At my house, we live for “stay home days.” Before we had to literally always stay home, we would say, “One more sleep until we get to stay home for two days!” We would all anxiously await Friday night, where we could relax a little more and not be so on-schedule with baths and bedtime. We loved that extra sleep on Saturday morning, and more than anything, we loved good, quality, uninterrupted time with our girls. Sure, some weekends felt really long and tiresome by Sunday night, but we would be back to our regularly scheduled routine on Monday morning.
It’s been almost a month since our Monday-Friday routine has been interrupted by Covid-19, and both my husband and I started working from home. We were both excited for the opportunity, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that it was going to be a hard task to keep a three- and four-year-old entertained while we somehow managed to also complete our full time jobs.
I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been hard. The first couple weeks I felt like my world was completely turned upside down. My girls got to sleep in, and would wake up and say, “Another stay home day, mommy??!!” We had to explain to them that some things were closed for right now so mommy and daddy had to work at home.
They would come to my desk and say, “Mommy can you play this with me? Mommy, can you read this to me?” I am constantly trying to find that perfect balance for screen time, so it was really difficult for me to tell them no, while I sat and stared at my computer screen. I was so overwhelmed. I could see the confusion on their faces. Why are we at home and not at daycare with our friends all day? Why are you and daddy home, but you can’t play with us? I realized then that my husband and I weren’t the only ones adjusting to this new normal; they were having to do a lot of adjusting, too.
See, my kids aren’t old enough to do a Zoom meeting with their class; they can barely hold the phone right when we FaceTime their grandparents. They aren’t following an online curriculum, and they aren’t old enough to play outside unattended. I had to shift my focus to understand that I GET to stay home with my family instead of I HAVE to. Instead of getting annoyed that they want help with a puzzle, I find the time to send my email, and sit down for a puzzle party. I make my lunch and eat it while I push them on the swing set. My husband and I have had to start coordinating our schedules so that we can have shifts with the kids. And guess what? It’s working.
I am getting a front row seat to their childhood. I am making their lunches and getting to lay them down for nap. We don’t have a colorful schedule to go by and they are probably getting too much screen time, but we are spending more time as a family than we might ever get to, and it’s not something I am taking for granted.
We have all been reading about the heroes of Covid-19. The nurses and the essential workers, which they most definitely are. I also think our kids have been heroes through this transition too. They are resilient and so much is changing for them too. I don’t know how many “stay home days” we have left, but I am going to choose to say no a little less. I am going to communicate better. I am going to use this as an opportunity to teach them that when mommy is at her computer working, she is helping people buy houses and daddy is helping people find jobs. I am going to teach them that we can come out better by adapting to tough situations.