How? It is the question we are all asking right now. How do I make this social distancing thing work for me? For my family? How do I educate and care for my kids full time? How do I work from home or stay safe working outside of the house in this? How do I still provide for my family? How do I run errands or go to the grocery store? How do I stay connected my friends, family, and community? How can I help others in this difficult season?
We are all making adjustments and changes to our routine based on the answers to these questions. I will be honest. I do not have all the answers. Its going to be a process of trial and error to figure out what works best. But I can share some of the changes we have made this past week while thinking of these questions.
Our mudroom has become a designated de-contamination zone. L works in the medical field and last week was still seeing patients in person. He will, from now on, be tele-commuting but still driving into work each day for better internet access.
We quickly realized to ensure he doesn’t bring any “bad germs” (as I explained this whole thing to Z) home we needed to change his “coming home” routine. Instead of being greeted at the door by an excited dog and toddler we are limiting access to the mudroom. When L comes home he is dropping off all of his work items: phone, keys, badge etc. in a red box, washing his hands in the work sink, and changing his clothes (putting the “bad germ” ones in the red box too).
I am putting a clean pair of clothes in a “clean” box for L to change into everyday. This way he is not bringing the “bad germs” in with him. I let Z help me choose clothes for L to wear when he gets home. One day he choose a Christmas shirt-bright red-just to be silly.
Even though L is now tele-commuting because he is “out” everyday we decided to keep this system in place-for all of us. We are now sharing daddy’s red box and putting spare clothes in the black box for after Z’s daycare and mine grocery trips. We are making sure the mudroom is a drop off and wash up zone and nothing else. We are wiping down Z’s backpack after each trip to daycare; trading out jackets and his ducky (his lovey/stuffed animal) for the laundry frequently.
As you probably saw in my “Preschool: St. Patrick’s Day” post another change has been to do home-school preschool solo. I NEVER, like many other parents out there right now, planned on homeschooling or teaching my children; let alone doing it without help. I am grateful I have partnered with an awesome home-school mom for almost a year before being forced to branch out on my own. It is sad and hard for Z to not have any classmates. But it is providing me the one-on-one time with Z I have been craving as we prepare for baby #2 this summer.
As with many of you, my grocery shopping plans have also changed. Last week I braved the store with Z and our normal weekly meal plan. As I mentioned in my post: “Slowing Down” that was stressful. I have decided for the remainder of this season I will be going to the grocery store alone. It’s too hard to micro-manage Z’s hygiene habits and be creative in my grocery shopping; adapting my meals based on what’s available and picking up extras of things all at the same time. I bring regular cloth gloves with me to the store, when I get home use the mudroom for decontamination, then wipe everything off with Clorox wipes before it is put away.
We are choosing fruit that lasts longer in the fridge and have a rind or peels we do not eat like bananas and oranges. As for veggies we are washing everything thoroughly and forgoing raw- like salad. I know many people are also washing their foods in a vinegar and/or bleach solution (which I am familiar with from traveling abroad).
Like all of you, we are looking for ways to stay connected to those we care about. We have also been dealing with disappointment at the loss of time spent with those we love. It is easy out of fear or sadness to react by isolating more than just physically.
We are trying to find a pattern for calling or video-chatting with Z’s grandparents. I have also opened up several days of the week when I am home alone with Z doing preschool etc. for virtual play dates with my friends and their kids.
All of this is of course far from our norm but we know we will make it work. I hope these choices may provide you with some ideas or insight to stay healthy and safe. Praying for wisdom, adaptability and creativity to make the best of this season for yourself and your family.