Congratulations, we made it to April. A month typically filled with the promise of spring and, just beyond it, summer. Which it still is, but now it’s also a month that we will live entirely in quarantine. The first of its kind.
It seems like a vague memory, but way back at the beginning of March, we used to go do things. Remember that? We went to dinner! We had babysitters! We even had a party for my husband’s birthday – all of that seems unimaginable now. The mere fact that there were still days in March when the reality of this situation was unclear makes March decidedly distinct from April. Quarantine plays funny tricks with time. The first week of March really wasn’t that long ago, but the first week of May feels miles away.
April is the last school break before summer for many people, and the absence of that spring break is forcing many parents to wrestle with the reality that schools are unlikely to open for the remainder of the school year. That hits hard for both parents and kids. There’s been much discussion around the challenges that parents are facing – and with good reason. But none of this is easy on our kids either.
This was the first week I received multiple questions about kids: will their learning and development suffer/be delayed? What is the emotional impact going to be? What can/should we be doing them? They’re thought provoking, hard questions to answer. The answers change depending on myriad factors, and we’ll dive deeper into that coming up. But the best any of us can do right now is talk with and listen to our kids, lower our own stress levels (and consequently theirs), and stay connected to friends and family.
When it comes to connecting, we’re all video chatting like crazy. Some of us want more, some less. As this goes on, we’ll find our sweet spot. One aspect I’m loving though? The voyeurism that goes along with these video calls is off the charts. I’ve always been both a bit of a snoop and a fan of interior design, so this is WFH gold for me. Even CEOs at major companies can’t avoid it. Will companies start setting video rules? For the sake of stress levels, I hope not. It’s a time to relax the rules, not write new ones. It’s an opportunity for us to connect on a personal level, to let us see personalities in a way we haven’t been able to before. Please don’t give us all white backgrounds and collared shirts.
Speaking of peeking behind the scenes, I’m sending this email from my neighbor’s lawn. Not because the grass is greener (it is) or because their mango tree is full and I want to pilfer it (I do), but because my wifi stopped working entirely this week and I’m getting creative while still observing social distancing measures. That’s been a real kick to the gut. When your work is entirely online and the internet is your window to the outside world during a quarantine, losing that access smacks you back to basics in a very real way. After hours on the phone with ATT we were told that they might be able to fix it this weekend. This being Florida, they also told me it could be tree rats eating the cable. That’s exactly what one has to hear when quarantined at home with said (possible) rats and a baby.
In the meantime, we’re coming up with any solution we can. Remember when you could go to your office, a cafe or really anywhere for wifi? Not during a pandemic. The combination of quarantine and no internet has made us slow down and embrace the changes we’re all experiencing. A little slower than we’d choose, but hey, we’re spending time outside and our son has been enjoying some diaper free time in the fresh air. Ironically, being told to stay home also has us being more social with neighbors (at a safe distance) than before. Nothing builds bonds like a global disaster. Embarrassingly, the wifi sharing situation came about after a neighbor overheard me using some choice words to complain about the lack of wifi at home. Luckily she’s the kind of neighbor who responded by offering her wifi instead of complaining about a crazy neighbor.
This might be the first month we’re all officially staying quarantined, but hopefully there will still be sparks of connection, virtual or at safe distances walking near your home (don’t go places people!). Now, if only our kids could play together.