Sometime in my hours and hours of scrolling this past week (oh, I do need to get off my phone) I scrolled across a recommendation to document this time. We are living in through a historical moment in the world, and so it is worthwhile to take some time to document your days, and also your thoughts and feelings.
I love that idea, and have encouraged my big kids to keep their own quarantine journals. And what’s blogging for if not a place for photos, memories, and feelings — to connect people who are apart. Especially in this historical time.
As a stay-at-home mom, I’m tempted to say that my days actually haven’t changed much. Spending long hours at home with my kids is kind of my thing. But if I say that my days haven’t changed, I am disregarding the reality that I cannot take my kids to a playground, invite a friend over, visit the library, wander the aisles of Target, or do any of the many, many, many things that I have always done. We’ve been marooned at home before (after long sicknesses, especially) but this is different because the end date is so uncertain.
It also disregards the fact that I am parenting with new, heavy anxiety.
I wish I hadn’t spent so much time staring at my phone this week. I’m reading articles, listening to podcasts, and texting friends. So far this new, invisible threat has manifested in my life in the form of anxiety, distraction, and dread.
I have to admit that I feel incredibly anxious and sad, and my life hasn’t even been touched by the actual virus.
The current news makes me anxious and the projections for the months to come make me sad. There are too many facets to unpack here, except to say that those are the places from which I am moving through my day — making lunch and changing diapers — are anxiety and sadness.
Next week I’m going to start to be smarter about my news intake, and starting each day with a Psalm to remind me of the truth. God’s truth does not change, and His promises never fail.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
– Psalm 46:10
We started this week by making leprechaun traps. We have never ever done this, or any other St. Patrick’s Day celebrations because their teachers always make the holiday fun. Since the kids aren’t in school I rallied and I COULD NOT BELIEVE how excited the kids were, especially my 8-year-old who no longer believes in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. He ran into our room in the morning to tell us what the leprechauns left, and Tom looked at me, incredulous, “Does David believe in leprechauns?”
Hm. I guess he does?
We spent an incredible amount of time around this fire pit. So much that it inspired Tom to build a permanent, hardscape fire pit this weekend. There is an inexhaustible amount of leaves and sticks to burn in our yard. It’s amazing what piles up when you don’t do yard work for four years. And don’t worry, we were safe the whole time — Thomas was in charge.
Every day we’ve done the recommended worksheets and review the teachers sent home, but nothing more. I’m not homeschooling the kids because I know it would add unnecessary stress to me and subsequent unnecessary stress on them. We do maybe 20 minutes of work and then I throw the kids outside. They whine and complain and I give chores if they come inside. (Mama needs to stress-read COVID-19 articles in peace, kids!)
It took a few days for me to realize that we’re in this for the long-haul, and we need to find our new rhythms. The kids are just as unmoored as I am; even though they don’t really understand what’s going on, their schedules and structure have been upended.
This week was exhausting, but I think it’ll get better as we all find our footing.
After I took those pictures of the big kids on the swings, Anna started saying, “ME! ME! ME!” I turned around and she was standing there, smiling and posing for a picture.
Ever wonder what happens if you leave cloud dough outside and it rains? It transforms into disgusting sludge.Mary loved it. She’s made it into cake, pies, and lots of other disgusting things in her pretend bakery.
Lunch in the playhouse! With lemonade! I’m looking for teeny ways to make each day fun and special. Sugar is my go-to.
David filled this wagon with dirt and then ran around looking for all of our construction trucks. I watched him and thought, “This reminds me of when he was little and did the exact same thing.”
After he and Thomas played for a while he said, “Mom do you remember when you did this for me? That’s what I was trying to make for Thomas.”
(I’m pretty sure he’s thinking of thses pictures.)
A little doodle time with Mo Willems.
A good indicator of a day spent outside.
Mary took this picture. I call it, “Portrait of a mother explaining social distancing to her two-year-old.”
I brought the Easter decorations and the kids organized an Easter egg hunt in the backyard. Mary mandated the bunny ears.
I have been so, so, so thankful for this warm weather. My entire week is dedicated to our swing set and the hose.
I love, LOVE watching Mary enjoy the sprinklers. If you’ve known Mary for a while you know that she spent the first few years of her life hating water. It’s crazy, when your kids are little and in the middle of a phase it seems impossible that they’ll change and grow, but they always do.
And this combination: the sprinkler AND the hose.
Anna didn’t really like the sprinklers, she was happy to watch disapprovingly from a distance (just like her sister used to). But when the hose was off, the resulting puddle was much more her speed. (After I took these pictures she fell into the puddle and she was so sad that I had to bundle her up in a towel and call it a day.)
From my run on Saturday. I cried a lot on my run; running always brings my emotions to the surface. It’s undeniable that the efforts to bring people together and spread love and joy during this time are beautiful.
On to week two.
Tell me, how are you coping in this strange time?