By Katie Redmond, photographer and community volunteer
As a business owner and mom, I have a lot of practice juggling life with two boys while working from home, but things definitely look a bit different these days. The world is feeling a little crazy right now so our number one goal is to make sure the boys feel safe and have a sense of normalcy while we are stuck home. My hubby still needs to head into work, so most of the day it’s just the three of us navigating our new normal. But I feel like we’ve been pretty lucky. Working from home has given us more flexibility then a lot of families have right now. My youngest is missing his teacher and friends but at 3 years old he really doesn’t grasp what’s going on. He just wants to know how long we will be home. He asks every… single… day. To which I reply, “all day, buddy”. But really, his life is the least affected by all of this because preschool was only part-time, so he and I are used to spending lots of time together.
This situation has a much bigger impact on my 6th grader. He’s taking it all in stride but there’s a lot of unknowns around what the rest of the school year will look like and of course he’s missing his teachers and friends too. Technology lets everyone stay connected but it’s just not the same as having that face-to-face interaction. But our school district is doing such a fabulous job. They’ve put together materials for the kids to work on at home and resources for those that have a need. I am confident that they will continue to do the best they can for our kiddos. Our job as parents is to support that effort. For me that means my workday is a little more staggered so that I can be present for the boys. We do more activities together as a family throughout the day, but I was a child of the 80’s. I am all about giving the kids some freedom to explore and find ways to entertain themselves. With my oldest, he’s looking for a little more independence so I can be involved but I don’t have to hover. And I love that we have some really great conversations.
When we first heard that schools were closing, he and I talked about what that would look like for our family. I wanted to make sure he understood what was happening and to be clear that while he’s not in school, this isn’t a vacation. Both boys have schoolwork and reading every day but they also get to fill the hours with fun new activities. There’s so much freedom right now for creative play, science, art, games, projects, family time, and yes, even video games and movies. We are getting things done but at a new pace and enjoying some quality time while we do them. My 3-year-old has the best attitude. He loves having his brother home all day, and while he has no clue what’s going on in the world right now, he does know that he’s getting to spend a lot of time with his favorite people. He’s just a little sad that those people don’t include his grandparents, because we are practicing social distancing.
All of our lives have all been turned upside down. It’s stressful, and there’s a lot of unknowns. We can’t make plans. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the school year. I miss my clients. I’m having to get creative with my business. We miss Boy Scouts, family outings, and being out in the community. But instead of focusing on all that negative… we try to focus on what we can control. I start each day with my gratitude journal. It helps me to focus on the good and it reminds me to look for things to be grateful for. Some days I am thankful that the sun is out, that we have time for extra cuddles, there’s more time to watercolor, the boys can chase dinosaurs and have a picnic in the yard even though it’s a school day, we don’t have to rush around at all in evenings… While having the boys home all day was certainly not the plan, it hasn’t been all bad. Of course, we are all looking forward to getting back to school and work but I hope when we do, we make an effort to scheduling a little less so that we can savor more of those moments that only happen when life slows down.