We are parenting. We are working. We are surviving.
We are wearing wrinkled clothes from the laundry basket. We are crying in the shower and throwing tantrums on the floor. We are eating frozen foods and running the dishwasher nonstop. We are watching too much TV and playing too many video games. We are staring at our screens and ingesting too much news. We are drinking too much coffee and pouring ourselves one more nightcap. We are staying up too late, and then starting the cycle again in the morning.
We are laughing as a family and enjoying each other’s company. We are baking bread and cooking soups to gain an ounce of comfort. We are puddle jumping in rain boots and looking for rainbows in the backyard. We are pulling out the unfinished art kits and digging out forgotten toys. We are connecting virtually through classes, happy hours, family dinners, drive-by birthday parties, and game nights with friends. We are supporting each other through group text messages filled with homeschooling advice, funny memes, recipes, and pictures of our kids. We are cuddling on the couch and living a slower-paced life.
We are surviving with our own coping methods, though we may not have found a perfect balance between positive and negative ones. Some days we play and then work, and some we work and then play. We have school sprinkled in there somewhere too. We are fighting and making up. We are screaming in the background of Zoom calls or breaking up a wrestling match on the couch. We are working in short bursts with the kids crying or playing nearby, or we are shutting ourselves into makeshift home offices bracing for the inevitable interruption.
We keep going, unsure of what’s to come, but life continues. We are feeling guilty for not being enough of a parent or employee or husband or wife. We are trying to parent, work, and maintain our sanity all at the same time. We strive to do it all, when we could barely do it before. We are staying busy without accomplishing our to-do lists.
We have all the time in the world, yet somehow there is not enough time. It’s the neverending staycation of our lives. We hope it will get better, but know the worst is yet to come.
Inhale. Exhale. Try to embrace the challenges, at least for the moment.
Maybe it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. I realize that we are in a place of privilege to be safe at home. We are able to work from home, and our kids can attend school from home. We can go on walks around our neighborhood and can have most necessities delivered to us. We are ever grateful for all of those essential workers putting themselves at risk outside their homes to help others. We are insulated from the harsh conditions of the people fighting on the frontlines, being treated in a hospital, suffering in their homes, or living quarantined from their families. We don’t take that lightly.
Today we are watching with a mixture of fear, hope, and trepidation as cities attempt to reopen, and we wonder if it’s really safe to go back into the world or if people are being too hasty. Even though staying home is a struggle, it’s a struggle that feels worth it for the safety of our families and communities.