2020 has been crazy hasn’t it? Due to this world wide pandemic we are all dealing with, I have been practicing social distancing at home with my family since mid-March and at first, I didn’t think I would survive it. I like going out, shopping, exploring our city, and spending time with friends. My work is social and I chat with students and coworkers all day. How was I going to just stay home?
The first couple weeks was a struggle. Matt, Zoe and I were learning how to live, work and learn together. We hadn’t spent this much time with each other since Zoe was in the NICU. Zoe and I were in a constant power struggle. I wanted her day to be structured with educational games and activities, time to play outside, and exercise. She wanted to stay inside and play with her toys, watch TV and refused to do anything I suggested.
Add in the fact that Matt and I were both still working, there were meltdowns, and it wasn’t Zoe having them. I spent afternoons in tears. Why wouldn’t she just do what I wanted? Why was this so difficult? And why was I a horrible mom?
As time went on, I was sick of this feeling. I decided it was time to follow her lead- I mean, her life changed in an instant as well. So what? she didn’t want to do preschool online, I wouldn’t either. We found alternative ways for her to learn while still having fun.
We used an iPad app to practice her alphabet and literacy skills, and we had lots of play time. We still struggled getting her out of the house, probably because we talked a lot about germs and there were so many more rules that came along with just going outside. She was nervous. She, like all the other kids out there, loves to touch everything. Anything dirty, gross, slimy she touches. So now that she can’t even touch the button in the elevator, why would she want to leave the safety of our home? This took time. Matt and I needed to change our approach, and we needed to stop projecting our anxieties on her. I mean, hand sanitizer is there for a reason right?
As things started to calm down and we began working better as a team we started having more fun. As a family we started walking the local trails and riding bikes. I downloaded an app with different workout routines and have been using it daily since we’ve been home. I finally made myself and my health a priority and with that I am happier, calmer, and okay staying home. Taking care of my health and wellbeing made me a better mom. Our lives, although drastically different than they were before the pandemic have actually improved.
We enjoy the time we are spending together. When we are looking for something to do, we don’t automatically end up at the mall shopping for things we don’t need. We head to a park, trail or beach and spend quality time together being active. Zoe has found a love for the beach. She loves digging and building and splashing in the water. The beach for her is a safe place. It doesn’t matter what she touches or how dirty she gets, she can just have fun.
Our family is lucky. Matt and I maintained our employment and were never worried about where we would live or if there was enough food. We are privileged and I know our experience hasn’t been the same for everyone.
Outside of our little bubble, I have been so impressed with the sense of community that has formed, or really shown itself because of this pandemic. There are Facebook groups that exist solely to help people in need. Friends and family are stepping up to help their loved ones who may not be able to leave their house for fear of getting sick. People are practicing random acts of kindness and delivering anonymous gifts to friends or strangers just to make their day a little brighter. Every night at 7pm our neighbourhood explodes with drums, cheers, kids banging pots and pans and car horns to thank the frontline workers. It’s so amazing to see that through this pandemic people are coming together and I hope it stays this way.
With our province slowly reopening, I am so excited to be able to visit and hug my dad, spend time with my bestie and her new baby and begin to have some sense of normalcy. At the same time, I hope that our family is able to maintain the positive changes we have made in our lives and that we don’t go back to our old routines. And I hope that as a community we continue to work together to help each other when it’s needed.