I’ll have to admit – I really went back and forth about if I wanted to write this series of blog posts. I only want to fill this blog with things that are useful to you, and if you are anything like me, you are just ready for life to get a little bit back to normal. The last thing you want to read is another COVID update with pictures of empty grocery store shelves (though I have plenty of those!).
On the other hand, our family life was (and still is!) being completely messed up by COVID. And we’ve had to adapt – over and over and over again. Sometimes the plan I’ve figured out in the morning no longer worked by the afternoon. And as soon as it seems like things are improving and we are given a little more freedom, something else gets taken away.
For a type A person like myself who relies on having things planned out well in advance, this type of situation does not sit well with me. I can handle it, but it really stresses me out.
Many readers noticed that I didn’t post much on the blog during the initial COVID quarantine, and it’s simply because our family went into emergency mode. I had so many decisions to make and schedules to shift around that I was exhausted at the end of each day and didn’t have much left in the tank. Needless to say, my creative juices were not flowing.
And even though life isn’t back to normal by a long shot, we have slightly more predictability now, which is helping me manage my stress better and get us back on track.
After thinking through everything we experienced, I realized that there were some good lessons in the challenges we had to overcome, and those lessons could be really helpful for you to read about.
So I’ll be including a bit about COVID here on the blog. Hopefully I won’t have to update on this for months (or years!) on end, but anytime I’ve been through something that I think can help you, I’m happy to share my experience, how I handled it, and if it was successful or not!
On that note, our COVID journey essentially started on March 12th. My husband hadn’t been feeling well the past few days and decided to stay home from work that day. Matthew was due to go to school in the morning, but had also been battling a cold and asked to stay home with his dad. I normally don’t give into a request to stay home, but for some reason I did that day. Little did I know that if Matthew had gone to school that day, it would have been his last school day of the year!
I don’t think my family had COVID, but you never know. Everyone in the house had some sort of illness – Matt and Emma seemed to just have the constant little kid runny nose/cough. I was battling a sore throat, and Rob had a mild fever for a few days. But it wasn’t anything too drastic to keep us down long. Nothing we hadn’t worked through many times in the past as a family with young children!
Two days later we got an email from Matthew’s school stating that in light of the COVID news they had decided to close down indefinitely until a safe reopening could be guaranteed. I have to admit – at this point I started to panic a bit. Not because of COVID, but because I suddenly had no child care for one of my children (his school offers onsite after care for parents who work beyond the normal school hours). And with Rob and I both working at jobs outside of the home, this was not a good situation to be in. It was a Saturday night when I read the message, and we were both due to work that Monday.
Thankfully Matthew’s grandparents came through (as they always do!), and were able to take Matthew for the upcoming week so Rob and I could continue working while we scrambled to find a more permanent child care solution. Unfortunately, Matthew likely passed his cold onto his grandparents. They both became ill shortly after he returned back to our house after that first week away. Given everything going on, they decided to quarantine for a few weeks until everything cleared. Always a wise move in light of a pandemic, but we still hadn’t found a childcare solution.
Then typical of this rollercoaster of events, shortly after they were unable to help further with Matthew due to their illness, Rob’s work started to allow employees to take 80 hours of PTO for COVID related events – whether that be personal illness or caring for children who were now forced to be home. I only work part-time, so if Rob and I alternated shifts, we suddenly were able to cover about a month of care without impacting our incomes greatly. This was such a relief to me! It was a solution for the next four weeks – and then we could reevaluate depending on if the schools were reopened or not.
And this worked great! Rob and I tagged off on watching the kids each day. He would watch in the morning while I went off to work, and then we’d trade at lunch time. We both had more quality time with the kids then we had in a long time, and it was actually kind of fun. I think the kids enjoyed it too – no one was stressed out trying to get them out the door in the morning, and there were no school or daycare drop-offs to cause anxiety.
That is, it worked great till I got a call from my boss just two weeks into this new routine. I knew it was coming – routine eye care had been suspended and you can’t justify keeping a clinic staffed for emergency care only.
I was being laid-off.
There went all my carefully designed plans – again. And our income was about to be dramatically affected. Now what?
Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series which will be released next week. This is where I really started to take my family into emergency mode!
All the best,
P.S. I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to share your COVID story. I’m sure we’ve all been affected by this in some way, and it’d be great to hear how you’ve been able to overcome the hurdles that have been thrown your way. Feel free to leave a comment below or simply send me a message. I hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe!