I feel like I was doing really well right out of the gate when we were first told that we had to start living in quarantine. Call me stupid but I really thought it would be a few weeks and then back to normal. Yep, I was one of those people.
I was ready for my few weeks with the kids. I started by baking up a storm. All the cookies, fresh bread and loafs of whatever I could come up with, just like everyone else appeared to be doing. I was fattening that curve and was pretty darn excited about it because hey, it was only going to be a few weeks.
I was doing tons of crafts with my toddler, cooking elaborate meals as if I was Emril freaking Lagasse and really just living the good life. Then, as I have said before, in previous posts, week two went by and I hit that wall of realization and anxiousness while starting to go a bit crazy. (I won’t go into that part as I already did in my last post)
Now, as I look back on the last 5-6 weeks of quarantine, I’m now realizing just how many things I had been taking for granted before this big change took over our lives. There is definitely some consistency in all 8 of the items below and that is that they all tend to fall under the same umbrella of “freedom”.
1. Grocery shopping
I never thought I would say this but I actually miss going grocery shopping with the three little gong shows who are my children. The coordination that it takes now to get to the store because I need to wait for my husband to get home from work before going on my own or just being able to go grab a couple things and not pre plan for an entire week or feel like I’m going to die when cruising around the store. Sure, it may sound dramatic but I am that person who strolls the aisles holding my breath when I walk by other shoppers…because that’s what’s going to make me not get the virus… cue eye roll emoji.
2. Seeing my family
I usually see my family quite often. I see my mom and dad several times a week and never really thought much about it because it was our “normal”. I would see my brothers and their families here and there, definitely for Sunday dinners and again, never thought much about it…until we couldn’t do this anymore. We now have family dinners most Sunday’s via Zoom. I suppose it really isn’t that much different for us adults as it usually involves us making fun of each other or my parents because of their lack of knowledge around technology. But for the young kids, that’s where I notice more of a difference. My toddler doesn’t understand why she can’t hug her grandparents and doesn’t quite know why she can’t play with her cousins, which is not only hard to watch but also extremely hard trying to explain it to her.
3. Toddler activities
I’m not usually one who keeps my toddler busy 24/7 with all the activities. This is mainly because she is usually in daycare during the week and on the weekends, it’s all a bit slower paced around here but holy crap bag, how much does that shitty park around the corner now look like Disney Land since we aren’t allowed to go play there?! The amount of times we’ve gone on a walk and avoided the park because we knew we only had a certain amount of time and that if we took her there, it would be a bitch to get her out of there. Or the times where we do take her and have to come up with some sort of excuse to leave and head back home. I will now be much more aware of the fact that this can be taken away from us and will definitely be taking her to that park a lot more in the future when things are back to normal. Sorry kid.
4. Going to the mall
Before all of this self-isolation stuff, there was a good chance you would find me (a few times a week at a minimum) roaming the mall with my infant twins. I would cruise around, shop sometimes, meet a few girlfriends or my mom for lunch, and maybe grab a couple groceries at the same time. I was a big ol’ maternity leave mall roamer. It did get boring after a while and became more of a rainy-day activity to fill the long days but looking back now, I miss it. I miss being able to grab a coffee and peruse the shops. Yes, I do realize this is a major first world problem but give me a break… we do what we can to survive maternity leave with twins. My husband seems happy that this is not a regular occurrence anymore… wonder why.
We’ve been known to be the family who tends to take a couple vacations throughout the year. However, after having to cancel a recent trip, it’s really put things into perspective to understand just how fortunate we are to even take one trip. I feel a lot more grateful for all of the past vacations we have taken and for any future ones we get to take after this all clears up. It’s grounded us (literally) in a way and as much as it kills me to say (because I know my husband will hold this against me as he has been saying it for a while now), if we get to even take one family vacation in a year, we are extremely lucky. I have definitely taken this for granted over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I do still want to travel as a family in the future if the times allow it, but you can sure as hell bet that I will be making those trips feel extra special and will be even more grateful to be able to be on vacation with my family.
6. Our home
Being cooped up inside for this past while has also made me realize just how lucky we are to live where we do. Not only am I referring to Vancouver but to get a bit more granule, we have enough space in our townhouse, we are in close proximity to walk to grab groceries, we have an outdoor area that has worked very well for our crawling busy twins and the two-year old and it’s really feeling more like a home than ever before. We had been toying with the idea of selling and moving into a detached home before all of this and thought we needed more, but this whole quarantine thing has made us realize that our reasoning of just “wanting” a bigger space or whatever it was, is not necessarily the best reason for us. It’s given us perspective to see what’s really needed in the future and the awareness of what we actually “need” versus “want”.
7. Happy Hour
Holy crap do I miss being able to walk down (kids in tow) to our regular restaurant and have happy hour drinks and snacks with our friends. Before quarantine life, this was a regular weekly occurrence for us. We love happy hour and we love it even more because we can walk there and kids are allowed. Who knew that this would ever be taken away from us?! (Again, first world problem). As a parent, you look for new ways to keep your kids busy and I know it’s not just me that finds the hours of 4pm until bedtime the most challenging. The kids are either getting grumpy, bored or completely bouncing off the walls. They need a change of scenery and what better way to make that happen than to all do a family walk down to the local establishment a few blocks away. It’s a win-win for us and for the toddler. She likes the food, gets to colour and stare awkwardly at the table of people beside us, or on a more regular evening, she has her pal (boyfriend) with her at the table because his parents also like a good happy hour. It’s a happy time for all of us. Damn, I miss those days…my wallet feels differently though.
8. Being home with our children
Lastly, as much as it may sound like I don’t enjoy being home with my kids full-time these days, I really am realizing that I won’t ever have this time with them again. Sure, there are days where I really don’t think I’m going to make it through because it’s been pretty touch and go with them, but when are we ever going to get this time with them again and while they are this little? The time where they aren’t in school or daycare and we aren’t in the office or traveling for work. The time where I’m not pregnant and feeling like complete garbage and still have energy to do activities and handle the extreme mess that unfolds daily. I get to wake up, have coffee in my jammies, stay in said jammies all day if I want and hang out with my 2.5-year old and 8-month old twins and do whatever we want. Maybe the toddler will even get ice cream for breakfast?! Who knows! I can be that cool mom now because it’s not like we have anywhere to be or any sort of agenda. I get the best of both worlds when I really think about it. I get to be a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. I get to see both sides of the coin and no matter what I think in terms of which option I prefer; I am fortunate enough to get to do both. Not many people could say that before this isolation period and now, most moms can! And I’m not trying to discount just how hard it is but am strictly talking about the positives here. We get to be home with our children and as soon as we all have to go back to the office (no matter how excited we’ll be), I can assure you that I will most likely reminisce about the slower paced times when I was home with my three kids all day every day.
Yes, it’s hard to be home all day no matter who you are and whether or not you have kids. It’s really fucking hard. I think about my Nana and how hard it is for her to be completely isolated from people and not see anyone at 95 years-old. I think about our parents who can’t hug their grandchildren. I think about people’s anxiety and mental health from all of the unknown and the internal struggles people are going through. No matter who you are, it’s damn hard. There’s no real advice or answer on the subject because it’s new to everyone but the only thing I try to think about is about just how lucky we all are to live those “normal” lives pre-quarantine. I’m sure we’ll be able to live like that again one day but maybe for some of us, like me, we will appreciate things a bit more and make some positive changes along the way.