Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Yes, I am Still Busy during the "Shelter in Place" Order


Every now and then I'll interact with someone who thinks I have a lot of free time on my hands now that we are "stuck inside" due to the shelter-in-place guidelines which are in place all over the country and the world. (We are actually NOT inside all the time; we are outside quite a bit because why move to 8 acres of land with a pond and stay inside in the springtime?)

At the beginning of this whole thing, I put a lot of things on hold to make sure I was checking up on the virus numbers and checking in on the press conferences by the governors on both sides of the state line, checking in on my own city's Facebook page and county's website. I realized some things were starting to suffer and it was taking its toll on me and how I lived my life and how I was steering the lives of my children.

For whatever reason, it's important to me to let everyone know that I'm not trying to blow you off or be selfish with my time, but here are some of the things I am still doing so you can understand who I am during this insane time. Basically, I am sticking with what is MOST IMPORTANT, then branching out if I have time. It's what works for our family.

HOMESCHOOLING 5 KIDS while working around my wonderful husband who has been home since this all started, roughly March 13; he works at the dining room table most of the time and never seems annoyed by the action around him, but I still try to do the majority of the schooling in other rooms of the house. This is basically going on 25 hours a week.

PROFESSIONAL HOMESCHOOL DEVELOPMENT. If I'm not actually homeschooling, I'm either planning for the day/week, planning for next year, or tracking what we've done. I'm also watching videos about curriculum, reading blogs, etc. This is going on another 10 hours a week.

WORKING. I only have a 2-year junior college degree, but it has served me well, along with all the on-the-job training at the public relations company I worked for as a secretary "back in the day" — 1990s. Proofreading is still needed by many during this crazy time (college papers, resumes, books, corporate documents and more), and I decided to sell my parenting magazine reprint articles at a discount so (1) I could still make money while (2) the magazines save money since they have lost advertisers and are going digital for the most part. I'm trying to keep working to about 10-12 hours a week. I recently paused my proofreading gig for a bit so I can focus on springtime fun with the family!

Going to ADORATION (2 hours including drive time once a week; done at our church with less than 10 people, usually just our family)

Going to CHURCH AT HOME once a week (1 hour plus getting-ready time because we do dress up still)

GROCERY SHOPPING. This never seems to end. There are 8 of us in the house, including 4 teenagers. Keeping healthy options in the house, as well as on-the-go snacks for when we get out of the house to hike or bike, and regular meals, is a challenge! I could do a fresh post on this topic. I have not tried Instacart but am going to. I used to love WalMart grocery pickup, but not during this crazy time (I have to wait days for my order and then I only get 3/4 of what I needed).

MEALS! My husband cooks a couple of nights a week plus Sunday breakfast! Check out this healthy fat-stripping chocolate frappa to replace some of the carb-laden snacks you might be heading for lately. Here's my recipe blog as well if you're looking for some fresh ideas.

WALKING to keep my lungs healthy and my heart healthy, and to keep from gaining quarantine weight LOL (I shoot for at least half an hour a day)

KEEPING UP WITH FRIENDS and FAMILY on Marco Polo, text, Facebook, Zoom.

DATES! Now that my husband is back (he was in Kuwait working for 7 weeks then BAM, back in town working from home!), it's time to institute some regular date nights! For us these days, it means grabbing takeout to support a local restaurant and then heading to a park to walk.

Don't forget LAUNDRY, DISHES hounding kids to help with those things and do miscellaneous chores, sleeping, showers and baths (HYGIENE), keeping track of my working kid (I still like to make his lunch), helping to keep them all entertained, and more!

No wonder some days I choose to tune out the news. Sometimes I think it keeps me healthier to NOT know what's going on. Taking care of my family right now is my number one priority.

***

Here are some things I like to choose from to do if I find myself with a free hour or two:

Take a nap

Read a book

Work on a book I'm writing about my life since meeting Aron McLoughlin

Play a game with my kids

Bake something (here's my cooking blog)

Take a Pokémon Go! drive with my boys who play it

Post something on my 12-year-old personal blog that is actually about my life and not just advice articles (like I'm doing now!)

Watch a TV show alone or a movie with my family

Work on decluttering the storage room or some other home organization project

Work on organizing and scrapbooking photos

Chronologically order all the journals and papers I've kept over the past 30+ years.

Pull weeds (I actually don't mind doing this!)

Talk with my senior about his fall plans, sign him up for junior college (possibly to do EMT training), figure out when he can do a ride-along with a police officer, etc.

Meet a friend for a social distancing Peculiar Winery wine slush or 6-feet-apart walk (have not actually been able to do this one yet)

Sit on the deck and stare at the pond, geese, birds, other animals and sights while listening to all the sounds of nature we moved to the country to hear (this is not selfish or lazy … this is so great for the body and spirit!)

So what are YOU up to during this time? Do people think you have all the time in the world right now even though you are maybe a work-at-home parent thrust into the quasi-homeschool world (I say "quasi" because I want school parents to know this is not what real homeschooling looks like; it's much more fun!)?

Here are some great pieces I've found from around the Internet world:

How mothers can work from home with kids during quarantine

11 Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Keep Your Sanity While Quarantined

Keeping kids fed during the quarantine

Self-care during quarantine


**And if you are NOT busy during this time because you have been laid off, I AM TRULY SORRY and my family prays for your situation every night. I realize my circumstances are different since I have always homeschooled and always worked from home, and also because my husband still has a job he can do from home. I just pray that things get back to normal quickly!

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