I’ve been avoiding this topic for a few weeks now. But since it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon and the ripple effects are certainly here, I won’t avoid it any longer. THE CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19). There, I said it. It’s out in the open. Now, let’s talk about what’s bugging us.
Last week I addressed the fear that comes with the uncertainty this virus has brought to all of us. This week I want to spend some time and talk about where we are and how we can manage in this moment.
The truth is, things have, are and will continue to change for all of us. Life as we know it a month ago, is starkly different. It changed without warning, and for many of us, it didn’t give us any time to prepare. If companies haven’t shut down, they’ve drastically reduced business hours and thus, tremendously impacting the ability of people to provide for their families. To add further complications, many US schools (and others around the world), have closed down for the next few months. Forcing parents to get a crash course in teaching their kids. And while for some, home-schooling is a way of life by choice, for the lot of us, the patience, organization and stamina to keep up with 2 or more young children, while adjusting to our new office spaces or the anxiety of not knowing when we’ll be able to return to work to provide for our families is more than we can mentally and emotionally manage.
This moment that we find ourselves in could very well become the inevitable “STRAW” that broke that poor camels back. There is a lot riding on this moment that we are in. The strength of our relationships, marriages, and capacity to be and continue to be good parents, it’s all riding on this moment. While I don’t have all the answers…or even a few answers, I do have hope. And as I’ve seen across this beautiful planet we live in, hope is NOT in short supply. So, I’d like to use this post to talk about the hope we have for the tomorrow we are waiting for. I also want to attempt to help find some strategy in managing this moment as we look forward.
As I write this post, the song “A Whole New World” from the Disney movie Aladdin lingers in the back of my mind. Just the few mentions I’ve listed prior, proves that everything is different now and our world has changed. As a result, we all need to rethink how we move forward. Let’s start with the closest thing to us…home. Right now, home probably feels so chaotic and completely out of whack. Especially with closures on both the school and the work fronts. The truth is it’s just challenging. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. A friend of mine has been sharing some of her family’s moments via social media. What I’ve noticed is in the midst of all of this, staying somewhat organized and flexible is key. While it’s important to make sure kids continue with their daily lessons… they are dealing with cabin fever just like you are. So, giving them space to be kids, to get messy, to run and jump or play video games is important. Figure out how you can build time in their day to allow them to “feel” and “express” whatever they need to (safely and respectfully of course). While creating some healthy boundaries around those activities will benefit both parents and children, it will also provide some ease in providing structure in an already hectic situation.
Planning how to execute lesson plans and daily schedules should be a family affair. Allow the kids to be involved and trust your kids to have valuable input. Keep in mind that they more than likely are just as unhappy about being home from school as you are. They are missing their friends, recess and classroom activities. Consider asking them what they love about a certain subject or lesson, what they enjoy about a class and if those things can be recreated at home. If there is something they are looking forward to during their regular school day, inserting those moments into their new normal could be valuable for their understanding and helpful for your sanity. While I highly recommend (in every situation), to plan and be as organized as possible. This may require some leniency and your organization should only go as far as the kids (and you) are able to endure. Don’t make things any more uncomfortable than they need to be. Remember my words..PACE YOURSELF!
In addition to a glass of wine or a great cup of tea (I’m in love with Lemon Ginger Probiotic tea by Bigelow btw ... and any Rosé will do), making sure that you are taking care of you during this time is critical. While you are homeschooling, cooking, cleaning and doing all the normal mom (or dad duties), if your company sent you home to work, you’re also adjusting and trying to balance your new kitchen table office and the living room classroom (or vice versa). I’ve been working from home for almost 15yrs. And when I first started, I didn’t do a great job. My kids would burst into my office yelling, crying or fighting about everything from the television to pop-tarts. There is a delicate balance of how to yell at your kids during a conference call so you don’t come off as a crazy, frazzled parent who can’t seem to manage their responsibilities. But, you need to cut yourself some slack if, on the rare occasion that you forget to hit “mute” and your virtual co-workers here you say “turn off the d*** T.V and GO TO YOUR ROOM!” Trust me when I tell you that you won’t be the first OR last person to do it. If it makes you feel better, it will probably break up the monotony of a boring conference call that should have been an email anyway 😊.
But again, cut yourself some slack. We are all trying to adjust and we’re doing it together. So, a few slip ups here and there won’t reveal your kryptonite. You’re still a super-hero in my book!!
I promise to leave you with a field guide to working from home in a couple of days.
The other thing that will most assuredly help you during this time is to take a break. Just STOP doing everything. Get out and take a walk, if you’re allowed to leave your home. If not, open a window, watch old home movies, have a burping contest, make a mud-pie, bake something, come up with creative toilet paper substitutions (call me if they work)… but STOP doing everything that you think you should, and do something fun. There is so much stress occurring around us and within us, that laughter is essential medicine. Make up games to play to pass the time…see who can stand on one leg while NOT laughing at corny dad jokes lol. I would lose, I laugh at most things.
Listen … I know it may feel like the walls are closing in…but they won’t. Even with all of this loss, tragedy, stress and trouble. They won’t. I say that not in some closed-minded sense of positive air or cluelessness. I say that because I’ve seen the bottom (or the bottom at a point in time), and I thought that would break me. I thought those walls would crush me. But they didn’t. I survived. I imagine that this moment, while a horribly difficult moment for you, isn’t the first time you’ve been in a fight. These aren’t the first walls that have tried to close in on you. But if you’re reading, guess what? Just like me…you pushed the hell out of those walls and gave a good ole’ “not-ta-day baby”!!
And just like that…you fought and won. This is hope! Hope is remembering the last fight you fought. Knowing that it almost took you out, but at count 5, you found yourself climbing back up. By the time the ref got to count 8, you were hurt, but not stunned; ready to get back in there and let those walls know who’s house this is … “MY HOUSE!!” and to that I say…SAY IT WIT CHA CHEST!! (in my Kevin Hart voice).
This is hope!
Hope looks at your kids fighting in the corner over the remote control and realizes, I’m not breaking it up.
Worse case, they will get tired, retreat to their ends of the sofa and start reading a book.
That is hope 😊.
I’ll say it until you believe it. This will pass. Everything does. It was different then; it is different now and I promise it will be different later. Hope knows that change is constant. And because it’s constant, hope knows that change is coming. You’ve got this.
This is still career advice. This is still me guiding you to your next opportunity. This is also me reminding you the path changes based on the terrain. Trust me…we’re still on the same journey.
These are absolutely my thoughts … ratedpg.