We are living in strange times.
Y’all. People are stockpiling water as if suddenly our water supply is in danger of being contaminated. And I don’t know about you, but around here families can’t find toilet paper and moms are worried that they haven’t taught their children how to “rinse bidet-style”. What the heck? Warehouse stores have lines wrapped all along the front of the registers, through the store and around the building. Patrons are wiping out the soap, hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, bleach….you get the point. Last night I couldn’t even find a banana. NOT ONE BANANA.
This shit *is* bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. ~Gwen Stefani
Please don’t misunderstand me here. I know the dangers of this virus.
Is COVID-19 something to be concerned about? Of course, it is! But, being concerned and being panicked are two very different things.
Perhaps your area is seeing a Corona Virus outbreak and even deaths; making school districts close for at least two weeks.
Maybe your kids are too young and only know that we are “staying extra clean” to keep germs away. Or maybe your kids are older and have become worried and anxious over this new normal. I have both types of kids here at home with me until, as the school district states, “further notice”.
Moms are frantically seeking advice in social media groups asking, “What are we going to do?!” or “I don’t know what to do! How am I going to teach my kids?!” and maybe “I don’t know what to do, but I can’t stay inside with these kids!”.
I’ll tell you what we are going to do:
1. WE ARE NOT GOING TO PANIC: Because all of that sounds like panic to me. It also sounds like panic to your kids. We are going to take a breath and chill the heck out. That kind of nervousness does nothing. Actually, it does do something. It causes your child to panic. So repeat after me, I WILL NOT PANIC.
2. WE ARE NOT GOING TO SAY THE WORDS ‘DON’T WORRY’ TO OUR CHILDREN: Because guess what? They ARE WORRIED. Everyone is. Aren’t you? I’m worried about my mom who is older with respiratory troubles. My friend is worried about her teenager with a heart condition. A dad is worried about his daughter who has Lupus. Let’s face it, everyone is entitled to be worried because not a single one of us has been here before. Feeling distressed? That’s okay, but everyone doesn’t need to panic. Besides, no one has ever stopped my anxiety and worry by saying the words, “don’t worry”.
3. WE ARE GOING TO PLAY: There’s no school, we have an adequate amount of toilet paper and soap, and enough chips to make us more than satisfied. We also have a cabinet full of board games. There are paints and random leftover canvases from the dollar store. A box of LEGO sits at the bottom of the stairs and old Halloween costumes for days. Maybe there will be some fashion shows, the big girls will paint the little girls’ nails, and we are probably going to have a couple of Just Dance competitions. What I’m saying is, it’s not often everyone is here all at the same time anymore. We plan on taking advantage of that.
4. WE ARE GOING TO HELP: With no school for several weeks, and because some children in our area depend on that free lunch, they will get fed very little or not at all. All of that toilet paper you have now? A family a few miles away didn’t have the money to buy any at all, not to mention those cases of fresh fruit and cookies you have from Costco. A couple of local moms have organized a way to help these families and we will be jumping in feet first. Let’s don’t assume that everyone around us has enough. Let’s flood them with help and maybe we can keep panic from setting in with them, too.
5. WE ARE GOING TO TURN OFF THE TV: So, here’s is what we are going to do (yes you, too). We are saying NO to mainstream media. We aren’t sitting on our phones or couches and soaking up the alarmist thoughts that they put out there. We all know what’s happening and hearing story after story of gloom and doom isn’t doing anyone any good. Let’s get our basic news in order to stay informed and move on. Want to know how to ease your mind a bit? Turn off the freaking TV and play with your kids or dogs.
6. WE ARE GOING FOR WALKS: Listen, my children have been told to stay home from school. Not STAY INSIDE while home from school. We aren’t doomsday naysayers where we stay cooped up in our living room for half a month. Get out there. Find a birdnest, take a walk around the block, collect sticks, splash in some puddles. Anything. Do anything but stay inside wallowing in self-pity while counting your hand soaps. There’s a lot to do out there so let’s make the most of this.
7. WE ARE GOING TO READ BOOKS AND STUDY: Yep. We sure are. If your local library is open, get yourself over there. You don’t have to take the whole family. Just take a big bag and grab a variety of books that everyone will love. If your school system doesn’t have the option of digital learning, search online for free resources. Many sites, ABC Mouse for one, have a free 30 day trial period. There’s also Khan Academy and Adventure Academy. These are great educational sites that are fun for toddlers, tweens, and teens.
8. WE ARE GOING TO WATCH SPONGEBOB: Or any other mindless cartoon that gives moms and dads a bit of a break for just a bit. Chances are, you’re a parent who is now forced to work from home while, at the same time, keeping the kids happy, fed, entertained, and learning. We are going to need a minute to refocus here. And by ‘refocus’ I mean hide in the bathroom and cry or breakdown for a bit. It’s okay! You’re allowed to do that. I can promise you that I am going to flip on Netflix or hand my preschooler my phone on the regular. It’s all about some balance here and I can only listen to the Frozen 2 soundtrack so many times.
So listen, if you’re in this self quarantined boat with me, let’s just settle down a bit. I can row for a while and then you can have your turn. But, let’s not forget what we learned in High School Musical: We’re ALL in this together. Remember that it’s okay to worry, but it’s not okay to panic. Panic doesn’t help anyone, especially your kids. So keep at it moms and dads. WE WILL MAKE IT!
And now might be the best time to potty train that toddler of yours.
See? Silver lining.