It’s basically Groundhog Day over here, EVERY DAY for the last 2.5 years since my boys arrived. I went from a single-with-no-kids life (I call this “SWaNK”) filled with dancing, nice dinners, parties, and all the freedoms a girl could ever want to one with a baby and a toddler where I’ve been isolated in my home EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. So this social distancing thing?? Welcome to my life. Welcome to a world where I am “quarantined” at home every day starting around 4:30pm and then I execute the same exact routine for the last 2.5 years:
- 5:00pm – Figure out dinner / get dinner ready
- 6:00pm – Eat dinner followed by cleaning up
- 7:00pm – Head upstairs for bath time, PJs, brush teeth, read books
- 8:00pm – Lights out
- 8:00pm til some varied time – I sit alone trapped in my own home unable to go ANYWHERE
Ditto on the morning routine and basically the entire day. Yes, I go to work each day (well, 3 days a week in the office now) but that’s it. I don’t go grocery shopping, I don’t run errands, I don’t get to freely come and go as I wish, and I don’t get to see friends much at all. But let’s be clear – this is not actually a quarantine. And I’m sure those actually in quarantine would think we’re being pretty insensitive to their situation by saying we are quarantined. I consider this isolation. And, my goodness, adjusting to isolation was EXTREMELY challenging. And not only do I live in isolation, but my life is a hamster wheel. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and guess what? I really hate the mundane.
How have I survived isolation?
- All my grocery shopping is handled by SHIPT. Yes, it was an adjustment to have my groceries picked out by someone else but for me it has been WELL WORTH IT. I would highly recommend it. You can add notes on items to tell them to look for certain things. And no, it’s not always perfect but I would say 90% of the time it has been. You rate your shoppers so if you rate someone low, they won’t see your order next time. I’ve been using this service 2 years and it’s been a life saver. Having my groceries show up at my door? Best. Thing. Ever!
- Calls with friends. I’m reading a book with a friend and one night a week we discuss one chapter. We have our own little book club and I feel so accomplished having read TWO books together already!
- Friends visit me. Thankfully, there are a couple friends still lingering and I have one mom friend who comes to visit me at 8pm once a week just to chat for a couple hours! Since she has a husband, she can leave. What a concept! 😉
- Worship night. Once a week I put on worship music, dance around my house, and just sing His praises, cry, listen, sit in His presence, and let it out. Followed up by journaling and getting those millions of thoughts out of my head.
- Routine, routine, routine. About a year ago I slipped into a really ugly phase of rebellion. I used to be super self-disciplined with taking care of myself (so that I can take care of my kiddos) meaning there would be many nights I would simply shower and go to bed after they went to bed. But then one night I stayed up extra late to watch a movie for myself. And it felt really great to finally do something for me. But unfortunately this was the beginning of some kind of internal rebellion for my own time and I began staying up later and later and later doing TOTALLY unproductive things like starting at my phone and scrolling facebook or binge watching a show. I truly think I am now addicted to my phone and that has never been me. And thus I’ve been trying to break free from this for many months but wow bad habits are hard to break!! In my most recent attempt I set up a daily activity schedule for both the boys and myself for after they go to bed.
- Monday: Boys can watch TV (because they ask to do this EVERY DAY it has allowed me to say “Nope, it’s not Monday!” #parentingwin). I read a book.
- Tuesday: Boys play games. I do my worship/journaling
- Wednesday: Boys have a dance party. I have my friend visit.
- Helpers. Thank you Jesus for the connections I’ve been able to make through the foster care world or my church. There was a time when I had evening help every Monday and every other Tuesday. Not only is this help in the obvious way with the boys but it’s been a massive bonus for my mental health and breaking up the mundaneness.
- FaceTime therapy. Yes, folks, there is such a thing! There are therapists that will do virtual calls. A MUST do!
- Ice cream. Yeeeaahhhhhh….I wouldn’t recommend this one but it truly has helped me survive! It’s basically my reward for surviving yet another day. At least it’s only a coffee mug size right? Funny story, I recently switched to wine! 😀 Not sure which is better for me?! Feel free to weigh in on that.
The truth is that isolation is hard if it is not your normal way of life. I had to find a new normal. Something I’ve had to do multiple times in my past. This time around, for my own sanity I had to keep seeking ways to improve my new normal since the isolation period went WAY longer than expected. There were times when I actually felt like I was in some sort of mean psychological test – how long can she go until she actually goes crazy?! And I’m currently going through another round of that with the #threenager and ALL THE SCREAMING. But each time I took a break, asked for help AGAIN, and made adjustments to make things better. If you have a hard time asking for help, don’t go into foster care. There are no egos here or pride; just trying to do what’s best for two little boys and that means having other adults in their lives that they can trust.
And the greatest thing of all? God knew all of this was going to happen! And He’s got me and you and everyone! That doesn’t mean everything is going to turn out like I/you want. But there is no need to worry or be anxious because it is HIS WILL be done, not mine. Besides, worrying doesn’t help the situation at all. I know this is way easier said than done (believe me, I was plagued with worry when I didn’t know what would happen with my boys) but in the end it’s all a mental game. And you can win this game. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Speak LIFE-giving words over yourself and your family. Pray, pray, pray and talk to God. Read GOOD things, not just the BAD things. And do your best to believe He’s turning this unexpected, challenging, sad, and messy difficult time into something beautiful. Because I can tell you, HE IS.