I’m Surprised By How Little I Miss
BY NATALIE ROMERO
Photo by Pinningnarwhals/Twenty20
Apr 13, 2020
Typically our weekdays fly by in a flurry of activity.
After working long days we rush home and together we tag team dinner, driving kids to and from their activities, help with homework and bedtime books and snuggles.
We are a very busy family.
It’s been a few weeks since we have all been physical distancing which means all of our extracurricular activities have come to a complete stop.
What has surprised me the most over these last few weeks is just how little I miss.
Sure, there is a part of me that misses watching my son play soccer and I can’t believe that we are going to have a year without a dance recital. But there is a bigger part of me that’s just enjoying this time we have together.
Learning to adapt
I can’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. There are two of us working from home and we have two kids in the same space attempting to learn remotely. But we are slowly finding our groove.
"Yet even with all of the difficulty and bumps in the road, it’s been kind of nice having us all in the same space together."
I’m no longer embarrassed when a kid walks by in the background of a meeting. I’ve learned the best playlists that help me focus and drown out my husband’s work calls. My kids are even starting to follow our schedule without prompting. And while my work is being interrupted regularly by kids asking questions that I sometimes struggle to answer like “what is a congruent line and how do I say it in French?” — they are finishing their school work.
Yet even with all of the difficulty and bumps in the road, it’s been kind of nice having us all in the same space together.
We’ve always prioritized eating dinner together as a family but now we are all logging off and eating lunch together, too. It’s nice to sit at the table and eat all of our meals together without having to rush through to make it to practice. Instead, we spend our evenings playing basketball in our driveway and catching up on our favourite TV shows.
We’ve played three day-long games of Monopoly and baked muffins. My kids have made us a pancake breakfast and a pasta lunch without our help. They joined in on the house cleaning on Saturday mornings without so much as a complaint; cleaning mirrors and windows and mopping floors like it was the most fun they’d had all week.
The key to all of it is that we are together.
We are laughing, playing and relaxing together without too many outside obligations distracting us.
While everyone is trying to stay safe by practicing physical distancing, this mom has started to worry about the effects it has on her teenage daughter. Here is what she is doing to protect her mental health.
Trying to make the best of it
Of course I’m filled with worry.
With three out of the four of us considered higher risk, I worry about our health. I worry that my kids are going to fall behind in their academics and that I’m not doing enough to help support their learning. I’m concerned with their physical fitness; they’ve gone from playing sports at minimum five days a week to no team sports, and a limited ability to run around.
I miss our friends and family. I miss laughing over glasses of wine and watching my kids strengthen their relationship with their grandparents.
"Even though my responsibilities haven’t changed, my free time has become my time."
Easter was our first holiday ever not spent with extended family and it’s disappointing and different for us, but If I’m being completely transparent, there is a part of me that enjoys having time with just the four of us and no other commitments.
I am not spending our weekdays balancing work and rushing from one place to another then spending weekends cleaning, cooking, running errands and trying to fit in visits with our family.
There is a little bit of freedom to be found in that.
I expected this to go very differently.
When the words "physical distancing" first entered my vocabulary the thought of being locked in my home without the ability to leave as I please brought me such anxiety. The opposite has happened, as the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months my normally anxious personality seems to have slowed down.
I have adapted very well.
We're all trying to cope in this new reality. Some people make bread, others don't. This writer argues to skip by the picture-perfect social posts and just do you. Read that POV here.
I don’t miss running errands because there is nothing I can’t purchase online. I don’t miss multiple trips to the grocery store every week, instead I cook using ingredients that I have on hand and only book grocery store trips when it’s absolutely necessary.
Even though my responsibilities haven’t changed, my free time has become my time.
I recognize how fortunate my family is in that we can isolate ourselves. We still have jobs and are getting paycheques. We have the resources to help provide our children with the technology they need to be able to keep learning.
Most importantly we have our health.
Given our current state of privilege, I’m able to focus on the positive side of this situation.
This mom yearns to have woven baskets full of wooden toys that keeps her children entertained for hours, but the reality is Netflix is her most reliable babysitter during the pandemic. Read her POV here.
I can’t wait to sit on the sideline and watch my kids' soccer games. I want nothing more than to have a barbecue at my parents’ house. I’m so looking forward to celebrating our first family gathering at my brother-in-law’s new home.
My hope is that life goes back to normal for us all in a few months. I hope those who have lost their jobs can find work again. I hope those who have had to close their businesses can somehow rebuild themselves. I pray that we can slow this curve down so that more lives aren’t lost.
As a family, we will continue to do our part and stay home to try and keep our community healthy. And I will relish in all this time my family is able to spend together because, as it happens, I’m not really missing too much of the way things were.
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