It’s official. We’ve been “safer at home” for a solid month now and coronavirus can kiss my ever-increasingly-insane behind. This “new normal” is pretty much crazy. My kids started spring break on March 12 and haven’t been back to school since. Around the same time, my husband started working from home, too. Now, we’re all on our 5th week of forced togetherness and life looks a whole lot different than it did just one short (yet interminably long) month ago.
So, I guess this is our new normal, huh? At least, for the foreseeable future it is.
And how exactly has life changed for our family, you ask? Well, probably about the same as it’s changed for a lot of families, I guess. Of course, there are some family-specific dynamics to consider. Some things have changed particular to the ages and stages of our kids or Greg’s job or the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom.
I just thought it would be interesting (dare I say fun?) to jot down a few of the ares and are nots that our new lifestyle entails. What are some of the things that are and are not part of our new normal? What are some things from our old life that are or are not still happening? Let’s take a look, shall we?
In our family, we are…
Sleeping in — In our old normal, I’d get up before 6:00 am every day. Greg and the girls, who left the house earlier than the boys, would be up by 6:30. The boys would be up by 7:30. Now, though? Well, I’m still the first one up, but it’s usually 6:30 before my eyes open. Greg and the girls wake up at around 7:15 and we wake the boys up by 8:45 so that they can make their online class times.
Crisis-schooling — The kids are spending a whole lot of time on Schoology lately. Teleconferences with their teachers, zoom calls with bandmates, iReady, Khan Academy, iXL, Apex Learning, and on and on and on. These have replaced class time, band practice, worksheets, quizzes, tests, and you name it.
Running the dishwasher 3 times a day — Yes, you read that right. Three times. A day.
Using curbside pickup — I’m looking at you, Walmart! I have never in my life been a big fan, but right now, The Walmarts is keeping me in my car and out of the store. Now, if only Publix would follow suit…
Getting creative — Building LEGO, Art for Kids Hub, Imagineering in a Box, designing wedding dresses, playing babies and Barbies, reading books, learning new card games, and pulling out old board games. We seem to have done it all.
Eating meals together — If someone had told me 6 weeks ago that I’d eat 14+ meals a week with every single member of my family around my dinner table for several weeks in a row? I’d have said they’d lost their mind. We were too busy for that! But look at us now!
Supporting each other — We have always been close. But I have never seen this family of mine pull together like we’ve done in the past few weeks. We are thinking of others, working together, playing together, praying together. When someone needs something, be it extra quiet time to work or someone to throw the frisbee with outside, that need is met. Parents are supporting kids and kids are helping parents. We are all helping the family and I honestly couldn’t be prouder.
In our family, we are not…
Enforcing strict bedtimes — Yes, we do still make the girls go to bed at an appropriate time. Mostly because they need their sleep or they’re pretty unbearable to live with. But the rest of us are going to bed at considerably later times of night than usual.
Homeschooling — Yes, our kids are attending school at home now. But no, this is not homeschooling. I didn’t choose this curriculum and I don’t get to plan our day. We aren’t going on any field trips and they still have their same teachers. I have too much respect for my friends that actively homeschool to call this…that.
Keeping our house super clean — At the start of this mess, I had big ideas about how much we’d clean out and clean up. Everything was going to be sparkling, man! In reality, we keep it about as tidy as ever.
Grocery shopping more than once a week — For years upon years, I was a twice a week grocery shopper. Once on Sunday afternoon/Monday morning and another trip midweek. I’d meal plan and make shopping lists and it worked famously. Now, I try to only enter a store every 8-10 days or so.
Forcing creativity — We are not making our kids or ourselves learn new skills or try new crafts or anything like that. Frankly, we’ve all got enough adjusting going on in our lives. We don’t need to shove brand new goals down anybody’s throat.
Eating nothing but crap — Yes, our intake of baked goods and homemade bread has increased noticeably since mid-March. But as a general rule, I am trying my damnedest to keep this family eating healthfully. As the saying goes, though, you win some and you lose some. And I’m not going to cry about it on the days I “lose.”
Immune to bugging the crap out of each other — Yep. We still get on each other’s last nerve. We’re a family after all!
And me, personally?
I never used to cry about going to the grocery store, but I do now. It’s just so stressful! Heck, I didn’t cry about much at all pretty much ever. But here I am, crying pretty much on the daily now. Stress, hormones, cancelled graduations, my whole lifestyle being turned upside down…you name a reason and I’ve probably cried about it.
I’m also discovering my coping mechanisms. Apparently, I like bubble baths and vodka a lot more than I realized. (And no, Wendy Worrisome, I’m not overdoing it on either front.) Reading has always been a comfort to me, but I have found that when I’m really stressed, I need to lean on an old comfortable book that I’ve read before and not venture into anything new.
As an ambivert (part extrovert, part introvert), this staying home all the time thing hasn’t been terrible. But it’s just about overstayed its welcome. Having never been a big hugger, my desire to wrap my arms around all of my friends and family is a bit surprising in how overpowering it’s gotten. And for the love, can I just go out to a restaurant or a party with my friends again?!
The real new normal
So, yeah. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s going to be really interesting to me what our new “new normal” will be when all of this is over. What will change? What will stay the same? Are there any lessons we will have learned in our times of “together yet alone” that will form how we go forward in this world? What will this generation of kids have burned into their psyches that will affect how they lead our world the future?
So much to think about, yeah? Thank goodness we’ve got plenty of time to do just that.