I know I’m not alone when I admit that this past week was a little crazy! Each morning, I’d visualize our day filled with love and laughter. I’d see us working together as a family and drawing closer to one another during this time of quarantine. And while that was a lovely intention, by mid morning without fail, I’d feel like I needed to retreat to my closet to gain a little composure. The reality of keeping a calm and peaceful environment amidst our circumstances was harder than I visualized.
I’d love to tell you that we entered into the weekend with grace and ease, but I’d be a big ole LIAR! Let me start with the fact that for two weeks before the new reality of Social Distancing, our schedules were diverted as our family suffered through a cold, followed by a nasty stomach flu. So we were already laying low and trying to keep our germs confined when the world went crazy in response to COVID-19 health concerns. As schools closed and folks posted memes about the horrors of having their kids at home on Day 3, we were, in essence, on Week 3! Lord, help us all!
Our circumstances were like many others: Two of our kiddos began independent studies, mixed with online instruction. We started to tie up loose ends with trips to the grocery store and post office. We rescheduled meetings from face-to-face to virtual and streamlined our schedules to enable us to be home to care for the kiddos. Remote classes are a great alternative to allow the kids to continue their education during this time of uncertainty, but they are far from independent. Trouble-shooting technology issues and helping the kids stay focused requires a great deal of our time. Of course, this was in addition to trying to execute our professional initiatives. Plus, I haven’t done fourth and sixth-grade math since I was in elementary school, and at the risk of embarrassing myself, it’s tough!
March has been wet, but we were blessed with a little sunshine this week. It was brisk out, but the break in the rain allowed the kids to play outside for short periods, which helped. Anytime it rains in California, it’s a blessing. But since we’re also in the middle of a construction project, the areas around our house — which someday will be concrete driveways — are giant mud puddles. We can’t pave until the ground dries out. Add three kids to that scene and you can imagine how many times a day we have to sweep our floors!
Don’t get me wrong; this is life and part of the joy and responsibility of “Adulting.” I don’t even think I’m complaining, as much as I am processing. For example, my car is in the shop, and I’m stressed knowing we’re temporarily a one-car family, but it’s not like I’m going anywhere. I’m late for nothing, no one is waiting on me, I haven’t missed any deadlines, our whole world is on pause, and yet the feeling of angst is still present.
Buddy and I have a pretty exceptional relationship most of the time, and we work hard at co-parenting. Still, truth be told this week left us both vying for personal time to have our meetings, catch up on emails, read contracts, and me trying to carve out a few minutes each day to work on a book I’m writing. We found ourselves on edge, disagreeing over quarantine philosophies, and exhausted from the increased efforts at home. We were at odds over how concerned we should, or shouldn’t be about the quarantine, and debating about whether to fly to Hawaii to visit family or to hole up on our ranch in the mountains.
There has also been some beauty in isolation. We’ve had dinner together as a family every night. We’ve been able to witness and better understand our children’s work ethics and habits. We’ve started to work on some projects that have been lingering and reprioritized some life practices at home, like getting back into a little homesteading.
When moving into our new home in the country, we elected not to get cable or satellite TV. We have the Internet and a smart TV, so we watch movies, but we didn’t want the TV and certainly not the news to have a prominent role in our daily lives. I have a news app and regularly check headlines and read more about what’s relevant to us as needed. I must say that not having cable has been wildly liberating and often ignorance feels like bliss. At times, however, we have felt a little disconnected throughout the international and now local pandemic. Now that the virus is upon us, in our county, and our state has mandated quarantine and all non-essential businesses cease operations, we’re paying even more attention to the growing concern.
Even with intentionally veering from the news hysteria, I have experienced a myriad of emotions recently and especially this week, as I’m assuming many of you have also. Panic, anxiety, and conspiracy theories have all taken up space in my mind. I consciously and repeatedly choose to move away from entertaining these thoughts, but I must admit it’s scary.
It's been an effort to stick with some essential daily practices and to implement some new ones. I want to ensure sanity, normalcy, and a sense of productivity and momentum. These measures and absolutes helped me this week and will benefit me in the coming weeks.
As the week comes to an end, I reflect on what went well and what we can improve on. I know that the weeks will likely become more difficult, lonely for friends and family, and the news of our world and neighborhoods will become even scarier, but these practices will help us remain strong in the midst of whatever storms may come:
-Choose Joy - As you notice your hearts becoming heavy or your irritability rising, try to take a few breaths and remind yourself that the only thing we can control is our attitude and our thoughts.
-Stick to, or establish, your Morning Routine - Friends, this is EVERYTHING. It will start your day off with positive momentum and give you a little time to yourself to practice self-care and execute on some of your priorities.
-Move your body every day - I have a stationary bike, but there were times this week we had dance parties, or practiced running in place and doing yoga online. No excuses — move your body every day!
-Make healthy food choices - Eating well provides you with more energy, and gaining weight during this time will only play more tricks on your psyche.
-Choose one organizing project every day - You don’t have to go after a whole room. Pick one cabinet, one dresser, one coat closet that needs some love. Purge whatever doesn’t serve you, reorganize and clean the space. You will feel pride in the accomplishment and freedom in letting go.
-Start a new habit - Ever thought of raising chickens for eggs, waste composting, making homemade cleaning supplies, or implementing essential oils? Now is a great time to educate yourself and explore something new and positive that will benefit you, your family, and our planet. Thank God for Amazon Prime!
-Develop a parenting plan for the week with your partner - Look over each other’s schedules and decide who is doing what each day. This will help manage expectations and ensure you both understand the other's commitments and goals for the week.
-Don’t keep a scoreboard with your partner - Commit to each other that you won’t keep track, or throw back at each other, who’s done what. This behavior won’t help anything.
-Have a plan - Do try to implement some fun activities: Lip Syncs, Board Games, Family Meal Preparation. A little creativity will go a long way in breaking up the long days at home.
-Encourage the kids to journal - These are historic times around the world and they likely have a lot of feelings about it. Maybe they will want to share their journal, or elect to keep it to themselves. Either way is okay and spending a few minutes writing their thoughts down can be beneficial.
-Give yourself a break - Sometimes just surviving is thriving! Do not compare yourself to other’s highlight reels on social media. If you are doing the best you can, and you’ve made mac ‘n cheese three days in a row, it’s okay, sister! Just keep going!
Limit your alcohol consumption - I used white wine in a recipe last night and poured myself a glass. It tasted so good on my lips, I poured another! I thought, "Oh wow, this could be dangerous." For context, this was the first drink I've had in a week, but in times like this if I weren't careful, I'd find myself day-drinking by noon on the regular.
-Exercise grace with the ones you love, and with yourself - Forgive quickly and ask for forgiveness when you have a lash out or breakdown that’s bound to happen. These are stressful times, don’t be too proud to say you’re sorry.
-Pray - I don’t just mean pray after you’ve lost it on your kiddos, or partner, and life has turned into a poop-show, and you’re questioning your mental health. Pray in the morning, during the day and at night. Carve out time to sit in silence and meditate. This time in silence and time connecting with your creator will help calm, center, and ground you.
As we begin a new week and work to build and improve on last week. I'm feeling restored by the weekend of exploring and rest. I'm a little scared, but I'm starting the week with intention, purpose and optimism, anticipating that we will achieve that visualization of love and laughter after all.
When the worldwide danger and fear has subsided, I believe and hope that some truly beautiful changes will have occurred. I believe that we’ll have an opportunity to be more centered around our families, make less of an environmental impact, and witness the spirit of American entrepreneurialism at its best, among other things. My hope is that we won’t lose sight of this time, that we’ll implement truly positive change at home and in our world. We’ll get through this and have the opportunity to be closer and stronger than ever.
Stay Safe, Choose Joy and Show Love.
Long Live the Adventure,
We're a family who loves living life to the full. We try to live each day with intention in an effort to find gratitude, seek wonder, show love and a experience a ton of laughter.