Yesterday was a tough day. I had postpartum complications and had to weigh going to the ER and exposing myself to coronavirus versus staying home in pain and risking additional complications. Today, I’m happy to be feeling better and more like myself but with a potentially life threatening situation looming in my mind, I’ve been thinking about how the past four weeks of social distancing have came and went. I haven’t had too much time to sit and think because I just had a baby and when you have a baby, you’re thinking in two hour increments. This isn’t necessarily a positive character trait but I tend to internalize stressful situations, harboring them inside until I have a chance to process what is happening. A show must go on mentality.
Last night, I allowed myself a chance to feel and come to terms with the immense stress I’ve been under, that we have all been under. Of course, I’m grateful to be safe at home. Social distancing is minor compared to the physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other essential workers on the frontline facing this global pandemic. It’s also nothing compared to patients with coronavirus on a ventilator, fighting for their lives.
Still, even at home, the decisions we have all had to make seem impossible at times. We have had to adjust our way of life and choose between going to the ER in a panicked situation or staying home. Taking your baby with you to the ER so you can continue to nurse him or keep the baby home and risk your milk supply going down. Going to the grocery store for fresh produce or staying home in quarantine. Taking your baby to the pediatrician for a weight check or staying home and attempting a weight check through telemedicine. Getting your work done or home schooling your children. Having a bris for your son or waiting.
That being said, I wanted to share things that bring me joy while social distancing. When I’ve spent an hour agonizing over the right next step for my family, sometimes it’s nice to step back and think about the good things in life that bring happiness. They’re all minor individually but together, they’re helping me retain parts of myself and my old life. I hope this list gives you some ideas if you also sometimes struggle with this new way of life.
Things That Bring Me Joy While Social Distancing
♥ Having dinner outside on our roof deck and listening to music – It’s almost like we’re in Crete, having dinner outside by the water, clinking our glasses together and toasting to the future…but not quite. Nevertheless, there is something about the fresh air and musical favorites playing in the background. Any remnants of the past help us relax and appreciate these moments together.
♥ Nursing Brody in the middle of the night and having Perry keep me company – I’m still getting used to those 3am feeding sessions but having my first baby with me once in a while makes them surprisingly better. She sneaks into our bed, squeezes between Julian and me, puts her head on my shoulder and waits for me to finish nursing. Once I finish and put Brody back into his bassinet, we put our arms around each other and snuggle under the comforter. It certainly takes the edge away and makes me smile when all I want to do is get at least six hours of sleep.
♥ Morning showers – I’ve been trying to time Brody’s morning feeding so he’s done eating by 7am and I can have half an hour before the big kids wake up to shower, get dressed and maybe even put some mascara on. On days when the timing works out, it’s a good day. Otherwise, I’m constantly looking for a window of time to take a shower and so obviously the shower never happens.
♥ Freshly washed sheets – This has been my weekly (okay biweekly) reset button. It may be the milk stains, Brody’s spit-ups or waking up in the middle of the night in postpartum cold sweats, but I am highly motivated to wash our bedsheets as often as possible. Ending the day with a cannonball jump into a freshly made bed is one of my greatest joys in life.
♥ Seeing your kids get closer – As much as J and I try to provide entertainment for the kids throughout the day, it is no match for the entertainment they provide each other. Perry and Dylan have become besties and can often be seen pretending they’re on a plane to California in the middle of our living room with their “baggage” and plenty of in-flight snacks.
♥ Laughing – For a few days after we brought Brody home, the idea of watching a show or movie didn’t even register. I was too busy nursing, trying to increase my milk supply, and getting used to our new normal. We started getting back into our regular ways as much as we could and allowing ourselves to laugh at the absurdity of things, have dance parties, chase each other through the house and remember what made our home warm and inviting in the first place.
♥ Sending letters to friends and family – I can’t remember the last time I sent a physical letter to someone before social distancing but lately, Perry and I have been sending letters to friends and family. She’s enjoying learning how to address a letter, where it goes, and how it gets to the end recipient. It’s been a nice way to stay connected while doing something educational.
♥ Going through my skincare routine on Sunday nights – People often perceive beauty to be frivolous but I think it’s truly the opposite. A skincare routine won’t fix your problems but it does provide 10-15 minutes of peace and quiet and a chance to indulge in something for yourself.
♥ Brainstorming content ideas for Little Blank Diaries – With plenty of time at home and frequent feeding sessions, i’ve had some time to think about blog content and upcoming projects. Another bright side – I have learned to type one-handed with my left hand and it’s not a bad skill to have.
♥ Discovering a new show to watch with Julian – We’re on episode two of Westworld and it looks like I’ll be just as addicted to this show as I was to Game of Thrones. Sitting down and watching a show with a glass of wine at the end of the day has been a really nice nightly routine post pregnancy.
♥ Paying attention to how much time I spend on social media– With frequent news alerts and my existing addiction to Instagram, like many of us I’ve been spending an excessive amount of time on social media. I’m slowly getting back to my digital detox and trying to replace social media time with human interaction.
♥ Limiting news updates – In the beginning of social distancing, I was all about the nonstop news updates. Now, I limit them to 1-2 times per day, unless a major update comes through. Although I want to stay informed, the constant negativity was a bit too much.
♥ Dance parties with Perry and Dylan – Allowing myself to be a kid again with the silliest kids I know has been nourishing my soul.
♥ Cooking with Perry and Dylan – It has been so fun learning how to make something together for the first time. Some of our favorites are sugar cookies and banana bread.
♥ Drinking two 32 oz bottles of water per day – Drinking water throughout the day has helped me feel like my normal self with more energy. Understandably, I was feeling week after giving birth. Eating healthy, drinking water, and running after my kids has been helping me as I heal.
♥ Going to bed an hour early to read – When at least two out of three kids are sleeping, I try to go to bed early so I have time to read and write in my journal.
♥ Taking 10 minutes to write in my journal at the end of the day – Lately that looks like nursing Brody on my left side and writing on my right side but I’ll take it! Nothing clears my mind more than writing in my journal and getting all my thoughts out. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it’s often more helpful when it’s not. I write without editing so I can get my most raw feelings on paper. It has been my primary method of making sense of things. That and late night conversations with Julian while drinking wine and feeding Brody.
♥ Not thinking about worst case scenarios and everything spiraling out of control – I can usually keep things in perspective but this week was tough. We’re doing everything we can to maintain social distance but of course, we’re constantly worried about getting coronavirus or passing it to someone else. I’ve been focusing my thoughts on being thankful for everyone’s health and grateful to be at home with my family.
♥ Calling friends and catching up – Virtual air hugs may not be quite the same but being able to speak to a close friend certainly helps. I can’t remember the last time I just sat on my couch, put my feet up and talked on the phone for half an hour while twirling the phone cord around my finger. Minus the phone cord, I have been trying to call a few friends a week and it has been wonderful.
Everyone’s experience at home is so different. What has been really hard? What brings you joy while social distancing?