Keeping the Routine
How do I keep some sort of normalcy in a completely changed world? How do I try and keep sanity when I have no idea what is coming next? How do I keep from crawling into a hole and hiding until this is all over?
All questions I have asked myself since COVID-19 started. Since NY State went on pause I have been working from home. Something I was blessed to be able to do because so many people didn't have that option. My routine went from rushing to get up at 5:15am and get myself ready before I had to get the kids up and ready for school to sleeping in and taking time getting ready in the morning. It seemed nice but it definitely took getting used to. I didn't want to get to accustomed to being lazy in the mornings because I wasn't sure how long this new routine would last.
I knew that if I just rolled out of bed in time to start work at 9am and stayed in my pajamas all day and didn't put makeup on or do my hair, things would not be good. I would start to get into a funk that would be hard to get out of. It would be a lot harder to return to my normal routine (whenever it was that would happen) and my motivation would go out the window.
So what did I do? I set an alarm. It was a later alarm than I normally would set (7:30am to be exact) but I would sent in non the less. I would get up and get myself ready as if I was actually leaving the house for work. It made me feel motivated and help me start my day. Ok... maybe I wouldn't fully get myself ready but ready enough to feel awake. I would do my makeup, run a quick brush through my hair (instead of using a curling iron), and get dressed (legging, tank, and a sweatshirt was my outfit of choice but hey, at least I was changing out of pajamas). My husband would follow suit. It helped us both stay on a similar track. (Not to mention I was using my bedroom as my workspace so I needed to have him up and ready before I started work).
We wanted to make sure the kids had a sense of structure and normalcy because I couldn't image that this sudden adjustment was any easier on them. They would get up, have breakfast, get dressed, and brush their teeth just like any normal day. Then, instead of having to run to catch the bus, they would sit at their school desks we designated for them at home and begin their work. We knew that keeping things in some sort of order would help us all stay as sane as we could.We wanted to make it fun for the kids so we let them set their own classroom spaces how they wanted (they each chose to put a few small toys in their areas just for decoration). We put masking tape down as well so they each had their respective sides and there was no fighting over who was on who's side.
Mornings consisted of kids school work, my work, and husband getting done what he could around the house. We would all take the same lunch break so we could enjoy lunch as a family. (A luxury we didn't have before.) I also had the kids start helping me with dinner when they could. It didn't take us long to get used to our new routine. We were fortunate enough to have my mother-in-law staying with us during quarantine. (my father-in-law was diagnosed with COVID-19 and therefore she couldn't go home to be with him for fear of contracting it herself). It worked out great though because she took over teaching the kids so I could get my work done and my husband could focus on getting tasks done around the house that we have been putting off. (Laundry room was first on our list. More on that in a later post.)
Once we established a routine that worked for us we were very happy with our new normal. I almost didn't want to ever go back to how things used to be. Our stress levels were less and we were, for the most part, happy with how things were going for us. I am very fortunate to have a husband who has taken this whole thing in stride. He has been a great support system for me and the kids and has been able to keep the positivity going even when I wanted to breakdown and cry.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so while at first it may have been weird not doing what we normally do, we quickly adapted to this new way of life. I could see this being how we continue to do things and I honestly wouldn't have a problem with it. It will be interesting to see how things change once we start opening back up. I can only hope that we are able to hang on to some of the things we have established during this time and we were able to use this as a time to reflect on how we can make the most of what we do and make family our first priority. The one thing I don't want, is to go backwards and get lost in the hustle and bustle of life again. I am thankful for my family and the strong bond we have formed.