Quarantine … like it or not, it’s been here for awhile now.
It’s hard to say exactly how long it will be around but here in Wisconsin, we’re bracing for at least another month.
I’m doing my very best to stay positive and to continue learning and growing through the chaos.
And do you know what?
I don’t absolutely hate quarantine.
But I do hate bats.
I can handle basically any other creepy, crawly critter out there.
I once killed one with a shovel.
I don’t like them but they’re not the worst thing in the world.
I’ve probably killed every single one I’ve ever met.
Bats on the other hand … WORST. CREATURES. EVER.
You may be asking yourself why I’m starting a post on what I’ve learned during quarantine with a rant about bats.
The answer is that I was reading an article about COVID-19 in a medical journal the other day and it is believed to have originated in bats.
Our world is a chaotic place right now, all thanks to a disgusting bat.
And did you know that bats carry rabies?
This is a fact I’ve known since the age of 5 and is probably the reason why I’ve always despised them.
It’s a fact my husband has frequently argued with me as he mistakenly believes rats carry rabies.
I laugh every time he tries to argue the point with me.
He’s obviously got this one incredibly wrong.
He even taped a news segment one time about rabies transmission and triumphantly announced that it featured rats.
Except when we pushed play, the news segment was actually about bats.
I win again.
Marriage, like an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway, is the place where everything is made up and the points don’t matter.
Much like our world right now.
You may enjoy reading this article about rekindling the romance in your relationship.
My Work Life
Quarantine has changed the way we live.
My husband and I are both considered essential employees and as such are still going to work every morning.
Just like before.
As a nurse practitioner who sees patients in the nursing home, my position involves working with one of the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19.
My husband’s position as a nursing home administrator also places him squarely in the center of hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
Those of us who work in this setting are doing our very best to make decisions which are in the best interest of the population we care for.
But this is not an easy task in the midst of such an unprecedented event.
The rules are changing rapidly.
Sometimes even on an hourly basis.
Quarantine = Change
And the truth is that no one really knows with 100% certainty what should be done right now.
Although I am new to the position of nurse practitioner, I was a nurse for 9 years prior to graduating with a doctor of nursing practice degree.
In terms of practice area and personality, there are many different types of nurses out there.
But I am the type of nurse who thrives on organization and structure.
I appreciate consistency and clear guidelines.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing right now.
Everyone is in survival mode.
Every morning when I walk into work, the only thing I’m certain of is that there will be some type of change.
Sometimes these changes are big, such as when nursing homes made the very difficult decision to prevent viral spread by prohibiting visitors.
I had honestly never considered a world where families couldn’t visit their loved ones.
And having had a multi-week hospitalization during my last pregnancy, I can tell you how much those face-to-face visits meant to me.
But I do know that the decision to lock down facilities was not made lightly.
On other days I walk in to small changes.
Fewer people to see on a daily basis because hospitals are limiting elective procedures and there are fewer people sent for rehabilitation in the nursing home.
The need to wear masks all day long.
And having my temperature taken upon entry to the building every single morning.
Change is tough!
Especially when uncertainty hangs in the air like a thick, black cloud.
Despite the rapid pace at which these changes are made, I’m surviving.
I’m learning that I can survive, no matter what.
Quarantine Means New Opportunities
Each day brings a new opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and to become a stronger person for it.
And guess what?
You too are surviving massive change.
The world is a different place right now but it’s not all bad.
Pollution over major cities has decreased dramatically.
We are spending more time with our families.
Embrace this time we’ve been given.
If you, like me, are that person who loves structure and organization, now is the best time to practice adapting to change.
Because if you can make it through this with even half your sanity, you truly can make it through anything!
You may also enjoy reading this article about finding peace despite chaos.
My Home Life
Quarantine has impacted my work life in big and small ways but has definitely not spared my home life either.
Two of my three kiddos were in school and the third was happily thriving in daycare prior to the ensuing chaos.
Unfortunately my daycare closed at the exact same time school closed.
Thankfully we have been able to find several awesome sitters to watch our kiddos while we truck off to work each morning.
I couldn’t be more thankful for these wonderful sitters who bring structure and creativity to my kids.
Because my husband and I have no energy left at the end of the day to engage them in any type of project, creative or otherwise.
My social media feeds are filled with pictures of kids actively engaged in learning at home.
I am not that mom.
Household Homeschooling Coordinator
My aspirations have NEVER included homeschooling.
And I have zero confidence this will change at any point in the near future.
Unfortunately, yesterday we officially received word that schools (in Wisconsin anyway) would not open back up for the remainder of the school year.
Up until now, I had been coasting by on the thought that in all probability, schools would be back in session at some point this year.
Surely my kids would not have to depend upon my half-hearted efforts to replicate a lesson plan which resembles those of their talented teachers.
Teachers who have spent considerable time, energy, and effort to hone their craft.
Dedicated men and women who actually enjoy and excel at engaging kids in learning.
Have I mentioned how much appreciation and respect I have for teachers?
I recognize how tough but important their job is and feel ill-prepared to assume anything which resembles teaching.
I’ve been engaging my kids in activities only deemed educational through a very large stretch of the imagination.
The other night, the moon was huge.
I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for a science lesson.
Because anything involving the moon is science, right?
So I called my kindergartener over and pointed it out.
It took a minute but he finally spotted the gigantic moon through the neighbor’s tree.
He gazed at it for a bit before he asked if he was bigger than the moon.
My obviously very intelligent response (sarcasm) was that the moon was much, much bigger than him.
I’m not sure whether he accepted my answer or not but he shrugged his shoulders and headed off to bed.
As he walked away, I had a moment of guilt and defeat.
“I should have planned out some type of fun learning activity for him instead of letting him sit in front of the TV tonight. Why am I failing at this?”
Parenting Through Quarantine
But the truth is that we can’t do and be everything to everyone.
We have all been given certain talents, time, and energy.
And we have to make the most out of what we’ve been given.
Living in a place of guilt and defeat is not the best we can do.
Figuring out how to use our strengths to the best of our ability is the place we need to strive for.
So what does this mean for my newly appointed status as household homeschooling coordinator?
I am striving to intentionally interact with my kids in ways which also stimulate their minds.
This may be as simple as reading books with them or including them in the preparation of meals.
Going for walks and throwing out math problems are also included.
I am trying to make everyday activities more educational but also giving myself grace to just enjoy my time with them.
If you too are freaked out by the pressure to assume the household homeschool coordinator role, dial down the pressure.
Your kids will be fine, even if school doesn’t start up again until next fall or later.
Do the best you can to be present with them and don’t worry about the rest!
Let’s take this opportunity to support ourselves and do what works for our families.
You may also enjoy reading this article about overcoming mom guilt.
It’s Your Turn
Quarantine is the perfect opportunity to evaluate your own life.
What makes you happy?
Are there aspects of your life which are completely draining you emotionally?
Where are the areas you need change and adaptation to keep moving forward instead of remaining stuck?
How can you become more of the person you were meant to be?
And where do you need to give yourself grace?
Quarantine is a reset button for all of us.
Take this opportunity to celebrate areas of your life which are going well and to re-evaluate areas where change is needed.
Always remember that you’re stronger than you think you are.
You will make it through this a better person than you were before because with each day that passes, you’re only getting better!
Don’t forget to comment below on what you’ve learned since quarantine!
I’d love to hear the big and small changes quarantine is bringing out in your own life!