Sheltering at Home in Illinois
The scale of my family’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was tipped on March 13th when we opted to keep our children home from school. Ironic or perhaps appropriate that it was Friday the 13th. Later that same day, the school district announced closure for the next several weeks. Now, Illinois is under a “shelter in place” order until April 7th.
I am going to guess that our current situation will extend far beyond that date and that this has become a “new normal” for the next several months. I have tried to refrain from complaining, as I know that there are people in far worse situations, facing loss of jobs, fear of the virus due to age or underlying conditions, or other threats to their ways of life. But I was reminded that I am still allowed to have feelings about our situation, and that doesn’t mean that I am comparing myself to others.
And what I feel are all of these things:
- I adore my kids, but I don’t like spending the entire day with them. We usually get out and do stuff and watching the toddler put beads on a string isn’t my idea of stimulating interaction.
- I am not a teacher and I don’t pretend to be an adequate substitute for their classroom interaction. My 2nd grader asked me a math question and after starting at it for awhile I had to admit that I didn’t understand and couldn’t help him.
- My workday is condensed into just a few hours, splitting the time with my husband so that we have equal amounts of “work” and “child duty.” I have worked from home for a long time, but my days were much more laid back than what I now face. Now, it is GO GO GO all day.
- I am exhausted by the evenings from the GO GO GO. Bedtime for me is 8:30, no joke.
- I have lost a lot of time to myself. Because I was already working from home, I didn’t give up a commute or a lot of office meetings. Instead, I gained three co-workers ages 10 and younger in my work space. I have less time in my day, not more. What was sacrificed was much of my “me” time.
- I don’t like the food I am eating. We were already subscribing to Dinnerly and still have that going on, but our other meals are now incredibly simple. We’ve been keeping to ingredients we can stock up on to minimize our trips to grocery stores. We have ordered food for delivery a few times, but I miss eating out.
- I miss Mom’s Night Out with my friends. FaceTime isn’t the same.
- We were a family that always went out and did things. My “On This Day” from years past included a trip to the zoo, a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, dinner at an Italian restaurant, yoga at my studio, a getaway trip to Las Vegas with my husband, brunch with friends for Easter, and a playdate. All of those are things we have given up.
I suppose I could make another list of what I’ve gained blah blah blah, but right now, I’m not feeling any gains. It’s like a rainy day weekend when we are stuck in the house without any plans, except that the weekend has now been going on for 13 days with no end in the near future. It is more of a “one day at a time” mentality.