I think right now what I need (and in classic Krista fashion am now thinking maybe some parents need too), is some answers. Anyone else feel like they’re living in a movie, waiting for the next plot twist right now?
Since we don’t have anything very concrete about COVID-19, let's focus a bit of energy on what we do have, each other. A funny tweet I saw recently said something like, "I feel like mother nature has just sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have to say about our behaviour". It's time to reflect. It's time to stay home and slow the spreading of it, as a selfless act of love and respect to your neighbours. So let's dive in and figure out how to literally be around each other all the time.Which until recently, I realized isn't as easy as it sounds.
Many of you reading (who know us personally) are maybe thinking our life was (pre-quarantine) a lot like quarantine already and... you know what, you aren't totally wrong.
Before the coronavirus got real my family and I spent a lot of time together. We were rarely out of the house before 10 am (except Shane who stays home most days in his office lol) which allows us slower mornings. We spend every weekend with each other or our respective sides of the family and we all sleep in the same room at night (on a combination of 2 queen mattresses… TMI?) and to be honest, that's exactly how all of us like it. Think... Jack Johnson’s Better Together!
Aside from all that "us" time, the kids and I had always still been pretty busy. Together, but busy. Tuesday to Thursday we were out of the house around 1030 and we wouldn't get home until dinner. We unschool with some really awesome people in our homeschool community and soak in all this great city has to offer. And as much as I’ve always appreciated everything that brings with it like learning, socializing, and connecting, we depended on those conveniences so much more than I previously understood. A typical week to us was the Ontario Science Centre, Forest school/Early ON, theatre school, yoga class, and play dates with our peers every week. Zinnia had been seeing the same 20 homeschool friends over and over and I was seeing their caregivers (mamas, dads or nanny’s) or her many teachers.
So this quarantine came as a bit of a shock. All the sudden I feel like I am trapped in a place I thought I was already in all the time. Turns out, literally all the time is very different! A bit intense you might say (I know I can’t be alone on that). This social distancing stuff, is a lot. We miss our friends, and our places. We miss our teachers.
Sure we have been getting out for a breath of fresh air here and there, but as we try really hard to “flatten the curve” and do our part by staying in, we spend most of our time in our home.
All the sudden I am a full-time mom, teacher and butler. And without all the other incredible people in our village it is all landing with a giant thud.
Seven am to seven pm, seven days/week isn’t full time, it’s ALL THE TIME and I am tired.
It was yesterday that I realized, we needed to switch things up. I'm a structure based person, and I thrive in making arrangements and executing plans. I felt like when I woke up yesterday I was starting on empty and needed to really take my time winding into the day. This quarantine demands non-stop from wakeup to night. Our little home is full of a variety of emotions (based on the current situation/lack of socialization overall), and some boundaries need to be set! I know I thrive in boundaries and my husband and (most) kids do too!
I can see (and very much feel) we are all getting on this way, so I felt that there was an extremely high probability all our needs weren’t being totally met, given all the big changes to our routine. Realizing we should likely start sharing what these needs might be with each other now. Setting up a new routine (until further notice I suppose).
I want to know how the other people in this house are feeling about all of this.
What is doing the same things, day in and day out, with the same people, doing to them? Do they even notice or care? What things have not been working so well, and could use a little more attention? What parts have they really been enjoying? What is working? I feel like if we could look inside, and claim our own needs, we could all be a bit more helpful in making sure we each do our part in helping them be met. As Jerry says, Help me, help you!
Once I got off on this tangent (With myself. In my head.), I started to ask myself these questions. What has been working for me? What hasn’t and what is my non-negotiable, absolute and desperate NEED from my family during this time of quarantine?
TIDINESS! spikes to the front of my mind before I even finish asking the question. Being home all the time, means it's pretty messy, all the time. Which causes our tiny house, to feel even smaller! Then I think, just as fast, should I really waste my be all, end all need on getting my family to pull their weight in the tidy-up department?Ugh. There’s gotta be something better than that, no?
Hmmmm, ok,PERSONAL SPACE. That’s gotta be it. To be healthy we all need some me-time to breathe and be still, nurturing both healthy and happy feelings. Drinking up peace and contentment with complete silence. Right? Great in-thought theory, but then I go against that idea too. Where am I going to go? In our house, you can hear everything from anywhere. If I can hear my kiddos, I’m pulled out of my moment and the next thing I know I hear an “AHHHH” and i'm back downstairs in the thick of it. I think those moments might work best as a collective, all creating silence together. And we do take time for that already. When everyone is on board.
Then I think about what I have come to realize through the start of this process, and I’m not even totally sure of my biggest need right now. I’ve never been in this situation before. But with even a thought to the question, I found myself paying attention a little more closely today. I tried to really listen to the kids, and understand (with minor assumption) what their needs were, and what things I could pass off for them to just do themselves. Even more importantly really considering my own. I think tonight I’ll spend a little more time trying to pick a couple, and share a few of my needs with my family, and just see what comes up, for each of us. Work it out together.
I think with an awareness to these areas, we will be able to accommodate each other and understand, we can get through this together. Embrace the gift of quality time.