Within the last month, our lives have slowly started to return to “normal.” Our kids returned to daycare and I am now working from the office one to two times a week. We have also resumed visits with our immediate family and a handful of friends.
From the middle of March to the beginning of June, our family of four was quarantined together, spending all day, everyday with no one else but each other. There was the occasional drive by to see grandparents, but those visits were few and far between. With two parents working full time, a preschooler, and a newly walking toddler all under one roof there were plenty of lessons learned. Today, I’m sharing four of the most important lessons quarantine taught me.
Lesson 1: It takes a village.
The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” couldn’t have become more clear to me than during quarantine. In March, we made the decision to pull our kids out of daycare. Social distancing meant no visits with grandparents, no play dates with friends, and no church. We were now the sole caretakers for our children. While I understand that is my role as a parent, we rely on so many others, like their daycare teachers, our parents, friends, and church community to help raise and guide our children as they grow and develop. In a matter of days, that village was ripped away from us. We wore the hats of parent, friend, playmate, teacher, and chef. Sometimes all at the same time. Let’s not forget our other responsibilities of spouse and employee. It was very exhausting. Needless to say, I have a greater appreciation for our village.
Lesson 2: Community is essential.
I’m so grateful for my friends and church family. Just like our village was torn away from us, we were no longer seeing our friends. Thank goodness for all the tools we now have available to connect with others virtually. Under stay-at-home orders, I connected virtually with friends and my small group at church almost weekly. Those check-ins filled me with encouragement, hope, and joy. They also gave me a safe place to vent and share my frustrations. Even though quarantine changed what community looked like, it remained essential and will always be important to me. I don’t know what I would have done without all of my friends.
Lesson 3: Enjoy the ordinary, everyday moments.
Quarantine was filled with ordinary moments that I sometimes took for granted before stay-at-home orders went into effect.With nowhere to go and nothing to do, it was easy to find the joy in the everyday experience of doing life with my family. Tickle fights with my one year old. A midweek movie night with my oldest. Staying up late, binge watching the latest Netflix series. Sleeping in (sort of…if you have young kids you know that sleeping in doesn’t really happen). Eating meals together as a family. Midday walks in the park. All these ordinary moments seemed to be magnified during quarantine. As things begin to return to “normal,” I don’t want to take the ordinary, everyday moments for granted. It’s in those moments that the best memories are made.
Lesson 4: It’s good to slow down.
Our calendar was suddenly empty. There were no evening commitments that required us to leave the house. No weekend events to work around. At most, my husband continued the weekly grocery trip, but outside of that we literally had nothing to do and nowhere to go. Our lives took on a much slower pace, which if I’m honest was much needed. As a working parent, I was starting to feel the pressure of trying to “balance” it all. With an empty calendar, I suddenly felt a little sense of relief and freedom. I actually hope this slower pace is something that we can continue to cultivate as life returns to “normal.”
When COVID-19 began to spread, I could have never imagined we would be where we are now. I could have never imagined I would be working from home with my kids for over two months. I could have never imagined that I would be isolated from family and friends. I could have never imagined I would be forced to slow down. I could have never imagined the sweet moments I would experience with my family. I could have never imagined any of this. But I know now that if, or when, we are forced back into our homes for an extended period of time, the lessons I have learned over the last few months will guide me through.