It’s been well over a week since we’ve been asked to self quarantine, and like the rest of you it’s been a struggle in our household. My 4-year old keeps asking me, “How much longer will everything be boring?” and I really don’t have a good answer for her. Her complaints and woes are legitimate, I’m frustrated and bored too. As much as I’d love to sit and binge watch some Netflix or take on a new hobby, I have small children who are stuck in this with me who need me to be attentive and take care of them. So we struggle on while my 4-year old laments about how she misses her school, her friends, and the library.
We do have some fun in this house, I try my best to create some clever activities and games. We try new puzzles, cook new recipes, we tackle a few fun home workout videos. If you need help coming up with ideas for things to do inside check out this helpful resource. It’s not all bad, but these are things we are doing to get by–they aren’t our family’s first choice for how we’d like to spend a beautiful spring day.
The obvious thing we are lacking right now is our friends. She knows it and I know it as we try to find ways to stay entertained. But the struggle to get through the day without seeing any of our friends is really hard on our household.
I am a raging extrovert. If you’ve had the privilege of meeting me in person you know that I can carry on a conversation longer than you planned for. I love to be with people, I love to meet new people, and I’m really good at putting myself out there in social situations. As an extroverted stay-at-home mom, I’m all about getting together for play dates or meeting at the park. I’ll come to your house or have you over at mine. I work really hard to keep my social life active.
But suddenly everything has come to stop. Our daily rhythm is thrown off. My oldest isn’t at school, she can’t see her friends. Play dates are postponed indefinitely, we can’t have anyone over to play with. Dad is here “at home” but not available, he needs to work by himself downstairs. We don’t go to the library, to swim class, to church, or out for coffee anymore. These are strange times.
The first few days of the quarantine I thought I would be okay. I have activities galore, I’m a pro at coming up with games and things to do. But with each passing day the weight of having lost social contact from my friends has become increasingly heavy. Everything is heavy. My head is fogged up and I need to clear my thoughts and unload which, as an extrovert, is something I do by going out and seeing friends and talking to people. Socializing is how I get my breath of fresh air so I can take the weight off my shoulders a bit and clear my head. Without that the load keeps getting heavier, my thoughts keep getting increasingly clouded as I try to make sense of how to handle each day as it comes. I’m exhausted all the time.
Moving forward it’s becoming more and more clear that we will be in this for longer than we had initially planned on. No one is sure how long this will last for. We make each day happen one day at a time as an overwhelming amount of “breaking news” is being thrown at us. It’s difficult to plan for the future when everything is so unclear.
I don’t know where I will find the energy to keep this up in the long run, but I know those of you who are struggling with loneliness during this time are going through this with me and we will get through this. It’s okay that this is hard. This isn’t normal and it makes sense to feel caught off guard and unprepared because we didn’t plan for this.
So what now? Finding connection right now is challenging but technology has been a really great way for me to keep up relationships. What can we do to help each other feel connected when we are farther apart than ever?
- Text someone every day you haven’t seen in a while and ask how things are going.
- Respond to your friend’s story on Instagram so they feel seen.
- Video chat a loved one.
- Comment on Facebook posts.
- Share memes.
- Send Snapchats with silly filters.
- Mail letters.
- Be available and reach out.
I know it’s not the same as spending time with friends in person, but it’s what we have to work with so we may as well work with it.
I am also comforted knowing that every single one of us is in this together. All of us are doing the same thing right now in our homes waiting this out. We are all doing this because something bigger than any individual is happening and we need to come together and do our part to help flatten the curve and keep this virus from spreading. This needs to happen. And while we are doing this quarantine thing together we need to make an effort to stay connected and check in on each other.
We are going to get through all of this, and we are going to get through it all together.