. Nothing extraordinary but I know, that if I set a goal for my actions and my mind, I will feel better. I created a daily intentional journal and you can grab it for free below. I hope that it helps you during this uneasy time.
I Need Some Alone Time
So, I never get alone time. I mean never. Somehow, being home with everyone as I have been the last few days, I am feeling the need for that alone time more than ever.
I guess I always took for granted that quiet car ride to work, or even running into the store on my way home to pick up dinner. While those things never felt like alone time, I now realize that I did have some time to myself.
Now, I cannot even go to the bathroom in peace and quiet. This is not the working mom versus stay at home mom argument. This is the, entire family is home in one place for days on end moment. But seriously, I have realized in the last few days that I need a moment to myself. I know my husband needs it too. We will make sure to give each other a break and a moment to step aside and just be alone each day.
Self Care is Important More Now Than Ever
I have to admit, on a normal day, I am not very good at self care. I am horrible at drinking water, I will go the whole day only eating some cheese and crackers and I put everyone else’s needs before my own.
Well, that has only gotten worse as we have been stuck at home. I have been snacking on chips as I pass the pantry and have been living on a lukewarm cup of coffee. No joke!
I had a realization today that these are the times that I can actually take the time to focus on self care. I mean, my excuse in the past has been “I am just too busy” or “work is insane right now”. I no longer have those excuses not to take care of myself. I need to be drinking water and being active.
I can feel the anxiety about what the future will hold creeping in and it’s crippling. It’s too easy right now to retreat into such a negative space that it’s a little dangerous. I will keep my mind and body sharp by taking care of myself.
I Need My People
I have always sort of joked around that I don’t have friends. What I mean by that is that I don’t go out and meet friends for dinner or talk on the phone endlessly with girlfriends. The truth is, I have a ton of really great friends but I am in a phase of life right now that doesn’t allow me the time to meet up with friends. I have three kids under first grade and younger.
In the last few days I have realized how much I really do connect to and need to connect to my people. I spent much of the day chatting in different group chats about the happenings of our day. We have an awesome mom group on Facebook that has been so great connecting with people during this time (if you haven’t joined yet, jump in). Friends sharing pictures of their kids doing home learning, mom fails of the day, cleaning projects started and finished.
We Facetimed my 93 year old Grandmother to show her our fun St. Patrick’s Day headbands. We snapped fun photos back and forth all day with our friends in Nashville and Arizona, comparing the lines at our local Costco. My super tight-knit family has been able to stay connected to each other in what is a scary time for all of us.
We all need to continue to stay connected. We need to continue to talk every day, to reach out and check on each other. Our friend in Italy chatted with us today to tell us that they continue to talk through balconies and cook as a family. I don’t want to lose that. I vow not to lose touch with my people in all of this.
I know we have only been at this social distancing, isolation for a few days and the end is no where near but I know that we must remain positive. We need to continue to be intentional about a positive mindset. Times will likely get harder before they get better but I will focus on the good around me. I will focus on the people who continue to support their employees who cannot work, those that continue to order take out to support local restaurants.
I will make sure that I make productive use of my time home with my family. I will take care of myself and will check in on others. Just because we are at home in isolation, does not mean that we will isolate ourselves. We will live our best life that we can given the current situation.
Avenue Kate has two wonderful communities on Facebook to stay connected to those around you. If you have not already, please join us. See below: