I Should Be Grateful for Our Newfound Time Together… But I Can’t Find The Silver-Lining
By Chrissy Somers, Owner + Founder, FamiliesOnTheFox.com
Our lives have come to a screeching halt with the fast-spreading arrival of the Coronavirus. Schools are closed. My husband is working remotely. I’ve got three beautiful littles at home with me all day. The “shelter in place” statewide mandate has given us safety from the mass spreading of COVID-19, but it has also given us time together.
Time that otherwise would’ve been time spent apart.
Time to enjoy the extra cuddles, giggles, and playtime.
Time to do a deep cleaning and disinfecting of all the things in the house because… germs.
As long as we’re all healthy and still employed, we should be enjoying this extra time together. “Making the most of it,” as I’m sure you’ve seen several of your friends on social media say in their cheery posts.
But I can’t. I just can’t bring myself to stop and soak in these moments because my mind is racing a mile a minute. Life is still filled with expectations and everyday pressures, and these aren’t taking a break for anyone.
Here’s why I think some people like me are struggling to slow down and truly enjoy this time...
THERE ARE STILL BILLS TO BE PAID
Sallie Mae still wants her monthly payment from my student loan. Sure, she’s willing to delay it, but once we are back in business and this whole situation is in the rearview mirror, she’ll need me to double up.
Dick move, Sallie. Dick move.
If you were sadly let go or furloughed during this already financially-straining time, you’re probably doing anything and everything in your power to collect unemployment until you find another job to provide for your family.
If you were one of the lucky ones, you still have a job to tend to… while the kids are home… and SURPRISE! You just became their teacher! I apologize in advance, though, because there is no salary increase for this additional role you must now fill until (most likely) the end of the school year.
DAMN YOU, E-LEARNING!
Pressure to get kids to complete virtual math problems, get in their PE break, complete an art project, sit down and read for 30 minutes, eat lunch, write out a “Spring Break Bucket List” (I shit you not; this is one of my daughter’s assignments. I’m sure you heard, but options will be limited, Mrs. Z!), review spelling words, do a STEAM-based science project at home, cook an organic dinner together, have a family dance party via GoNoodle (silently wonder how these grown-ass adults feel about the road that life has put them on), read a story together, and then go to bed has exhausted me beyond explanation.
In light of being completely transparent, I need you to know that I snuck in three to four beers at various points throughout that agenda.
Shit… aren’t you exhausted just reading that?! I mean, yes, technically I’m still a licensed teacher (in my former life I was a 7th grade ELA teacher) but I’m not teaching anymore! On top of teaching all three of my kiddos throughout the day, I’ve got to figure out how to get my own work done.
SCREW IT; THE KIDS ARE GETTING SCREEN TIME… AND A LOT OF IT
I can’t keep up with these Super Moms. You know exactly who I’m talking about. Yeah, Deborah, I’m talking about you.
These parents somehow have half a basketball team dressed, fed, and ready to take on the day by 7:30am. They then follow the schedule the school outlined above to a T and somehow even work in teaching their kids how to play Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor on the didgeridoo and harpsichord.
I just can’t do it, friends. I did as much of the e-learning lessons as I could mentally sustain without losing my shit before caving in to the demands of my tiny tyrants and giving them their iPads… for five hours straight… even the baby.
CHORES HAVEN’T GONE AWAY
As much as I’d like my washer and dryer to follow Governor Pritzker’s mandated closures, this is not the case.
The laundry piles continue to grow. Dishes need to be washed. Dinner has to be cooked. The floors need to be swept. The carpets need to be vacuumed. And we need to disinfect all the things!
I’ve never been a germaphobe, but with the amount of disinfectant spray and wipes I have plowed through, I’d have a hard time convincing anyone of the truth behind that statement.
WE STILL HAVE TO EAT
Going to the grocery store was never a favorite thing to do, but now it’s gone from tedious to downright unnerving. Here’s how this #StayTheHellAtHome situation has changed my thought-process about grocery shopping:
I’m going to get my groceries delivered. But wait… do I know that the grocery pickers are healthy? Are they wearing gloves? Have they sanitized their hands recently? How often are they washing their hands? Did they sneeze on my products?
Nevermind, I’ll do the shopping myself… Which of these carts is sanitized? How many people touched this bag of frozen green beans? Where are my gloves? Do I disinfect every item in my cart once I get home? Ew, that guy 30 feet down the aisle just sneezed. Better turn around before he gets too close.
I was here for groceries, but I’m seeing so many people with toilet paper...
WHY ARE THEY BUYING ALL THAT TOILET PAPER?!
While you’re carefully selecting the all-natural, organic, vegan food that the kids will actually eat (errr... I mean, Pizza Rolls and Pop Tarts), you notice that cart go by with three packages of toilet paper. In the next aisle, you see another cart with an unsteady towering stack of TP. Then it happens…
… you start to question your lack of preparedness. You think you missed some important memo. Clearly all the toilet paper factory employees will be quarantined too and there won’t be any toilet paper when you need it! So you forget about the food and half power walk/half sprint to the paper product aisle, and with your heart racing, you grab the last pack of TP.
PHEW! Glad you dodged that bullet!
But wait. We can’t survive on toilet paper.
This is the crazy impulse buying that is stressing so many of us the hell out! Why are people buying all the toilet paper and paper towels?! I still don’t get it, so someone please enlighten this poor fool.
I HAVE ANXIETY AND THIS UNSTRUCTURED STRUCTURE ISN’T HELPING
I live off of lists. I have lists about my lists. Everything has a checkbox so that I can feel accomplished about checking an item off.
Sometimes I even put "MAKE THE BED" and "FEED THE CHILDREN" on my list just so I can feel accomplished about completing a couple things that day.
But my low-dose Zoloft was certainly NOT intended for the clusterf*ck that is encompassing our world right now.
Having time together as a healthy family unit is a beautiful thing. You are right. I know that. And I LOVE that you have figured out how to slow down and soak it in. I’m genuinely happy for you.
But I haven’t figured it out like you. Mentally… emotionally… I’m just not there yet. Please don’t judge me for not finding the silver lining in all this as quickly and readily as you have.
Instead, reach out to me via text (because God knows I hate talking on the phone) and see if I need more wine. Or beer. Or whiskey. I hear Binny's delivers.
Be a FRIEND to me because I’m kind of drowning in all this chaos and I need to know you’re there, with a cocktail in hand, ready to drink with me over a Zoom conference call as my tears roll down my cheek and into my Jack & Coke because I'm so stressed over this whole thing.
And, please, do all this free from judgement.
-xo- Chrissy Somers