I can’t believe it’s been four months since the pandemic hit!
I would have never seen this coming. Although, I remember when I actually knew it was coming having followed what happened in Wuhan, China before it hit us. I had recently gotten into podcasts and someone at work put me on to NPR’s Up First podcast and so I’d listen every morning before driving into work thinking how scary it must’ve been in Wuhan.
My routine “back then” looked something like this:
6:00 AM wake up, make breakfast and get ready for work
6:30 AM kids wake up and we begin to get them ready for school and Nana’s house
6:40 AM eat breakfast/drink coffee
7:00 AM be ready to roll
7:30 AM GTFO of the house before I’m late for work!
7:40 AM drop youngest son off at Nana’s
7:45 AM until arrival to work…listen to podcasts/audio books (my fave podcast – Yo Quiero Dinero, A Personal Finance Podcast For the Modern Latina)
8:30 AM (if I wasn’t running late because of crazy traffic, be at work)
Work until…6:00 PM
Arrive to pick up my kid’s from Nana’s house at 7 PM
8 PM – 10 PM Eat dinner, drive home, play with kids, give kids baths, read and bedtime
10 PM – 12 AM Dishes, Shower, Scroll Phone and GO TO SLEEP
The above schedule absolutely exhausted me, but the weekends for my family were cherished. We would frequent the local library and playground for starters. We always had an extended family engagement to attend; and we’d plan at the very least, special weekends that were dedicated to family experiences. Such experiences that I am missing most so far this summer.
On the weekends, we’d wake up and get ready for the day ahead of us and here we are now in month four of the pandemic and there is no day ahead of us other than the usual. No experiences to see, touch, smell, feel except between the four walls of our home.
I do remember the beginning of all of this and I can tell you that we as a family started off strong. I am typically a positive person by nature, but I also know when to level up my positivity when it is needed most. The beginning of the Covid-19/ the “Rona” pandemic was all about “the schedule.” If you had kids you needed to figure this out or so it seemed. I did my best as a mostly unscheduled person who allowed my work day to dictate how most of how my days functioned for the most part. So I did what I saw most other moms doing and began to think through how I could take charge of my day as a new “work from home mom” who knows that no matter what my children come first. Our days were filled with painting, puzzles, legos, building blocks, play-doh, science experiments, distance learning and of course for me, working virtually.
For the first 2 weeks to almost a month, work was considerably slower because no one knew exactly how this was going to roll out and everyone needed time to adjust to our new schedules. Also my work events and activities were either postponed or canceled. I really thought at that point that I had managed this work from home thing (I was wrong). The first month of the pandemic my husband worked outside of our house so I felt like I took the challenge well. He works in Public Health. For a good chunk of the pandemic he was responsible for informing the public of their Covid-19 test results.
When finally my husband was told that he could work from home, I thought this was the dream. All four of us together as one big happy family! We did really enjoy our time together and still are, but of course it comes with its challenges as well. Together we eat all meals. Together, we watch our weekly family movie. Together, we take daily family walks and bike rides after dinner. Together, we read, we play and we go to bed. Things that couldn’t be done as much together as full time working parents.
Four months later and life doesn’t feel at all similar to the first month of the pandemic considering all that’s gone on since March. I’ve been physically, emotionally and mentally drained to say the least (I know I’m not alone here).
Now, my schedule looks something like this:
8:00 AM Roll out of bed with my kids
8:05 AM Kids get a pre-breakfast snack
8:15 AM Walk to living room and put on cartoons, make coffee and make a real breakfast for the family
8:30 AM Check in to work via my phone’s email app
8:30 AM – 6:00 PM do my best to not sit in the corner and cry while trying to keep up with the home, my children and work!
6:00 PM work from home officially ends…do my best to be present with my children, make dinner and eat…whatever…
9:30 PM attempt to put kids to bed
10:30 PM leave their room to start “my night” of showering, netflix, IGing, blogging, etc.
2:00 AM try to fall asleep
In the beginning stages I kept up with exercise, my kids painted every day, we danced together and the list of picture perfect family images goes on…
However, I can say about a couple weeks ago the funk officially hit me! In May, our annual family Disney trip was canceled, we haven’t seen our neighborhood playground in forever and exercising intentionally for me has slowed down immensely. At this point we are in the green phase in Philadelphia, where reopening of businesses have just started to happen and we won’t see our normal family go-to’s open up until sometime this week. That said, I have been jotting down a list of potential activities that I CANNOT wait to attend and plan for again- this has given me new life. I enter this new phase with much caution and will only do things I think my kids who are 2 and 4 years old can be socially distant for. So what made it to my list you might ask…
Here are the top 3 experiences and top 10 places (linked below) that I look forward to SAVING our summer here in Philadelphia.
- The Beach and Boardwalk
- Farms and Gardens
- The Zoo and Animal/Aquatic Experiences
I hope this list of experiences helps some mamas who are looking to venture out in our region or for those who are willing to take a drive. I don’t completely trust the airport at this time so we won’t be doing anything more than local travel. However, I would COMPLETELY understand if it feels too soon for some. I am really on the borderline and dipping my toe in the water. What I hope to do is try a few places on my list out and report back how my children do in hopes that it may ease some fears for families with toddlers/preschoolers like me. I do also realize that we are all in completely different stages of the pandemic and perhaps some may have ventured out before and aren’t now. That said, I think there are things that can be done right at home that I did and continue to do that really help me to enjoy/make the most of this time. The below lists were/are my homebound activities that made me feel sane at different points of the pandemic. Some which were mentioned earlier in this post. I’ll break it down by me time, toddler time and family time.
While this has been a lifelong struggle since becoming a mom I still manage to squeeze this in. Here is what I consider me time and still makes me feel happy when I think of what I’ve accomplished.
- I exercised regularly: ran in my neighborhood, did Cosmic Kids Yoga and GoNoodle with my kids every day.
- I read (paperback books, magazines, etc. that weren’t on a screen)
- I hosted a virtual party and got free goodies to help my cousin with her new makeup business
- I paid off all of my credit card debt! (I am fortunate to have continued to be employed without any salary cuts. Having less expenses now, I decided to make this a priority).
- I took blogging webinars and then started my blog!
- I practiced Puerto Rican Dishes in my new gadgets, the Instant Pot and Air Fryer. I mastered my arroz con gandules, made pastellios for the first time ever, perfected my carne and pollo guisado in the Instant Pot as an example!
Being present with my family is tough when working from home so I needed some canned activities that can be done regularly that are independent play and/or where I can pop in easily for during breaks from work (outside of my kids binge watching PBS Kids TV!)
- Play Doh with play doh kitchen sets, cutters and tools
- Legos and Mega Blocks
- Wooden Building Blocks
- Update for summer: the kiddie pool is lifesaving!
I never thought as a working mom that I could fit in any of these activities more than once or twice a week. These activities are so FEEL GOOD, easy and doable!
- Eating Meals Together
- Family Walks in the neighborhood and small walking trails in open parks
- Bike riding in our community
- Dance Parties in our living room
- Family Movies in PJs in our bedroom
I could probably continue to write on this topic and I’m sure this won’t be the last post regarding how I’ve struggled or survived during these uncertain times, but I do want to conclude this post on a positive note as a full time working mama. This may seem obvious to some, but our thoughts and energy affect our mental and emotional well being. Becoming a mom has given me the superpower to allow myself to think through my feelings in a way to stop myself from completely tipping over to full on depression mode. I think I have this skill now because I know subconsciously that my kids need me to be sane. My mind tells me that when I’m feeling out of control, I need to do something that puts me back in control of my life. I am so fortunate to be in a position that the above “problems” I mention are not so bad in the grand scheme of things. However, I still honor when I feel sad, negative and emotional, but luckily I can check back in with myself and tell myself that it will be OK and that there is positivity in these times as well. I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, but I have seen a therapist before in an ongoing manner in the past because I have been in mega funks that seemed so steep I could not get out of. However, some of us may need to seek professional support and that’s OK. We must do what is best for us and our families. I know we can come out on top of all of this. I hope that you believe this too.
Can you believe that we are living in these times? Let’s connect so we can talk this through mom to mom! Comment below or DM me @modern_latina_motherhood on Instagram!