All caught up? Great!
So as you recall, I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to adapt to a complete stay at home life, essentially treating each day as a single parent for two demanding young children while my husband tried to work 8+ hours from home.
And for background, I’m a person who needs and craves my alone and quiet time each day. So you can see why I was so worried about this and my own sanity.
With Emma being only one year old, she requires a ton of constant attention. She’s on the move – climbing up on everything and walking away in a split second to go and explore something she probably shouldn’t be. And she likes to crawl into a small place, sit quietly, and hide. So if I’m not watching her all the time, it can actually take me awhile to figure out where she’s wandered off to!
Matthew is somewhat more independent at 4 years old, but he still loves to have my constant attention, and he loves to play with me – every game, all the time. And a lot of what he wants to play is not necessarily Emma friendly (think games with small parts she could choke on). Keeping them both entertained, happy and safe is not always an easy feat.
And I’ll be 100% honest. I did not do so well with this the first few weeks that we were all home together. My husband kept giving me looks that said he needed the kids to be quieter so he could work, and I was doing my best to keep them entertained, happy and quiet without resorting to the TV all the time. But the weather was miserable at first so I couldn’t take them outside, and I was quickly running out of creative ideas to keep them engaged. I was also horribly missing my “me” time, and I started to get pretty cranky with everyone in my house as my own stress level increased. I kept hearing everyone else talk about how they were getting so much done at their homes during quarantine – going through things, getting organized, having leisurely meals, finally getting around to long neglected projects, getting in a daily workout, etc. But I quickly realized that none of those people had small children. And it was all I could do to keep up with the day to day chores as I had zero time to myself. Even before quarantine when I was working and technically “busier” than I was now at home, I had my lunch hour to do something to recharge my system – read, write this blog, catch up on emails, etc. Even that time was gone now.
I started to get really frustrated – especially because it was even hard on some days to find time to get away to shower once the day got started. But eventually I found a routine. I started to get up earlier in order to sneak in my shower. I also made it a point each day to do my hair and makeup simply to feel better about myself. (I’m a huge believer that if you look good, you have more self-confidence and feel better overall – even if you have nowhere to go and no one to see!). And it did work. Once I knew in the morning that I had attended to taking care of myself – even with something as simple as a shower and morning routine – I felt like I had more patience with the kids. And I could tell they were enjoying my increased patience as well.
I was also really appreciating my well-stocked pantry (I talked about this a bit in a previous post: Thanksgiving 2019: How I Handled Hosting with a Week’s Notice!). Even though I was getting sick of cooking and finding creative meals to put together so we wouldn’t get bored eating the same old things over and over, I always knew that we had plenty of food available if we needed it – without having to run to the grocery store and wait in long lines in the hopes that what we wanted would even be available to purchase! In fact, the only thing I had to restock on routinely was dairy. Specifically cheese sticks and whole milk since my kids go through that like there’s no tomorrow! (And thank you Target for always having milk in stock when every other store was out!). But between our pantry (which includes freezers stocked with breads, meats and veggies), our dry storage for pastas, beans, grains, and paper products, and the farm share we get weekly which delivers veggies to our doorstep (I love Farmer Kev!), we didn’t have any food worries at all. Which was great as the stores were routinely sold out of everything that I tend to stock on hand anyways.
However, even with a routine in place, stress and boredom with the daily grind eventually reared its ugly head. I found myself craving a change from the normal, and with the lack of intellectual stimulation, I found myself wandering into the kitchen and snacking more and more often. A couple of weeks went by and I noticed that the numbers on the scale were creeping upwards once again – not fast – but enough to know that I was allowing the stress and boredom of my current situation slide me back into old habits. Anyone who follows along with this blog routinely knows that I’ve spent the past year losing weight – a lot of weight – and getting myself to a heathier place than I’ve ever been. There was no way I was going to let COVID change that now! (If you’d like to catch up on my Weight Loss posts, you can find a link to the series here).
So I spent more time thinking of other activities I could do with the kids. I engaged my husband to help out more after his work day was done so that I could take some online classes to keep my mind fresh. And with the help of Google and the improving spring weather, we were able to change up our routine enough to keep everyone engaged and stop the boredom eating. The scale adjusted back down again, and everyone’s mood improved with the fresh air and sunshine!
And then just like that, after 5 weeks of not working at all, followed by 5 weeks of working only a few hours a week, quarantine for my job was lifted and I was back to a normal work schedule. It was such an abrupt transition yet again – filled with even more new challenges – that I’ll discuss in my next COVID post.
Until then, I’m hoping that you and your family are enjoying summer and making the most of it – regardless of what limitations are in place for you due to COVID-19.
All the best,