Canada has been working through pandemic conditions for six weeks now. Six weeks! That feels unreal when I write it down.
I have been at home for four and a half weeks (at the time of writing this), only having “gone out” about three times. My husband has been doing the groceries, as he’s out of the house to work anyway, and I am existing in a bubble.
Every week we do distance learning (with a LOT of support from me – including arguing about getting it done), cook what feels like a million meals, try to get active most days, and we definitely watch way too much TV.
It can be hard to find positive things to say about this pandemic. That’s why I decided to share some simple, positive things that have come from all this at-home time.
Despite the Coronovirus epidemic, I am greatly enjoying my time at home with my girls. Of course, some days are a struggle, but overall being at home and caring for my family is what I have longed to do since Emma was born.
Here are seven simple, positive things that have come from this pandemic:
Spending less money
Despite losing my regular income, we are not overly suffering. I am receiving money from the government for staying home with the girls while school is operating online. And while our grocery bill is larger, we have only eaten a take-out meal twice in the past six weeks.
For comparison’s sake, Patrick and I would eat two to three take-out dinners a week (including bagels from Tim Horton’s) while shuttling the kids back and forth to dance classes four nights a week. They would eat at home before an adult gets home to play chauffeur, but we would often not eat until 9pm, after they were both home and in bed.
We also are not going to stores or movies for entertainment purposes. On weekends we would “go out” for something to do sometimes, and inevitably buy something we will eventually need, or we thought would be useful. (It was rarely me that thought we “needed” any of these things…) And we really loved taking in a Sunday afternoon movie while the kids were with their Nanny for the day.
Related: Frugal tips from a working mom
More time outside
I don’t know about you, but I get significantly recharged after spending time outside. Now that it finally feels like winter is in the rear-view, spending time outside is more pleasurable and I find I want to fit it into my day.
The girls have learned to ride their bikes!
I thought it would never happen – we spend about 10 hours a summer with the kids on their bikes in a usual year. This year they both managed to figure out riding on two wheels and now they bike every day. Now I have to get mine out so we can ride together. Can’t wait!
Teaching the girls to cook (and tweaking my own skills!)
Making every meal every day is a bit of an undertaking, isn’t it? We’ve gone from making a proper dinner one or two weeknights and and one weekend night, to making every meal every day! (Okay, so the girls get their own breakfast and lunch sometimes, but it’s a still a lot of overseeing!)
What I like about it, though, is that we’re learning together. Taking recipes and tweaking them to our tastes: adding or changing spices or add-ins based on what we have in the fridge, making more (or less) than the recipe indicates, or adjusting because we want more rice or noodles but not more meat or vegetable (or vice versa) – so sauce quantity and viscosity becomes important.
I still struggle with meal planning though. And grocery lists are hard for me. By the end of most weeks it’s a bit of “what’s leftover and what needs using up” for dinners.
Related: Meal Planning tips and trick
Keeping a tidier home
I feel like I finally have time to clean up my house. Not that it was “dirty” before, but I definitely didn’t making cleaning a priority.
In the first few weeks of being at home, we put together three garbage bags worth of donate-able stuff got them out of the house. We still have way too much clutter for me to completely anxiety free about my messy home, but it’s a start.
If my girls are in the right mood, they will do cleaning. They’ve deep cleaned the bathroom at least twice while we’ve been stuck at home. Vacuuming is also of interest to them, so I let them go nuts with that. My vacuum is likely wondering why it doesn’t get to sleep for weeks at a time anymore!
I think this house will always be a work-in-progress, but I’ve seen some progress, so that’s pretty great.
This staying home business can be tiresome. There are some days when I feel anxious and stir crazy, and other days when I’m relaxed and happy. But I am very glad we have this time to enjoy this slower pace of life.
My memories of my childhood are quiet. We didn’t “do” a lot with our days. I took piano lessons, my sister did dance, but we were not nearly as busy as my family is now. (Or was – “before”.) And I remember it fondly, doing things around the house, seeing friends, going for bike rides, and not rushing everywhere all the time.
Now I’m doing things I want to do – like baking, having family dinners, spending more time outside, and working harder on having a tidier home, and writing more/searching for paying writing jobs to perhaps supplement our financial situation now, and into the future.
Related: Writer for Hire
Problem solving (re: schooling)
Please tell me I’m not the only one struggling with this distance education business! My girls like school and enjoy learning, but some days getting them to work on schoolwork is nearly impossible.
We’ve finally gotten into a routine that’s working, but it took us a few weeks to get there. I started this home isolation time making up things to do and learn about, and that worked well. Then the schools started sending home work and it felt a lot more like “work”.
Now we’re on a light schedule, and we’re able to get outside a lot, which helps with focus, so most weeks work out. But the online aspect had a steep learning curve, for us as well as for some of the teachers. We worked through these struggles and learned some things along the way. We are also learning about ourselves, and how we work best – together and individually – and are definitely developing some problem solving skills.
Finding time for Self Care
All this time at home definitely has a silver lining: I have some time just for me.
How do I get this time? I let my kids have more screen time than is likely healthy for them some days. And I try not to stress about that. Sometimes it even works!
I’ve been reading books (still very slowly), taking baths, going for walks – alone, and watching snippits of my own shows when the girls go outside.
Once in a while my husband has a project the girls can help him with – like the never-ending tidying of our basement – and that occupies all of them for at least an hour. It’s bliss, just sitting on the couch reading without anyone laying on top of me, talking at me non-stop, or calling for me from another floor.
What positive things have come from this pandemic for you?
I want to hear how you’re coping with all this togetherness time. Maybe you’ve found a silver lining too!
Leave me a comment with your pandemic experiences, or what you’d like to hear more about from me. And stay strong – I know this is a trying time in many ways. Only you know what works best for yourself and your family.