I'm checking in to see how you are. We are GREAT, honestly loving life and cherishing this precious time together in which we are front and center to all of our children's developmental picadillos and developments. They are both at SUCH a fun age.
Although, honestly, what ISN'T a fun age to be quarantined with?
I keep reading things like "make the most of this time," "take this time to learn a new skill," and "what a blessing to all be together and safe and healthy." I AGREE, that probably is wonderful for those people.
For us, things are a little more...hectic. We miss school, we miss family, we miss friends, we miss regular human interraction and things like not being equally parts fearful of and desperate to sit down to dinner with the dishwasher fixer dude.
There's no doubt, though, that keeping a strong schedule filled with outside time, exercise, fresh produce, and self care is the key to thriving in these uncertain times. Being a self care expert myself, I have put together a sample schedule that is working really well for us.
- 6:30am: Beck wakes up 30 minutes early. Comes and gets in our bed, dictates how Jay should or should not touch her, breathe on her. Yells. I yell for her to not yell. She huffs. Asks for TV. We say no. We get up.
- 7:00am: Attempt dishes from last night. Remind self that self is happier when dishes are done the night before. Start the day fresh, let's do that tomorrow.
- 7:30am: Go get Will. He points to all of his stuffed animals on the ground that he has thrown and says "UH OH, get it." The joys of vocabulary development are not to be understated.
- 7:37am: Will screaming for breakfast and general lack of gratitude for the fact that I am, literally, balls deep in getting feces out of his balls. Ingrate.
- 7:45am: Breakfast. Cold oatmeal in chunks so that Will can use a "FORK. GET IT." Ingrate. Try to not forget to let the dogs out and feed them. Why is my whole life about food and poop.
- 8:20am: Play Time, aka I am still attempting to clean the kitchen, Beck is begging for TV and using phrases like "Mama, listen to me right now. We are done with this conversation. It is my body, my choice, and I choose TV TIME NOW!!!" I mostly do not give in for at least another hour.
- 8:22am: Will posts up in front of the fridge demanding "MILK, GET IT." He finally knows how to say thank you, which is a nice touch before he grabs his milk, presses the nipple on the floor, and "paints" the floor or table or wall or dog with milk.
- 9:30am: Will's nap, Beck's TV time, my work time. I look at my phone and drink coffee and think of really productive things that I would be doing if I weren't still thinking that really I need to clean the kitchen how is it not done yet? Unload the dishwasher. Glimpse Beck's school stuff. Lunch box, water bottle, tiny backpack. this is so damn sad.
- 11am: Will wakes up. Routine contemplation on how long is too long to leave a happy-ish child awake in a crib. Mentally cite articles on how independent play is so good for kids.
- 11:10am: Warn Beck that TV time is ending, we are going on a walk, get your shoes on. She will not get her shoes on. Get Will. Screaming re: shoes. I am such a mean mom. Get kids out of house. They walk in matching shoes on a safe flat path with Will struggling to keep up and Beck on some sort of internal monologue involving Elsa and Anna. they are so fucking cute.
- 11:27am: Should have gone for a stroller walk instead of a kids-walk-walk. Kids nipping at heels for lunch. "Mama, I told you, I just want to watch a LITTLE BIT MORE tv while you make my lunch!" I say no. I only ever get to say no. Lunch. Random kid food. Half goes to dogs. At least I don't have to pick it up.
- 12:15pm: Longer walk. Incredible amounts of gratitude for a good stroller and outside space and quiet kids. Beck asks to play I Spy. All visible items are brown and green. Cool. Clues include tidbits such as "I spy something green and it's in that yard with a 7 on the door but not that big tree!"
- 2pm: Will goes down for 2nd nap. Beck is not tired and would like to have her "nap" on the couch as a "special treat," and promises that she will not bother me. This is a lie. I eat lunch. It is all carbs. I get tired. I do not sleep, yet I barely work. I have so much to do. I want a break, though.
- 2:30pm: Upon being bothered by Beck to see if it is TV time yet (it is not), discover that she has somehow removed all of the lead from retractable colored pencils and stuffed it back in the WRONG color, jamming them and rendering nearly the entire set useless. I use these colored pencils for adult coloring. I congratulate myself on not screaming at her for randomly ruining things and remind myself that moms do not deserve nice things and also this is not a disaster even though it feels like one.
- 3:30pm: Give in to TV time. Attempt writing, work, literally any task that makes me feel like more than a dishwasher and food preparation specialist. Reading recipes online seems close enough. Will wakes up, repeat entire fighting diaper, throwing toys, hands in poop, demanding milk. Consistency is so important for a healthy routine.
- 4:47pm: Despite having eaten a normal breakfast, lunch, and two snacks, Beck informs me that her stomach hurts, likely because I gave her too much dinner LAST NIGHT. She asks for more TV. I say no. She goes to poop.
- 5:15pm: Kid dinner. More throwing. More random food, since I know that if I prepare them anything special they will act like I have told them we are no longer serving food at all, so why bother. This is called streamlining the process.
- 6:00pm: In my office, door locked, client session. Best time of my day. Client thanks me for working evenings and being flexible. They are visibly making progress and feeling better. Kids screaming at Jay in the driveway. Why am I so good at my job and so bad at the things I give advice on. I am a fraud.
- 7:10pm: Wine. Family play time. PJs.
- 7:30pm: Bedtime. Will still has no autonomy and beds like a champ, Beck needs a story, a YouTube video of people throwing up on roller coasters, her night light turned off and on again, potty, teeth brushed, jammies, but really can she sleep in a dress tonight? locating of Baby and Fluffy Blanket that have been dragged around the house all day, her flashlight for reading after I leave, a sip of water, a song, to be told what time it is, a plan for tomorrow, and an update on her college fund projection given the current state of the economy.
- 7:47: I should shower. Blankly stare at my phone for as long as allowable. Jay might go on a walk alone or similarly stare at a screen not for work. We eat dinner and stare at a bigger screen together until one of us gets tired.
- 10pm: Off to bed for an early night aka phone time until we finish the entire internet. Dishes not done. Maybe tomorrow.
Now listen, I am NOT going to pretend that I have a schedule for us all worked out. We actually do pretty much the same things each day, dictated by naps and food needs. I DEFINITELY find that feeding the kids and letting them rest/nap at pretty much the same times each day is useful, and a schedule kind of falls into place around that.
But. My house is not as clean as I'd like it to be. My client work is super on point and nearly all other work...I just don't have the emotional energy. There are toys everywhere. Laundry gets done but not put away. I find that lots of people are having weird procrastinating behaviors about things that are not generally difficult tasks. Most people chalk this up to anxiety, and I agree. We have minds that are full of scary or hard other things, carrying laundry upstairs might feel like too much, and that's ok.
BUT LISTEN. If your schedule looks like mine, take heart. This is not forever, and we are doing GREAT.
What are you doing to stay productive, active, and happy? Leave tips or silly stories or anything you want!