I don’t know how to do this.
This being a pandemic. The whole staying home, working from home, schooling from home, parenting from home, living from home all the damn time. I see all the messages about enjoying your family, making the most of your time together. I see people post about epic family game times. I, on the other hand, have played games a grand total of twice with my children in two weeks, both times saw me curled up in the fetal position at the end of it with the kids arguing over who had to put the game away.
I am not cut out for this. According to the internet, I’m supposed to be enjoying my family, baking bread, trying new recipes, deep cleaning, reading quality literature, and streaming family movies. I have done none of that. I am not productive enough.
I’ve spent my time obsessively checking Facebook. Seriously. I’m either looking for the latest death count, scientific articles about COVID 19, smart political opinion pieces about how bad America is failing, or memes. I’m like a junkie looking for her next fix. My other very productive past times are Toon Blast on my phone and Tiger King on Netflix.
I have yet to figure out how to work from home and still have a balanced life. I can’t leave it like I could before. I used to have a 50-minute commute from the hospital which I never stopped complaining about. But now I see how helpful it was to allow me to switch gears between work and home. Without that delineation, I don’t know how to shut my brain off. I just feel constant guilt. Guilty when I’m working that I’m not helping with the kids or doing what they need, or if I am doing that, guilty that I’m not working enough.
I have this overwhelming feeling that I’m not doing any of it right.
Like there’s a right way to do a pandemic.
I cannot make this a Pinterest Perfect Pandemic. I won’t even try. I will not have the pictures of steaming bread loaves, or homemade science experiments. I’m not your girl for craft ideas or mask sewing marathons. Sweet pics of family bonding are going to be few and far between.
But I will make a living and guide my team to as much possible success from home to serve our patients and get them to rehab. I will accept each and every hug from my kid with Down syndrome and listen to him say, “Good news I have you, Mom.” I will use the hose to make it rain for my kid with autism who loves it more than anything. I will order the purple hair color for the bored sixteen-year-old, and thank my husband for refilling the hand soap in the bathrooms. I will remind my kids to wash their hands a thousand times, devour the frozen pizza with gusto, and answer my twelve-year-old’s hundredth virus question.
To be fair, I will also watch too much Netflix, rely on social media for most of my news consumption, play ridiculous amounts of Toon Blast, repost every meme that makes me snort (no matter how dark the humor), eat too many snacks, never exercise, cry often, and drink a lot of cocktails.
I will also likely gag at all the “be thankful” memes, roll my eyes at all the overtly spiritual posts, and cry at anything that reminds me of my medical friends on the front lines.
And that’s okay. Because you know what? As long as we’re social isolating, there is no right way to do a pandemic. And my way is just fine. So is your’s.
There is grace for that.