Surviving Lockdown: Things I Don’t Want to Forget

So far, self isolation feels like maternity leave with more sleep. Limited interaction with the outside world, a ton of togetherness, a lot of projects we keep thinking we will get to and don’t, and our house is trashed. OK, not trashed but we aren’t picking up as much as we normally do.

My dear friend Whitney just started a blog. The family went from around 2,000 square feet to under 1,000 with 2 parents, 2 kids, 2 big dogs and a cat. YEP! Their house is darling and so cozy and I love reading about her/ their adjustment to living more with less. It’s extra fascinating to see how they are handling these close quarters during a pandemic forced quarantine. Check it out for yourself – www.TheSweetLittleCottage.com

I’m especially loving how real and raw Whitney is with her writing about this time. While reading her latest entry, I realized I wished was doing the same so I could document this moment in history. OK… why not just do instead of just wish? There’s a lot of things I truly do not want to forget about this time.

How we are doing

We’re fine. Honestly. I’m not just saying that so I’ll believe it (I don’t think…) but our normal is not that different right now. We stay home a lot with our strange work schedules and don’t go out to eat often beyond coffee shops. River misses her friends at school, but she hadn’t been in preschool very long (just a couple of months) and only for a few hours 3 days a week so it wasn’t a complete shock. She’s cried twice in 2 weeks now about missing certain friends, but she seems to truly comprehend why we are keeping distance from people. We are extra grateful for our sweet little empath. Ramsey is living her best life with everyone home and her nap going as scheduled daily.

I did have a small panic attack at Walmart. Yep. I go to stores armed with a dust mask (that’s all we have), gloves (thanks cookie biz), Clorox wipes and handsanitizer. I set an alarm to go when everything first opens if I have to go in. When and if possible I order online and pick up so I don’t have to go through the store. So, the tiny panic attack. I wish I had written this the day it happened. I’m an extrovert and excessively empathetic. Behind my mask and gloves I could feel the anxiety steaming off of people in the store. Everyone has fear written all over their faces like pigs headed to slaughter. Person after person with wild eyes and oddly filled carts and it just got to me. My heart started racing and I wanted to run and cry. I checked out and texted Justin that I probably shouldn’t be allowed to shop for a while. I didn’t run. I didn’t cry. I took deep breaths, put my groceries in the car and got home to safety.

I’ve made fun of my “panic shopping” on Instagram and it’s probably not what people think. I’m just throwing things into my cart to get out of there as quickly as possible. Frantically racking my brain for what we “need” or could need soon. So… we’ve collected a lot of random crap. It’s fine. We will use it or give it away. I should start taking a list.

The biggest change for us: no travel. None of our relatives live nearby and many of our best friends are a flight away too. We were supposed to be visiting Justin’s mom on the beach this week. Cancelled. We were going to fly to see my family in Texas for Easter and my dad’s 70th birthday. Cancelled. It’s fine. We are staying put for the right reasons and we are at peace with it. If things you love are getting cancelled its totally acceptable to mourn these losses. I have friends cancelling weddings, first birthday parties, baby showers etc. It’s ok to not be ok in this time. Let it out, be sad, just don’t dwell and let it ruin all the good that is happening right now.

How work has changed

Justin is working from home on his reporting days. Sounds like a good thing – he’s home shooting interviews on FaceTime using a lot of my cookie recording and Instagram video gear. He used to give me grief for buying these things. HA! So he’s here, but not really available because he has to get his work done. I imagine this is a struggle for lots of families right now. But, sometimes Justin has to go live and a screaming toddler in the background isn’t ideal when you’re talking about people dying from a deadly disease sweeping the world.

Insurance is going awesome. Luckily, everyone needs insurance and could use lower rates not matter what’s happening in the world. E-mail me laura@nealins.com if you’re interested in a free quote.

Cookies… I’ve adapted. Lots of people are canceling the events they ordered cookies for. Understandable. Many are postponing events, some need their money back. Once again, understandable. I’ve been able to pivot making “Quarantine Survival Cookie Kits”. They’ve done very well and as long as people keep ordering them I’ll keep making them. I’ve also taken a few orders for medical hero cookies. Those are so fun to make. Thank you for your support!

News for me… as of right now I’m on the schedule for next week. I’ll let you know. I did work the first Monday of self quarantine and it went well. I was on morning show, took my own car, we sprayed down the mic. It was fine. Journalists are important people in this time. To keep people informed, tell stories of hope and of caution. We are writing history and I’m honored to be a part of that when I can.

How we are keeping busy

While everyone else was buying toilet paper I ran to the dollar store and a craft store to buy activities and to Home Depot to buy gardening supplies. The girls are helping with gardens and watering. Chalk, bubbles, splash pads. Anything Amazon will send me to keep these kids busy I’m adding to cart. This is a list of things we have loved: Favorite Toys. I’m constantly updating it as we get things we like.

Like I said, we spend a lot of time at home so I do have quite a few things on hand to keep the girls active. Invest in a good bubble machine. Keeps them busy without you having to work too hard. You’re welcome.

We’ve also implemented starting our day with yoga. Cosmic Kids on YouTube is an excellent source. A great game we’ve enjoyed is the yoga dice. Even Justin has gotten in on that one!

How we are slowing down

We are embracing the slow down. No where to go, no reason to rush. We aren’t setting wakeup alarms, I don’t have to yell at anyone to get dressed so we aren’t late somewhere. We do things at our natural slow pace and River is thriving. I’m losing my mind, but will rebound. Lunch doesn’t have to be at 11:45. Bedtime doesn’t have to be at 8. We can watch movies, eat snacks for meals, build blanket forts and make all the messes. Just writing this stresses me out some… but it’s good for me to let go a little. Like I said, River gets why we aren’t seeing friends or going to school. She knows we can take control of this pandemic by washing our hands, staying home and staying calm. I want her to remember this pandemic as when mommy and daddy were home a lot spending quality time with her doing crafts and having fun together. Not a time of fear.

How I’m staying calm

Sometimes, I’m not (see above panic attack). I’m following the advice I’m giving my children. Control what we can and enjoy the ride. What I can control: washing my hands, staying home as much as possible, my attitude. One day at a time. One week at a time. We’re praying for those who are sick, talk about what we are grateful for daily. We’re being creative, we’re being considerate, we’re being a family. How blessed are we to have a beautiful home to stay in? We can pay our bills, support our local restaurants, walk to fun places, sit on the porch to get a tiny bit of human interaction from afar. I drink way too much coffee (normal for me) and long for my bedtime wine (once again, not out of the ordinary).

What I feel guilty about

Not home schooling. I have all the tools sent from school I’m just not doing it yet. Everyday seems to pass so quickly already. I’ll get around to it and we are doing our own kinds of learning. It’s not like they are in high school and will screw up their chances of getting in college. Or maybe I am. We will find out in 12+ years. (After I typed this I printed out some of the stuff the sweet teachers sent…. maybe tomorrow.)

Being selfish with the projects I want to complete. Yep. Sometimes I walk away from my children and let them entertain themselves so I can do something I want to do. “Boredom breeds creativity.” Someone else said it, but we live it. And I need some selfish time somedays. But I do feel bad about not pouring into my kids every waking moment. Even though that’s not realistic.

Not doing enough. For my children. With this “free time”. For other people. For myself.

We’re eating too much sugar. I’m not working out. I’m probably (absolutely) drinking too much wine. Not drinking enough water. Spending too much money on crafts and PANIC PURCHASES.

We are doing the best we can

We are loving on each other. We are supporting local. We are communicating our emotions. We are laughing. We are eating healthy meals. We are playing outside. We are getting less screen time than normal. We are going on walks. We are STAYING HOME. We are keeping those we love out of danger. My kids haven’t been in my car since the last day of school. Winning.

Something beautiful is being planted in our lives. The seeds of togetherness, mindfulness. Memories. When again in life will we have time like this together?? We’re trying to enjoy it and be in it. We’ve got this.

No one is perfect. No one is doing everything “right” and I don’t know a right way to do it. You’re doing a great job. There’s no rule book for global pandemic shutdowns.

Yes, it’s scary out there. But it’s safe and beautiful in here.

Stay well, my friends. Love and miss you. See you soon.

Cheers!

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Surviving motherhood by abusing caffeine and sipping wine at bedtime. Crafty, snarky, and organized (ish) mom. You look lost, follow me.

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