How to Do it All (During a Pandemic)

Parent taking care of a sick boy

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is no secret that the majority of us parents are now expected to work from home. We’re striving to do-it-all on a level that has never been done before. We are homeschooling our kids, keeping up with the housework, fighting for masks, toilet paper and Clorox wipes all while trying to maintain proof that we are valued employees as layoffs are plaguing many industries. It is beyond exhausting.

Everyone is searching for the magical solution, elixir, or schedule to keep our sanity, all while watching the clock move from coffee time to an acceptable hour to pour that first glass of wine.

And, here’s the thing. The answer—that magical solution—is much simpler than one might think. It is in fact so simple, that most people don’t even believe it. The solution to navigating your way through all of this chaos is that It. Is. Not. Possible. That’s right, it is absolutely not possible to do it all at 100%.

I’m not a pessimist, and I don’t consider myself a negative person. In fact, my husband would probably say I am unreasonably optimistic, a dreamer, and an overachiever (or, as he would call it “nerdy”). So, for me to claim that something is impossible is incredibly hard. But the madness has to stop somewhere. At some point we have to realize that life is drastically different than it was a month or so ago and we need to be gracious and cut ourselves some slack. Here are 6 ways to embrace the chaos as a parent during quarantine.

1. Create a Schedule. Or don’t.

Do whatever works for you! Some families thrive on the day to day routine, where others are more comfortable taking each moment in strides. Stop comparing your quarantine lifestyle to every other family on social media and just do what works for you and your crew.

2. Do all the home improvement projects. Or don’t.

Binge watch everything on Netflix and eat more junk food than you can imagine. Again, the comparison game will wreck your soul so stop the madness and stop feeling like less of a mom for not pinteresting the hell out of your children. On the contrary, if you thrive on structure, stop feeling guilty for your lack of relaxation-some people ease their anxiety by keeping busy and that is okay too!

3. Miss your “previous life” or relish in the current situation.

Either way, do you! I’ve found myself feeling guilty for wanting to go back to work one second and then secretly praying for a few more weeks home the very next second. Reality is that most people probably feel the exact same way. We are craving our routine and “old life” all while soaking up the moments that this new, less involved life has given us.

4. Enjoy that 11am cocktail. Or don’t.

Now, I’m CERTAINLY not condoning alcoholism, or bringing light to it, but I don’t think anyone will deny that this shit is hard. Pending any serious consequences, if you have minimal responsibilities — except to keep the tiny humans alive– and a glass of wine helps you do that every so often, by all means, enjoy! These are unprecedented times and as long as you don’t foresee yourself headed down a slippery slope, cut yourself a break and have some fun!

5. Cook a five course meal. Or, have cereal for dinner.

Either option is absolutely acceptable. Restaurants are closed and many of us are limiting takeout as well. With that said, if you’re into cooking, live it up. If it’s not your thing, your kids will always remember the few months they got to eat cereal and goldfish for dinner.

6. Practice gratitude.

In the midst of all things uncertain and crazy and exhausting, if there is one thing that you do and SHOULD do it is take a moment, however brief your schedule allows, to find joy in the simple things. Find happiness in those Pinterest activities or binge watching Disney+ with your kids-the screen time won’t kill them, in fact it will most likely create happy memories. Laugh with your family over a fruit loops for dinner. If you’re working from home, be thankful for your job. If you’re not working, be thankful you’re home safe and can focus on family. If you’re on the frontlines-the true heroes, know that you’re more appreciated than ever and the universe will repay you.

They’ve said that Vitamin D kills, or at least fights this virus. The sun provides us with Vitamin D. So, my advice to you is find the sunshine, and if you can’t find it then be the damn sunshine-whatever that may look like to you. Stop trying to do the impossible. Instead, find peace in the chaos and know that this too shall pass.

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