Three weeks ago, I was a naysayer. All of this is going to pass, I thought, and I even went so far as to tell my wife to please stop providing me with daily updates about COVID-19. When she began double buying on her Target runs, I snickered to myself.
But then the incident rates of the disease began to spike and hit closer to home. The very company I work for instructed corporate office employees to work from their homes for the rest of March as two people had been exposed. We field-based employees—the would-be modern day Typhoid Mary’s with the way we travel—were “grounded” in the process.
And then came the closure of our city’s public schools. Spring Break just came a whole lot sooner and was lengthened by five weeks.
Cabo here we come!
So what to make of this un-sabbatical? This for-our-own-good hunkering-down, especially for families that rely on museums, movies, and public places for stimulation and a bit of parental relief?
A few ideas…
1. Attitude, attitude, attitude
As mentioned previously, I wasn’t on board with the gravity of the situation whereas my wife was. Once I had my epiphany, things began to fall into place. Alignment with your partner is key. As for with the rest of the family, embrace the change. Set the mood. Extra Lego playtime and more movie nights?? Yes!
2. Routines Rule
By creating a daily activity chart, we’ve built in some regularity around that never-ending Sunday feeling. Breakfast, TV, walk, bike ride, chores, reading, snack… you get the idea.
3. Explore the mundane
Do you ever put toys away then bring them out months later only to watch your kids light up as though they just received them? That’s what this time is all about. Get out the old toys, explore the attic, play the board games you never play. Give new life to the otherwise forgotten.
4. Create time and space
You’re going to need this, mis amigos. When we think of timeouts, we think punishment for bad behavior. Flip this immediately and make it a reward, even for mom and dad. Be unapologetic in your need for quiet time and space. My wife and I have worked out a “tag out” process whereby we give each other respite while the other parent retreats. BTW, I just found a new spot: the space behind the rocking chair in our bedroom. Shhh!!
5. Go somewhere.
You won’t die just by walking outside. In fact, do that. Go outside. Stretch out the bike ride. Go to open space parks instead of playground parks. Revive the Sunday scenic drive or go million-dollar home shopping. Oh, and remember, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has a drive-thru.