The pandemic has tested my family’s sanity. We’ve turned our house into a joint office / daycare center. We multitask endless zoom calls alongside dishwasher unloading, toddler butt wiping (video off) and remote happy hours (video on).
We’ve never had more stress, more arguments, or more isolation. The word “bubble” once made me think of children’s laughter as they ran to catch soapy rainbows. Now that word just feels restrictive.
However…there IS a bright side to our Quarantine Life. There are many Pandemefits (Pandemic benefits). They are not just short term positives, but learnings we can use to architect a better future, post pandemic.
- My partner and I have kept our jobs. Unlike many front line and service workers, we are able to work remotely. This is something we always secretly wanted to do, but couldn’t because of our corporate ‘Face Time’ cultures. Now ‘facetime’ is in fact on FaceTime. Or Zoom. Or Google Hangout or <insert any remote videoconference tool here>. For people like us, the workforce will be forever changed. I look forward to a hybrid model in 2021 where our teams can better balance office time and home time.
- I’m more politically aware and active. Because I am home all the time, I have more time to listen to NPR, BBC and read. Due to the #BLM movement, I now follow leaders and news sources I never knew existed before. Rachel Cargle and Unicorn Riot to name a few. I am starting to grasp different versions of reality and have embarked upon a leatning journey to forever change my relation to the world and my proactive place in it. (learn, volunteer, protest, donate, change, rinse and repeat)
- Mini hugs. With kids at home, I can sneak in hugs multiple times a day. No meeting is stressful with a little person around the corner. My daughter helps me keep things in perspective. And if I get overly stressed, my little girl can come and sit on my lap. Forget Xanax. Mini hugs are the best way to melt stress.
- The pandemic has redefined family structure. For us, it’s been in a good, more inclusive way. My parents now stay for weeks on end, creating a temporary multifamily living situation. My relationship with my stepson’s mom (my partner’s ex-wife) resembles a warm sisterhood rather than the cold acquaintanceship that defines most blended families. In efforts to balance child care and work, us three parents partner together and transcend societal norms. I stay at her house a few days a week as we tag team our kiddos and zoom calls. Call us sister wives if you want, we’ll laugh. But we’re so grateful that we’ve been forced to work together to co-parent our kids. They’re thriving. And I have a new wine buddy.
- My daughter and her half brother don’t seem halved. My step son (my daughter’s half-brother) previously only stayed with us on weekends. During this new time, this ‘co-parenting mini-pod’ time, the kids are together almost every single day across two homes. There is nothing half about their relationship. They love each other with their whole hearts. They also fight with each other with their whole hearts, but that just means they’re true siblings.
And if I may conclude, love and fighting for what you love is what these Pandemefits are all about. We’ve never needed each other more. We’ve never needed our country to change more. And, in my view, change starts with love that is fertilized with understanding. So, expand your bubble, get a hug, and let societal norms go to hell. Take love wherever you can get it. You might be surprised at who surfaces as your new best friend.
Top photo credit: Elly Fairytale, Pexels
Count your blessings, not your problems.– Unknown