With the current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) upon us, you are likely practicing social distancing. I will be perfectly honest that when I first accepted the NEED to stay home with my family of four for what may be weeks on end, I felt utterly and totally overwhelmed and anxious.
- How are we going to make this work?
- We are going to go stir crazy!
- We are going to drive each other bonkers!
However, we are a few days into our chosen social distancing experience, and I am learning to really lean in and embrace this opportunity and make the most of it. I am truly learning that this pandemic has given my family and me the GIFT to press pause and enjoy our TIME TOGETHER.
Disclaimer: I recognize entirely that social distancing is a privilege and choice. We do not take it for granted that our family can do this. And we are indisputably grateful to those of you who are essential workers. THANK YOU!
Here are the ways in which we are embracing social distancing.
1. Quality time
As a family with two full-time working parents that work outside the home and two elementary school kids, we don’t have as much quality time as we would like. Social distancing has given us the GIFT of being able to HIT PAUSE on all the social distractions that come with a typical life and just be together. The other night I was making dinner, and our daughter asked if she could help. They often help me in the kitchen, but this felt different. I could take ALL the time in the world for her to cut the carrots and peel a potato because all we had was TIME.
I didn’t rush her or tell her to hurry up. And I didn’t insist that I just do it myself because I can do it faster. Who cares if dinner was served at 8 p.m. Usually, that kind of scheduling infraction would send me into a complete tailspin (what about homework, dance practice, if they stay up late they will be cranky in the morning). With our newfound flexibility, our usual time constraints do not matter. We can literally schedule the day however we want.
2. Learning Something New
Now that time and schedules are ours for the taking, what an excellent chance to learn something NEW. Our youngest learned how to ride a two-wheeler bike this weekend. We had meant to teach her, but there was always a birthday party or event, or to be honest, we were too tired from working all week, and we wanted some downtime for ourselves.
Yet, on Saturday, all four of us took to the street in the glorious sunshine and watched her try and try again until she had the rhythm of a two-wheeler. It did pull on our heartstrings when she proudly proclaimed to us, “I can’t wait to tell all my friends at school that I can now ride a two-wheeler with no training wheels.” We had been meaning to teach her. We had talked about it, but it just felt like there was never a good time, and NOW all of a sudden, without warning, we have all this TIME!
This TIME is a gift. A fantastic opportunity to do something that you ALWAYS said you were going to do but never had the TIME for.
- Finish the baby book
- Organize all the baby clothes now that your baby is five years old
- Learn a new language (there are some great apps and online programs such as Duolingo)
- Experiment with new recipes
- Potty train (I keep thinking this whole STAY at home time is an excellent opportunity to potty train)
- Rearrange a room
- Binge-watch a show that you have wanted to watch
- Teach yourself to knit
- Teach your kids to bake, play chess, love board games, code, etc.
- Organize the Tupperware (that is what we call the glass containers that we use for leftover and everything else) you know that lids and bottoms don’t all match
- Learn how to fold a fitted sheet (and then make a video to show me)
- Teach your kids how to fold a load of laundry, make a bed, mop a floor, scrub a toilet, change a tire, etc.
3. SLOW DOWN
We are always saying that everything moves so fast, and we never get the chance to step back and take it all in. Well, now we have that luxury. We can stay snuggled on the couch for hours and read books. We can make pillow forts and enjoy teddy bear picnics in our living rooms. We can choreograph a family dance and make videos to send to friends and family. We can take afternoon NAPS. We can sleep in. We can be bored!
This is an unprecedented experience for all of us. Can we please zoom out and try to see the LIGHT, the positives, the opportunities that these horrific, unfortunate events have given to us.
If we can, and we have the privilege, let’s EMBRACE the gift of time that social distance has given us!