I find it funny that, when it’s not always socially acceptable, I’d rather stay home, but, when it is socially expected, I’d rather go out. As an introvert who’d rather stick to sliding along the walls to avoid as many people as possible, staying home makes me happy. But now that I’ve been ordered to stay home, well, I don’t like being told what to do.
Initially, I was going to write about how to combat isolation when you live in an apartment and have no outdoor space except a small balcony because that’s our life right now. But, other than opening up the door to the balcony and snuggling with the screen to get some fresh air and maybe some slivers of sunshine, I couldn’t think of anything else. Instead, I decided to write about how I’m passing my time while being stuck at home.
How to Pass the Time When Stuck Inside
1. Have a child (or more) who need to be taught. I don’t like calling it homeschooling because, with homeschooling, there’s more freedom to decide what to do each day. My son happens to have an incredibly involved teacher who does virtual classes, has set up a daily schedule, and sends daily assignments. By the time we’re done with everything, after having started between 8 and 8:30, it’s lunch time and my son is pooped. So, I call it school at home because that’s literally what he’s doing. He has his school curriculum and his teacher available to him while he’s stuck at home. Needless to say, schooling takes up most of our mornings.
2. Have a second, younger child who only wants to play. When my son is taking a much needed and earned break (he’s in Kindergarten, so I have to work alongside him), my daughter, who’s about 3 years younger, demands my time. She adores jumping on her bed, flinging her plushies around, and playing with every toy we have. By the end of the day, we have a minefield of toys because I was too busy and too tired to pick them all up.
3. Feel thankful for naptime/quiet time. My daughter takes a little over an hour and a half nap and my son is quite attached to doing quiet time during the same time. He absolutely refuses to come out of his room until snack time, so I use that time to read blogs or just read a book or maybe lie down and try not to actually fall asleep.
3. Afternoon activities. After a nice long nap/quiet time, my kids are ready for a snack and play time. Sometimes they like to amuse themselves for about 10 minutes, other times I usually have activities they like to say no to. Either way, I try to keep them active. Our favorite games are Simon Says, do what I do, and the floor is lava. It’s exhausting, but at least they time themselves out. Sometimes.
4. Daddy comes home early. My husband is considered an essential worker as he’s a scientist. He is able to do part of his work at home and part of it in the lab. He goes in only when he has to, so usually leaves early to be home early. He’s usually home in time to take over so I can get dinner ready. And then it’s dinner time and the kids are usually ready to curl up for some technology time, or a movie if my husband is sick of the coronavirus news. Or more bouncing on the bed. I don’t have kids; I have bunnies.
5. Dessert and cards. We’re an avid Jeopardy! watching family, so we wrap up dinner and active games by 7pm. We have dessert during Jeopardy! and then I get some much needed me time when I take a shower and my husband gets some time alone with the kids. He usually spends that time getting them ready for bed. About a half hour before bed, we’ve taken to playing cards.
6. Collapse after the kids are in bed. I think that should be self-explanatory. Sometimes my husband and I watch TV and sometimes he has a bit of work or I have some blogging to do. But, usually, we’re exhausted and just want to crawl into bed. To sleep.
And that’s how you pass the day when you’re stuck inside. If you have kids.
Now, for how I’d much rather pass the day if I didn’t have kids.
How I’d Like to Pass the Day When Stuck Inside
1. Read and write. I’d love to spend my mornings divided between reading and writing. I have so many books that need to be read, so many reviews to write, so many stories that are screaming to be written, and so many blog posts that keep tapping on my brain. I could easily spend 4-5 hours working on all of that. As well as the afternoons. Actually, I’d do that in the evenings, too.
2. Do laundry. I actually find doing laundry to be quite therapeutic. I love getting those dirty clothes, linens, and towels clean. Folding always makes me feel better. The nice warm fabrics, the soft flowery scent, and the knowledge that I now have clean clothes makes me quite happy.
Actually, never mind. You know what I’ll be doing instead if I didn’t have a family to take care of? Losing my mind. Talking gibberish to my cat. Finding years’ old projects to complete. Watching daytime talk shows that don’t amuse me, but somehow keep me company. Finding textbooks to read. Staring out windows. Counting down the minutes to when my husband is on his way home. Cleaning.
How do I know that? I lived it about a decade ago. My husband and I had moved across the country to a place where we both would have an hour and half commute in opposite directions. We only had 1 car at the time, so I was stuck at home. We literally lived in the middle of nowhere, I was experiencing the suffocating humidity for the first time, and we knew exactly 0 people in the area. Leaving the apartment made me feel like I was doing to die because it was so hot and oppressive, so walks were out. I spent our first month there stuck inside. It’s was horrible. We got a fish who died and then a hamster who slept all day because I couldn’t take the isolation and loneliness anymore.
This, the way we’re living now, is hard as we now have two kids, but I’d take this kind of staying at home versus the other kind because at least I have things to keep me busy, things I’m dying to do and that I will get to when I have a moment, and people to talk to (instead of an animal that will just ignore me, though my cat still and will always do this).
This could be worse. Indeed, it may get worse. But we’ll find ways to get through it.
Get some fresh air. Get some sun. Talk to a loved one. Count your blessings that you’re still alive and/or healthy as far as you know. One day we will be released out into the wild. And I, for one, will long for the peace of the days of today.