I’d like to start this piece of writing off by saying that it should by no means be mistaken for a “silver linings of COVID” essay.
There are absolutely no silver linings to COVID, in my opinion – and I actually find it extremely frustrating when I see memes or Instagram posts touting the ways that this virus has “given us back” something.
I don’t believe it has.
This virus has been devastating to families, to jobs, to our country’s mental health, to the economy, and will have a lasting impact for years across the globe. We could have all done without this, and besides grieving a lot for all of the things “lost” during this time, I know I’m not alone in harboring a lot of anger about it all as well. I’m never somebody who likes to dwell in a place of anger or resentment, however, as I think it’s really unhealthy and ultimately extremely unproductive.
One of the methods of mitigating the destruction of this virus has been quarantine, obviously, and I have been doing just that since the orders were imposed in March. While #StayHome has presented SO many challenges (you all feel them too and know exactly what they are), upon introverted inspection I have also been able to identify some silver linings in all of the time spent at home this past couple of months.
I love identifying the silver linings in a rotten situation, when possible, and I’ve realized that many of the silver linings of quarantine have taught me a lot about myself and about life in general. I thought I would share my insights today as a practice of trying to pick out the important lessons dealt with life’s biggest blows. I hope they resonate with you in some way and help you identify your own silver linings to hold on to during these isolating times.
Time Slowed Down A Little
I’ve had a lot of friends say that a huge takeaway realization from all of this time spent at home is just how quickly life had been moving before. For those of us with small children, this can be a double-edged sword, since a longer, slower day oftentimes means a lot more time navigating the ins and outs of big personalities in little tiny people. BUT overall, I’d say that I got a lot of perspective on just how rarely I had been slowing down to notice the world around me – especially my many blessings. I never want to be the person who realized too late how lucky they were and how beautiful life was. This period of time has made me realize that I need to build slower periods of time into my schedule, even if it’s just a day every now and then to really clear my plate and “be” in my life.
My Kids Got More Of Me
I’ll be the first to admit that in the work/life juggle, I never feel like I’ve truly “won”. I’m always craving simple and regenerative time with my kids, but then feeling as though when I do take that time, my To-Do list for work just piles up beyond what I can handle. I’m really lucky to have great help with the kids during the week when I’m normally at the office and working from afar, and I try as best I can to have a set routine to spend time with the kids during the week – but it’s been ages since I’ve spent so much weekday time with my kiddos. The quarantine period coincided with my maternity leave (which was kind of a joke, to be honest. LOL) but what it afforded me in spades was WAY more of me for my kids…all three of them. While I wish it wasn’t under these circumstances, I know that Marlowe and Major benefitted from that time in a big way. I felt super connected to my kids as a result also.
My Kids Got More Of Each Other
Ever since Marlowe went to Kindergarten, and Major started preschool, I had noticed their bond slipping a bit. Spending all those hours apart and not sharing in experiences during the day just made them grow in different directions. Even though they are still great pals, I had noticed that the bestie vibe had worn off and they were starting to get more competitive with each other and play separately more often. Since the time they’ve spent staying home together, I’ve noticed a real shift in their dynamic back to the old besties they used to be. They’re sharing a room now, too, and I sometimes hear them chatting and laughing together even an hour after bedtime. (I’ll admit that I’m not always pleased with this. LOL) They now play together all day long. Even though I know they’d both love to be hanging out with their school friends more too, I think it’s nice that they’ve gotten this time to check back in with each other and reconnect. Watching them when they’re really in a groove playing just warms my heart. They also got so much more time with Mateo than either of them were expecting! I love that they’ve watched him grow up these past couple of months and haven’t missed a thing.
I Got A Firsthand Look At My Kids’ Academic Strengths & Weaknesses
The “pit” of quarantine for me was Homeschool. I’ll just go ahead and say it. It was a STRUGGLE at our house. That said, it was a really interesting way to see where my kids are academically and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Of course, there are always parent-teacher conferences to hear how your kid is doing in school, but seeing it firsthand made me realize ways I can support both of my kids in areas where they seem a little stuck, and where they are absolutely thriving. For example, I had no idea that Marlowe was a whiz at math! I’m the opposite of a whiz at math, so I was really surprised and so impressed with her. I also figured out that it takes us *cough* a few tries *cough* to figure out the difference between lower case “b” and lower case “d”. Ya win some ya lose some! Ha! I’ll leave it to her teacher to iron that one out next year….
I Got Mateo On A Schedule
When I was pregnant with my third, all my friends with three kids told me that the third baby ends up being kind of the “loosey goosie” one when it comes to getting on a schedule or sticking to structure. Since there is so much going on logistically with the other two, third kids generally end up just being dragged from place to place and miss naps etc. Well, since I’m a pretty structured parent, this worried me. I didn’t know how I would get Mateo sleeping as well through the night as his siblings had if I couldn’t make sure he was getting good naps in and eating at consistent times. Well, BAM, then we were home for two and a half months and I had every opportunity to get him on a schedule! He is now sleeping through the night, and since I’m back “at work” already this is such a blessing.
I Spent Less Money
I basically cut my credit card bill in half. Actually. It was amazing. I guess I really do go out to eat a lot, not to mention all the activities and such that we didn’t do. I even cleaned out my closet, sold some items, and MADE money! Can’t wait to blow that on a super expensive mixologist-perfected cocktail sometime in the future!
I Learned To Do More With Less
For years, I’ve been wanting to slowly “eat through” my pantry, to take inventory of craft items we already had and use them, or to finally declutter and find a purpose for things. During this quarantine time, I did just that! I cooked more and made use of the little things, or dregs of things, in the fridge that had just been sitting there. I feel overall it was a really good lesson in being resourceful with items from my own home.
We Crossed Some Co-parenting Hurdles
As most of you know, Kyle and I quarantined together for much of the past two months. With Mateo being a newborn and vulnerable, information about the virus changing almost daily, and Kyle living full time in NYC (the epicenter of the pandemic) we didn’t know how or when he’d be able to see the kids regularly unless he was living here with us. Luckily, the HEA studio is on my property and has its own bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It wasn’t ideal for either of us (Hello, we just got divorced. For good reason.) but I think it was especially triggering for us to be spending such intense time together in the same exact environment we spent time in married. I think we did well, all things considered. The silver lining in it was twofold, that Kyle got some really nice extended time with the kids, and bonding with Mateo, that he/they might not have had otherwise. And the other was that we were forced to work through a bunch of co-parenting issues in record time. We have ups and downs in our co-parenting relationship like most divorced couples, and I think we were able to make some good headway on certain things and come to a general understanding on many topics. I’m sure we’ll continue to have ups and downs, but it was almost like a little mini divorced-people boot camp. LOL. I guess that can never be a bad thing!
I Appreciate Normalcy So Much More
The resounding silver lining I’ve been hearing echoed around my friend group and the internet has been how much I took “normal life” for granted. I think each and every one of you reading this knows exactly what I mean. I’m fairly certain I will never be so cavalier about going to a concert, a restaurant, or just having a party with my girlfriends ever, ever, ever, ever again. Gratitude Lesson #1!
I Was Forced To Think Critically About My Business
Times They Are A-Changin! I’m a small business owner, with a payroll to make, and this economic crisis made me super panicked about supporting myself and my employees on the other side of all of this. It really made me put my head down, work super hard, and think critically about what we as a business have to offer and what our goals are – both short and long term. I have so many Mama friends who are entrepreneurs also, and it was very healing and recharging to talk to them about the future and their own struggles internally with their companies, even if it was just to commiserate over a glass or two of wine. Via Zoom, of course! Let’s all support Small Businesses whenever we can. Here is an older list of Women-run companies I love, but I need to do an updated one and add more!
I Let The Little Things Go
This pandemic, and the many ways we’ve all been grieving as a nation and as a globe, has put small grievances in perspective for me. At the end of the day, I just want to work hard, to love hard, to do the best I can by my sweet babies, and to be surrounded by people who love and support me– and who are kind and honest in their own lives. I’m so lucky to have SO many people in my life who fit that bill, and it’s made me appreciate the stronger friendships and relationships I have. I hope this perspective sticks with me for a long, long time.
Do you have any unexpected silver linings from this period of quarantine? Please share in the comments below!