Your parents drop by to “see” the grandkids. They stand outside the back-patio window and wave joyously to the 4 kids inside. The kids start jumping up and down, squealing with excitement and run to open the door. The grandparents start waving their arms in panic and screaming, “No, don’t open the door!”  The kids are bewildered and don’t know what to do. Two of them start to cry. “Why can’t they come inside?!  Why can’t we hug them???”

A week before this soul-crushing incident, we had to tell our 7-year old that he can’t have a birthday party this year and won’t see any of his friends for the foreseeable future. The defeated look in his eyes was heartbreaking, to say the least. Explaining this mess to kids is nearly impossible and most adults still can’t get their heads around what it all means.

 

Survival Mode

The Coronavirus has turned everyone’s world upside down in a matter of weeks and there is no telling what will happen or when it will end. We have all been ripped from the comfort of our routines and are having to figure out how to work remotely, keep our children educated, isolated, and alive while trying to maintain our households and stay healthy.

We are stay-at-home parents, work-at-home parents, and part-time schoolteachers all at the same time. We are in survival mode, trying to stay safe and sane, all while doing more jobs than humanly possible. The laundry is piled up, the house is a disaster, the kids are watching too much TV, we are already behind on schoolwork, my roots are showing, and my patience and sanity are tested multiple times a day.

There may or may not have been some instances where I did not have a proper shower over a 24-hour period. Overall, I’d say we’re doing fine.

After the first full week of working from home alongside our 7-year-old, 5-year old and 2-year old twins, my husband and I recounted what a horrendous week it had been over a bottle (literally, the whole bottle) of wine. Then, something magical happened that completely changed my attitude. I scrolled through the photos on my phone and remembered there were a lot of bright spots mixed in with all the stress and anxiety.

“Then, something magical happened that completely changed my attitude. I scrolled through the photos on my phone and remembered there were a lot of bright spots mixed in with all the stress and anxiety.”

  • We took multiple walks around the park as a family. We played board games with our bigger kids after the twins went to bed.
  • People were putting stuffed bears in their windows to make others smile.
  • My son’s first-grade teacher did a drive-by visit to say hello and goodbye.
  • We had friends and family surprise us with fun treats by mail or left on the porch.
  • We had massive facetime and Zoom meetings with friends, family, and co-workers.

 

Week Three

We are now entering week three of sheltering in place and we keep finding more bright spots. The scarcity at the grocery store has forced us to take meal planning more seriously and start cleaning out and utilizing the food that’s been in the deep freeze for months. On the days we’re not preparing meals, we are focused on helping the local restaurants that we care about. We are remembering to check in with our parents and neighbors regularly to see if they are okay and if they need anything.  During our normal hectic pre-COVID lives, these things were not top priorities.

Our oldest son has learned to ride a bike without training wheels. We had been talking about teaching him for over a year now and have finally made time for it.

“This crisis has forced us to focus on togetherness and to do more than we thought we were capable of.”

New Normal

My favorite author in the “motivational/getting things done” space, Jon Acuff, posted a video stating that a crisis is a starting point for learning something you wouldn’t have made the time for voluntarily. It is a crash course in innovation. I think he’s right.

  • I’ve had to figure out how to get my work done for my day job, and take care of the kids, and take care of myself.
  • It has forced me and my husband to communicate and get creative on how we will accomplish what needs to get done each day.
  • I’ve started waking up earlier to try to get a workout in before the daily craziness begins. I’ve learned some pretty good moves from these old Jillian Michaels and P90X workout videos!
  • We have started a daily gratitude practice. Each night before bed, we ask our older boys to share what they are most thankful for today. Then we sing “Jesus Loves Me” together and tuck them in.

I’ve been connecting on Facetime with friends that I haven’t seen in years. We’ve been on more walks as a family in the past two weeks than we had in the previous five years. This crisis has forced us to focus on togetherness and to do more than we thought we were capable of.

Somedays the kids are sweet to each other and play well together, other days it is more like a toddler version of Game of Thrones. Somedays, we feel good about what we’ve accomplished and enjoy a nice family dinner together. Other days the kids are watching Paw Patrol while eating popcorn and chocolate chips off the floor.

 

Look For The Bright Spots

I know these are stressful times, but it won’t be like this forever. If you look for the bright spots, you will find them.

I’ve learned that I must actively choose to see the joy in each day and focus on what I can control. I’m hopeful that we will look back on what we experienced during this season and be stronger and wiser because of it. Hang in there, friends. We will get through this! I look forward to giving you a big hug once this is over.

 

Jamie Bosse, CFP®, RFC is a Financial Planner at Aspyre Wealth Partners. For help with your specific situation contact Jamie Bosse at jbosse@aspyrewealth.com, (913) 345-1881 or visit our website at AspyreWealth.com. We help successful people Master What’s Next® – whatever phase of life they are in.

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