3 Astounding Confessions from a Mom’s Return to “Normal Life”
Parenting through a pandemic is interesting to say the least. I never intended to home school my children and yet we spent the entire last school year in a virtual school bubble. We spent 18 months or so keeping our circles small and thinking about safety first. Now we are attempting a return to some kind of “normal life”. Time to confess my surprising realizations.
Where is my Extra Time?
All three kids went back to school in actual school buildings in September. Can someone please tell me why I still don’t have enough time to do all the things? It turns out sending your kids back to in-person school does not magically give you 36-hour days. Rude, isn’t it! I do now have 36 hours a week of child free time, which I am not at all complaining about. These 36 hours allow me to complete tasks without interruption and make my work life go much smoother. But it still doesn’t allow for the “extra” time I was sure would appear with our return to normal. There are still SO MANY THINGS TO DO and only the 24 hours in the day to do them.
I Hate Driving!
I forgot how much I hate driving. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the freedom driving gives me. I do not want to rely on some other person every time I need to do something outside of my house. But driving is not fun. Three kids and two different schools means I spend from 7:15am to 8:15am and 2:15 to 3:45pm every day in my car. Do the math. I spend 12.5 hours a week in my car only counting school drop of and pick-up. Crazy, am I right? Then there are all the other things that are a part of normal life that require us to drive around. I am grateful for a reliable car, I like to drive, even if the thought of driving around all day is not my favorite.
Routine is Nice
The best part of our return to in-person school is our return to routine. We have a time to eat and a time to sleep in a some-what regular pattern for the first time in 18 months. When the world shut down in March 2020, so did our sense of routine. Anxiety was high and we did whatever was necessary to make it through the day. Bedtimes and mealtimes went out the window. People were eating everywhere but the kitchen and watching screens until all hours. Being home all the time did not give our brains the structure they desire. If you kept up normal routines during this Pandemic nightmare – God Bless You, I am in AWE! It is nice to have a rhythm and routine back in our days. Even if it comes with the occasional “I hate school” and “I’m so tired.”
Not Quite Normal
Our return is not completely normal. We are still distanced and masked. COVID did not magically disappear and returning to school buildings means more exposure. I remind myself that we are doing the best we can, which is all that we can ever do. Even with the current set of anxieties flying in my brain, a calm returned that I missed over the last 18 months. Last confession, everything is not perfectly normal – but what is normal anyway. Normal is taking each day as it comes and making the best of the chaos. Controlling chaos is my normal and that is perfectly OK.
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I don’t think anything will ever be the same. And, Covid will always be around like all other viruses are. Sad but true. Perhaps, we can get to the point that our bodies finally learn how to combat all new strains as we do with the flu.
I agree. We are headed into some version of new normal. It is going to take time to adjust to the collective trauma of the last 2 years. It will be a process.