Quarantine—a word I never thought I’d use this often. The term originates from seventeenth century Italian, meaning forty days. Well Noah, it’s been a lot more than forty.
For some, it’s been a boring few months. I hear complaints of the lack of new television shows or evening social activities. Others have found it exhausting, like moms of small children or ones working from home. Yet, most have consented to a different way of life.
Although we’re making the best of it, it’s still very different than the normal day to day routine. I have friends who are thrilled they don’t have to be the chauffeurs they’ve become, traveling from one school to the other, then errands, back to school, off to dance, then baseball, and others who are just itching to get back to the gym for their own sanity.
Still, most can’t get anything accomplished because of kids being in their faces at every moment of the day. Whether it’s working from home or just trying to have their moment on the toilet, their kids are ALWAYS there.
As mom to a six-year-old, homeschooling has been tough. A mistake as simple as pressing the caps lock key can result in a 20-minute meltdown, and a zoom call without the appropriate virtual background can be the end of the world-- Disney for a class party, the Statue of Liberty for history, even the wailing wall for Sunday school.
My 10-year-old is quite content. He’s like a newscaster without pants, or channeling his inner John Krasinski the way he lives in pajamas, even when on zoom calls with his class.
Yes, he’s spending way too much time playing Fortnite and speaks a gaming language I refuse to learn, but I justify it because at least he’s interacting with his friends, which is more than I can say for most of us.
Many of my friends have gotten a laugh out of my “Running late is my cardio” gym shirt. In the past few months, I have actually reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to be anywhere. No hurrying up, no double booking and no running late.
After the miserable events of this year, I appreciated the extra family time. Not having to run the children around to various activities and having extra time to relax, or at least to just be. Because as every mom knows, there is never any time to truly relax.
I’ve learned to enjoy the small things-- those moments to myself without the whining or constant demands from my kids. I discovered I really like baths, which became a great time to play a few rounds of online mahjongg on my phone.
I’ve also become more of a morning person. Now that my family is on a different schedule – if you can even call it a schedule. It’s the only quiet time, before the house is awake, when I can go at my own pace.
I appreciate having my first cup of coffee and going for a walk before the chaos begins. Most of the time, I meet up with my good friend, Sarah. It gives us both a chance to escape our houses for a little bit, vent about the previous day’s events, and talk about how we’re attempting to survive the pandemic.
There are actually a ton of fitness fiends in our neighborhood—walking, jogging, biking, exercising in one fashion or another. I’ve met other moms, children the same age as mine, neighbors I would have never known since our paths may not have crossed otherwise. With school ending, I’m not sure what the summer will bring. Our new normal will change yet again, as there won’t be any schoolwork and sleep-away camp is not an option.
But it really hasn’t been that bad. In fact, I’m choosing to believe the less than ideal situation we are in has done some good. People are taking the time to slow down and avoid that constant sense of urgency-- Most days, I don’t even wear a watch. Instead of running from activity to activity, children are just playing for hours on end. People are getting outside to exercise, shifting from their normal routines and neighbors are meeting neighbors, and it’s all because of one word—quarantine.