We’re over a week into this quarantine thing and life has gotten really weird for so many people. Daily routines have been disrupted and many familes are trying to find their new normal in a time that is anything but normal.
Almost 10 years ago, I went from an attorney, who wore nice clothes and went out to lunch, to a SAHM of two babies, in the middle of RSV and flu season. We were quarantining and hand washing before it was cool. Even after the winter, it was just really hard to get out with two babies. Add in a few more babies born late in the year, and a bonus of a life threatening food allergy and we became professionals at the quarantine life.
Following are a few tips that have been helpful for me to keep my sanity over the last decade.
Get Dressed Every Day
I know that first week you’re all “Yes! I can spend the day in pajamas!” but, I promise you, that will get old and a little bit depressing sooner rather than later. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but do make an effort to change into something that makes you feel like a functional human who can leave the house if she wants (even if that’s not really an option right now.)
Make Your Bed
I can see the eyerolls now but, hear me out: it’s a lot harder to get back into a bed that’s already made. Just use this as another signal to start the day.
Have a Routine
We all have the friend who, the day after school closed, had a beautiful, color-coded schedule posted on Facebook as #goals. While I fully admit to my type-A, hyper organized ways, I am not the color coded schedule girl anymore. With twin babies, I did have a very rigid schedule and, it’s hard to follow perfectly and can be more stressful than having no schedule at all.
Kids, however, crave structure and a flexible routine is a great way to do that. Try to start your day around the same time every day, then build in play time, meal time, work time (for your kids in school) and rest time for the little ones. Every family will find their own rhythm and flow and it may take some trial and error.
Set Regular Meal and Snack Times
That routine? This is part of it. It’s SO easy to graze all day long, but, if you make time in your day to stop and have a meal, and do the same for the kids, it gives structure to the day, and remember kids want that. They have snack time and lunch time at school, so find a time that works for your family and set those times (flexible, of course).
Give Everyone Some Grace But Try to Enjoy Your Time Together
Unless you’ve been home with small children for years and/or are homeschoolers, this is a really different world for your family. Everyone under the same roof, all the time can be jarring if you’re used to heading in different directions. Celebrate the small changes that may make life less hectic – no car line woes, no need to meal plan based around activity schedules and less time spent in traffic.
That being said, it’s not all about snugglegs and board games. Stuff has to get done. Now is not the time to be rigid about screen time. It’s not a bad idea to limit super addictive stuff like Fortnite, but, if you need to have a 2 hour period every day where kids are watching TV or playing games so you can get work done, embrace it. This isn’t forever.
I know it’s intimidating to see all these intense color coded schedules posted on social media and it’s easy to just hang out in pajamas every day (see tip #1) and pray for everyone’s survival. Trust me, though, that once you stumble through this and find a routine that works (and you will stumble, and you probably won’t find the right routine on the first try), your days will fall into a rhythm that can somewhat tame the chaos.