I am creating an online journal during the Coronavirus social distancing so I can look back and remember how my thoughts and actions might change during this time. This is Day 13.
Thursday, March 26
Life has changed dramatically in the past 13 days.
Many of us are now working from home. Our children and college students are trying to figure out “e-learning.” We don’t go to anyone’s house, and no one outside our immediate family comes in ours. Our kids don’t have sports practice or youth group or even their jobs to go to. We are all home all day, every day.
As we all face this major disruption in the way we are accustomed to doing things, we have a tendency to try to find a way to virtually do all of the things we used to do. Moms are stressing out about helping their kids complete their school work. Churches are finding creative ways to provide all of the programs they did before — only virtually. Gyms are sharing their work-out classes via Zoom.
The responses are creative and amazing. In fact, a lot of this is really good stuff!
But as I watch all of these things happening, I fear that I will fall back into the same frantic way of life from which I’ve been granted a reprieve. In some ways, it’s even worse. Now, as a working mom, I feel the pressure to learn how to be an amazing educator on top of all of my other daily tasks.
Our daughter is stressed that she will fall so far behind in her gymnastics training that she won’t be able to perform at the same skill level as before. We’re now getting invited to jump into a Zoom meeting for every possible thing, from youth group hangouts to gymnastics team stretching to social gatherings.
I even feel bad that I haven’t participated in the neighborhood challenge to post smiley faces or shamrocks or rainbows in my windows. Heck, it’s been so rainy, I haven’t even had time to write encouraging sayings with chalk on my sidewalk.
But you know what? It’s OK.
I’m totally fine if my kids don’t receive the same level of education they would have if they were still going to school. I’m OK if we fall behind in our social connections or if the kids don’t keep up with their usual workouts. I can join a virtual yoga class or my online Bible study if it feels like something that will bring a healthy rhythm to my day. But it’s also OK if I don’t do it all.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic. I’ve never experienced anything even close to this in my lifetime. I’m not going to put pressure on myself to do all the things I used to do (just in a new way).
When we look back at this time many years from now, I don’t think any of us will remember that our kids fell behind by two months in school. We are facing a worldwide crisis. Fractions and geometry can wait. I guarantee they will still be there when we get back.
If we were in the middle of a war or natural disaster, I don’t think we would be stressed about being the best home educators or creating the most exciting science projects for our kids. I’m giving myself permission to let things slide, even though I’m not personally on the front line of fighting this worldwide epidemic.
However, there are a few things that I DO want to make sure I do during this time.
I want to spend more time reflecting on life’s purpose. I have more time than ever to pray and study God’s word and to truly ponder the meaning of life. I don’t want to let this time slip by without doing those things.
I do want to have meaningful conversations with my family. These endless hours indoors can feel like a trap. We can get on each other’s nerves or look for ways to escape. But with all of the bonus minutes we get to be together, I want to make sure we have at least some time each day talking about things that really matter.
I want to grow in my relationships with my spouse and kids. I want to make sure we stop and spend time in the same room at least once a day. This sounds so basic, but it’s tempting for all of us to retreat to our private spaces and suck up the time on our phones. I want to make sure that when life goes back to normal, we can look back and have memories of our time together.
I do want to make healthy choices. It can feel like a huge chore to feed all six of us three meals a day. But I also have more time to cook good food with nutritional value. We are all under a heightened level of stress and anxiety that will drive us to consume junk food. I want to try my best to choose to be healthy.
I do want to exercise everyday. I have more time than ever to go for walks or workout. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to improve my physical health. It’s amazing that we can join others to do these things online, but I’m also OK to do this while enjoying nature and reflecting on my own thoughts.
Like a lot of people I know, I have a list of decluttering projects, rooms to paint and home improvement tasks that I would also like to complete. But as I read the news each day and hear about more people in my own community who are getting sick, I want to be sure that I focus on what’s most important.
It’s starting to sink in that the next person in the news who is suffering from the virus could be someone we know. It could be one of us. I’m not worried or afraid, but it is a good reminder for me to stay focused on what really matters during this time.
And that it’s OK if I don’t do all of the other things…
What about you? What are your priorities right now while you are at home?
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