I write this in week eight of the stay at home mandate. We’ve all had a different quarantine experience, and wanted to share our stories so that you know… You’re not alone… Yes, this is hard… And we’re in this together, even though we may physically be a part.
Work and Homeschooling
The Good: I already had a work from home job, so the transition was seamless. The charter school my kids attend made a remarkably fast transition to continue curriculum in virtual learning.
The Bad: Being a teacher’s aid and technical support while I’m trying to juggle my day job is a lot of added stress. There have been missteps with the mute button while on work Zoom calls, which is unfortunate, but what can you expect?!
The Ugly: I let my 5th grader take ownership of the transition to virtual school. After all of his grades dropped to D’s and F’s (we’re at a charter school), I learned I have to get in and helicopter the crap out of his schoolwork. It has also been a constant battle to manage his screentime and access to technology while I work at my job!
The Beautiful: All of my coworkers and clients are in the same situation, so suddenly having kids at home is the norm, and people are much more understanding. That is truly a beautiful thing.
The Good: I had always wished for more time with my kids. Well, I got it. It’s definitely a change for me not to be driving all around town trying to keep up with two kids’ activities and carpools! The kids are much more amenable to family walks or hikes now that it’s their only opportunity to get out of the house.
The Bad: I don’t think we’re alone in this, but our tempers can flare quickly. I think it’s the undercurrent of how much has changed and how much is uncertain, but simple issues can blow up into fights at a moment’s notice. I’m also 100% over cooking dinner every freaking night. I use the excuse of supporting local businesses to get me out of that responsibility a few times a week!
The Ugly: I was joking at one point how dogs were the winners of this pandemic, as everyone was out walking their dogs. Our dog was getting lavished in attention and was walked at least four times a day. It was beautiful. Until it wasn’t. Our precious Ella Bella had been battling kidney disease for a year and a half. The pandemic caused a delay in the shipment of her prescription food, and when I tried to offer her other food, it sent her into a tailspin of kidney failure. We went from having her frolic in the snow one day to getting a terminal diagnosis from the vet and putting her to sleep two days later. I know people have lost their family members due to COVID-19, so I try to keep this all in perspective. But losing my fur-baby at a time when we’re all quarantined at home and without much to distract us from that gaping hole in our hearts really gutted me. I had been holding it all together up until the moment I had to hold my dog as she took her last breath. I went into a tailspin of depression. I definitely sank into that hole of despair cursing this damn pandemic for trying to take away so many things that I love, and succeeding indirectly with this one thing I cherished.
I decided it was the perfect time for a puppy. I really felt the way to heal all of our hearts was to give love to another dog. Unfortunately, it turned out that puppies are as popular as toilet paper during a pandemic, and I soon found that finding any dog — a puppy, an adult, a foster, a rescue, a purebred — was ridiculously competitive and challenging. This definitely did not help with the depression.
The Beautiful: I had all but given up on getting a puppy any time soon. But I did one last search for my dream dog… And found a search result saying there was a litter 10 miles from my house. SAY WHAT?! I called immediately, and found it was a local breeder I had heard about for years, but didn’t have enough details to track him down. My family was the first to show up to look at the puppies and were able to have our pick of the litter. We brought him home a week later. This cuddly, wiggly, affectionate little boy, Bodie Joe, has been healing our hearts one puppy kiss at a time. We still miss our Ella Bella, but getting a puppy was truly what we needed at this point in time. It felt like a bit of divine intervention from above to bring this boy into our lives at the right time. Now, we are staying at home with a puppy who also has to stay at home until his vaccines are complete in 6 weeks. It makes the stay at home mandate much more tolerable! Did he add chaos to our life? Most definitely. But it’s a chaos I embrace!
A Note About Mental Health
Mental health has been something I’ve needed to work at and prioritize during this pandemic. I have been doing daily yoga sessions with Yoga Pod, connecting with my yogi community and my breath. Getting one hour a day dedicated to my mental and physical health and the teachings of my yoga instructors (Angie Fraley, I’m talking about YOU and your amazing team of yogis) have been an absolute lifeline. So have the telehealth sessions with a local family counselor, who has helped us navigate these uncharted waters. These are challenging times — I encourage you to determine what you need to maintain your mental health and make sure you get yourself what you need.
That’s the Cliff Notes version of what my life has been like over the past two months. It has been a roller coaster of emotions, but I am committed to making the most of this extra time at home with my family. I am so thankful that as of now, my extended family and friends have stayed healthy and that the biggest challenge we’ve dealt with was the loss of a pet. I’m seriously low on toilet paper because I thought all of you stocking up on toilet paper were ridiculous… But now I’m wondering HOW DID YOU KNOW?! The installation of two bidet toilet seats has helped us get through the great toilet paper shortage (that is remarkably still persisting)!
We want to hear from you… What has been The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Beautiful in your life during this historic time?