Could I have come up with a better topic for Chaos & Contentment than having to be quarantined with our children? I think not! It is practically the definition of chaos along with many feel good moments which bring us contentment!
Just when you think you’ve got a handle on whatever phase your children are in, whether infant, toddler, elementary or teenager, then something changes. No, not a new school or neighborhood, just a world pandemic which sends us all into quarantine.
Not only are we dealing with a phase of child development, (fill in the phase here: teething, growth spurts, meltdowns, puberty) we are dealing with this while locked down in limbo. No previous knowledge or books on this one!
Mine are older so there are advantages and disadvantages. I am able to work from home so one enormous advantage is that my children are able to entertain themselves while I spend hours working. This is also a disadvantage. Consider what they are all doing between the ages of 10 and 16. Social media, playing games, watching videos, if these things are allowed in your home. If not, you may not be getting much “work from home” done. I have always daydreamed about being able to homeschool and have talked with many homeschooling parents on the subject. Having this insider info, I used it to my advantage and immediately created a schedule conforming to our pandemic experience. Along with some engaging teachers (thank you!) the school day began at 9 a.m. Work done by noon, we all break to walk the dog and have lunch. When all schoolwork is caught up, free time to do what they want until I’m done with work.
Sounds great right? Currently my daughter has a sign on her door which reads, “If you want me to be happy, and if you want to be a good Mom, then STAY OUT! (smile emoji included). It was installed after a disagreement on exercise and the need to stay mentally healthy. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I’m told by my children that I’m horrible, I’m probably doing it right!
Even with a schedule, and expectations there are days that just don’t go as planned. I sympathize with those parents who have toddlers, especially if attempting to work remotely. I was there a few years ago, with the delusion that I could work during naps or during a favorite show. Nope. “Let go and let God” was a repetitive phrase in my mind.
This brings me to the contentment part. An extra hour in bed in the morning, a guilt-free Netflix binge, some time to just “be” in the evenings with no rush. The kids don’t have a lot of choices except to spend time with parents. Tee hee. Although I have gratitude to be in a part of the country where we haven’t had to lock down quite as extreme as others, I know many of us have been seriously affected by the virus. The entire experience has its negatives and positives. If I start analyzing what the future holds for our children, it blows my mind. We may not have any idea what it looks like for them or what “normal” will be.