Remember the classic 80s arcade game Frogger, where you had to direct frogs to their homes one by one by crossing a busy street?
That’s what my morning run has turned into, a freaking game of Frogger.
Thanks to the rules of social distancing, which no one can seem to agree on, everyone is trying to avoid everyone else.
Some of my neighbors are trying to keep a 6 foot clearance. Others 27 feet. Some are wearing masks. Others just hold their breath anytime someone comes near them.
Holding their breath, while running, in Texas, where we hit 90 degrees last week. That can’t be good.
Thankfully, my morning run has not been taken away (yet) in our government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And thank heavens, my family is healthy and my job (and my husband’s) are secure.
But a lot of stuff has been taken away. Sports and activities for the kids. Gym workouts. The ability to wonder the aisles of Target without wearing a hazmat suit.
There’s nothing like a pandemic to get you thinking about what really is (and isn’t) important.
When we were ordered to “shelter in place,” my first thought was I will have all this free time to tackle the stuff on my to-do list I never get around to. Free of the chains of carpool and kids activities, I will get so much done.
3 weeks later (yes, my fellow Texans it’s only been 3 weeks), that stuff is still on my to-do list.
Why? Deep down I really don’t want to make a serious dent on the laundry pile or cook meals for my family that require more than 3 ingredients. If we’re being really honest, cooking in general.
When will all this COVID-19 chaos end? Wish I knew, but I’ve already started to think about how I want my work and life to change on the other side.
Which pre-COVID-19 activities and ways of doing things will I bring back post-COVID-19? Which ones will be gone like paper products on a supermarket shelf?
Work: where I work
In my pre-COVID-19 life, I worked from my home office. And the local coffee shop. And the library. And any other place with a good internet connection.
In other words, I don’t have leased office space.
For the past 3 weeks, and no, I can’t believe it’s only been 3 weeks either, I’ve been forced to work only at home.
There are distractions. Managing the kids’ e-learning. Sharing my office with my husband (and his booming conference call voice).
And interruptions. Lots and lots of interruptions.
Squabbling sisters. A dog that barks at everyone who walks by our house, which is a lot of people now that everyone is stuck at home. A 6 year-old who insists on sitting inches away from me when she’s watching a movie and can’t keep headphones on to save her life.
So what have learned from this experience?
I don’t work from home all the time because there are days when the house is just too distracting. Even when I’m alone. Dirty dishes stacked in the kitchen sink. The barking dog. Junk drawers to be organized (my go-to move when I’m trying to avoid work).
I like having somewhere else to work. I need to have somewhere else to work.
So my post-COVID-19 work change is I’m going to find a better out-of-the-house place to work whenever the house is just too distracting. Maybe a co-working space (which are still open). Or sublease space from a friend. I’ll figure it out.
Life: how much I spend on my up-keep
What’s the first thing you are going to do when businesses open up again?
For me, the answer is easy. I’m going to get my hair down before my head starts resembling Pepé Le Pew.
When the bars and restaurants closed, no big deal, I’ll just eat (and drink) at home. When the gyms closed, I moved my workouts outside.
When the salons closed, I completely melted down.
Yes, I know my situation could be far worse, but the salons closing was my breaking point.
Full confession, I may spend a little too much on my hair and makeup. Correction, too much for someone whose days are spent at home and chauffeuring kids around town.
It’s not a guilty pleasure, it’s a sanity saver.
While I love being a mom, I need to remind myself that’s not all I am. I’m also a smart, attractive woman who has a life that doesn’t involve wiping noses and washing dishes. A small life, but a life nonetheless.
So will I be posting photos of myself on Instagram #rootwatch? Heck now.
Will I continue to make my appearance a priority post-COVID-19? You can bet your stockpile of toilet paper and hand sanitizer on it.
Parenting: kid activities
A couple of observations I’ve made during my 3 weeks locked up round-the-clock with my offspring.
(yes, it’s only been 3 weeks)
My caffeine consumption has gone way down in the afternoons because I’m no longer stuck in the car for hours on end picking up and dropping off my kids at their various activities.
And the real kicker? My girls have interests that have absolutely nothing to do with those activities. Activities that are expensive, both in terms of money and time spent chauffeuring them.
All 4 of them apparently love to draw and sketch. They’ve turned our dining room into an art studio, spending hours at the table churning out masterpieces. Like this is how they are spending a good chunk of their days.
And not a single one of them is signed up for an art class.
My dancer? Refuses to participate in the ZOOM classes offered by her studio. My golfer? Hasn’t swung a club since this all started (and we live on a golf course that is still open). My basketball player? Hasn’t gone near our home court.
Post this COVID-19 chaos, I’m going to dedicate a couple of after-school afternoons to family art class. Instead of driving all over town, we’re just going to come home, get out the good paper and fancy markers, and create.
What lessons have you learned during quarantine? How will your work and life change when businesses open back up? Leave a comment or send me an email.
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Copyright © 2020 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick. All Rights Reserved.Tags: Coronavirus