8 Weeks at Home

We all agree that time has been moving at such a weird rate. I guess pandemics do that to socially constructed concepts. Time has been so fluid, that I actually just had to Google “how many weeks since March 13, 2020”. Big Brother Google was kind enough to confirm my attempt at manually counting weeks – EIGHT! 8 weeks since Harley’s last day at school. 8 weeks since I was in the office. How different life was, just 8 weeks ago.

How the kid is doing in isolation

Harley doesn’t seem too impacted by the extended period at home. I think part of that is because she’s a geek like us. She’s fine watching stuff on TV or her tablet, playing games, building puzzles, playing with her toys, etc.

In the beginning, Dean was really good at doing worksheets with her every day while I was working. That seems to have tapered off a bit, but we got her more worksheets so it might resume. She still hunts down activity pages that she can do – I got her a cool book from Highlights that’s like a whiteboard, so you can wipe it off, and it has all sorts of alphabet-related activities.

I’ve slacked off a bit on reading with her every day. I KNOW how important it is, and I truly set out with the best of intentions, but by the end of the day sometimes I’m so shattered that I just beg her to watch on her tablet and leave me alone. I know, winning parenting. But really, I have always been a better, more patient mom when she spends some of her day at school.

We have been getting along well, though, for the most part. She likes to visit me in my office while I’m working, and we generally have an understanding that she can do so as long as I’m not on a video call. She’ll hang out, play on my yoga mat, write in the aforementioned whiteboard book, and ask me incessant questions until I chase her back downstairs.

I usually try to knock off work at about 4pm, and once I shut down my work computer, I don’t turn it back on until the morning. So the evenings are spent having a drink with Dean, making and eating dinner, and then maybe some playing or reading with Harley before we wind down watching videos or playing games on the couch.

We have not been big on a structure for her. We pretty much embraced the “unschooling” approach, figuring that she’s learning something whether she’s watching Frozen 2 a few times day (thankfully that phase seems to have passed) or playing with LEGO or skipping up and down the hallway with seemingly unending energy. Unfortunately, the weather has gotten REALLY hot in Arizona, so she and I can’t take our lunchtime walks anymore. Trying to still have dance parties with her when possible and do whatever we can to move our bodies.

She loves doing the worksheets she got from school. And is still super hungry to learn anything and everything. But she seems okay with each day being something new, and she’s been pretty resilient through it all. She’s had a few virtual playdates, and is already making plans for parties and playdates “when the germs are gone”, but for the most part, she seems okay being stuck with us all day.

Married life in isolation

Dean and I are doing well. He’s handling the bulk of the childcare and home stuff while I’m working in my office or on calls or whatnot. I’m really glad that we have experience working from home together. Also glad that we have separate office space so that being home all day doesn’t mean that we’re stuck in the same room together all day.

Honestly (as compared to all the lies, or something), I think we’d be having a great isolation time without a kid around. Obviously, we love Harley, and she adds adventure to our daily lives together. But if she weren’t around, we’d probably spend way more time day drinking and banging. I mean, we still do that to an extent, but I like to imagine that there would be even more of it if we didn’t have to trap her on the couch while the robot vacuum cleans the floor around her so that we can sneak off for a nooner. (Friends without kids, please feel free to confirm or contradict my suspicious in the comments below.)

I have noticed that Dean is expecting me to do more home stuff, probably since I’m… ya know… home! I’m still working as if I were working out of the house, but since I’m home and don’t have a commute, we’re also having three meals a day together. Without being able to go to the pilates studio, and without needing to rush to get Harley off to school, our mornings are generally more relaxed.

There are so many memes and jokes about people who didn’t know stuff about their spouses until isolating together. And while yeah, we’ve had our moments of discovery about each other (mostly Dean laughing at me and my work-life) we really do know each other. We’re comfy together. We’re compatible. So life is pretty much the same for us in the way that we related to each other, and even the stuff we do. Still just hanging out at home, watching streaming videos or playing games, just chilling in the same general space.

Some stuff about work

I have been really lucky to be able to work from home during this pandemic. I’m able to do my job, continuing to receive a steady paycheck, even as many friends have faced reduced hours, job loss, and financial insecurity. For that, I’m incredibly grateful and lucky.

That said, I feel like this pandemic has revealed people’s true colors. For the marketing team, that’s been an unexpected benefit – we are all communicating well while working remotely, and I feel like we’re even more bonded than when we were in the office. I feel so close to them, which has been lovely.

The rest of the company has had some mixed personalities. I think the leadership inconsistencies that were challenges before all of this have become more pronounced during the pandemic. People’s motivations and personality traits have been on display, and it’s made me realize who the leaders are in the organization – I think I probably knew these things on some level before, but now even more so.

It is hard working from home right now. As one who worked from home for years, I’m used to it and I’m pretty good about establishing workspaces, boundaries, and clear daily rhythms. But my old rhythm didn’t include waves of anxiety and a need to check the news for death tolls. My old rhythm didn’t always include seeing Harley for lunch or cute little visits, shifting focus, and feeling disjointed.

Everything else

It’s been amazing how connected I’ve been feeling, even as we’ve been isolating. Not only have I exchanged regular messages with friends, I’ve reconnected with some friends I hadn’t chatted with in a while. I’ve had plenty of video calls, catching up with friends, and truly feeling close.

I’m also lucky that my mom and I decided early on that we are in the same pod, even if we’re not staying in the same house. So I go see her every weekend and bring groceries, hang out, and get a fun visit. I realize how fortunate we are to have that option.

Of course, Harley asks me why there “aren’t germs at Omi’s house” when there are germs at her friends’ houses. I’ve tried to explain that the germs at Omi’s house are the same as the germs at our house, while the germs in the rest of the world we aren’t so sure about. But it’s confusing for her, in the same way that this whole situation still feels so confusing for all of us.

I desperately miss going to pilates. I got a resistance band with handles on it, so I’m able to replicate some of the movements we would normally do on the reformer. But it’s not the same. It’s not a time in the day without the rest of the family, away from my house, where I can just breathe, focus, and move. Even as I try to stay fit and healthy, I know I’m not working as hard or as “in it” as I would be at the studio.

Then again, one of the owners of the studio sent me a message asking if I was excited to get back into the studio when the lockdown is lifted. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I REALLY miss going to pilates every day. But just the thought of someone else breathing next to me is enough to send my anxiety through the roof. So I guess I’ll just wait and go back when I’m ready…

I truly can’t believe 8 weeks have passed since I picked Harley up from her preschool for the end of the term. It was supposed to be a one-week spring break, and I had maneuvered to work from home so that it was workable to pick her up that day. I haven’t been back to the office since then except to pick up some stuff. Her school was canceled and I’m not even sure what’s going to happen with school restarting in August.

That might have been the last day that seemed “normal“. March 13, 2020 – 8 weeks ago, and also a lifetime ago and a world away.


If you like these words, please check out more of what I say on twitter and Facebook, and pics I take on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Pinterest.
Also, please be sure to sign up to my carefully curated, crafted and infrequent newsletter.