July 21, 2020

5 Ways We've Been Coping Through the Pandemic

It's been four months since COVID-19 hit and effectively shut down the world. I'll be honest and say that despite everything I was reading about this virus in January and February, I never thought we would still be here by now.

It's so frustrating that we are. The lack of leadership and politicization of the coronavirus makes me angry in ways I don't even know how to express.

When things first shut down, it was sudden and almost completely without warning. My office announced at 3:30 on a Thursday in March that they were closing at 4pm for the next two weeks. I haven't been back since. Aurora's daycare closed a few days after, before the state mandated childcare closures.

It was a rocky start and the last four months have been far from easy. Solo parenting while working from home without being able to provide any kind of change of scenery to a very curious toddler wasn't just exhausting, it was anguishing. Being on Zoom for 5-6 hours a day while trying to engage a toddler who wants to play or just wants to be held induces a level of mom guilt that frankly isn't fair.

So, with nowhere do to, here's how we've handled staying at home:

1. Daily Walks - Sometimes, twice daily. We're fortunate to live right next to a series of walking trails that lead all over the DC area. While we've never gone that far with them, waking up and getting out the door every morning has been so critical to feeling normal. We've walked in rain and shine, through cold fronts and heat waves. I could use these walks to take conference calls and Aurora was usually content to sit in the stroller and watch the world go by. After 3 months, she started getting pretty tired of our same route so we started switching things up a bit but that daily dose of Vitamin D has been such a help.

2. New Toys & Activities - I'm not one to advocate for buying your kid a new toy every week but toy rotation has been so helpful to avoid falling into that trap. Aurora has definitely gotten a lot of new toys over the last few months but I've mostly been focused on rotating her toys so she isn't playing with the same things all the time. Some of our favorite new toy finds are our water table, ice cream cart, toy laptop, and coloring books! Aurora could play with each of those forever! Things like kinetic sand, play dough (or even just bread dough), crayons, and finger paints have also been a huge help in keeping her busy while I'm working.

3. Working Out - In January, I had started a 30-Day Yoga Challenge that I ended up continuing all the way through May. There were days that getting on my mat felt like a chore but I never regretted practicing. My daily yoga practice ended as I started gearing up to train for the Marine Corps Marathon (which was finally cancelled today) but I was running more. Now that I won't be training for a fall marathon (I have no interest in running a virtual 26.2), I'll shift back to a more consistent, if not daily, yoga practice.

4. Cooking & Baking - I've been cooking and baking more than ever through this pandemic and it's beens so much fun! I've been getting so creative with baking - trying new recipes, making things up, not being afraid to mess up - it's been really liberating, actually! I haven't gotten as adventurous with cooking but that's next! We started a subscription to Hello Fresh last month because I started getting tired of having to figure out what to do for dinner every night. I don't know why meal planning through this pandemic has been so much harder but it has been. Hello Fresh has been great! I've loved the recipes, have recreated a few of them on my own, and love not having to worry about what to cook every night while still being able to actually cook, which I enjoy.

5. Socially Distant Exploring - Since the stay-at-home order was lifted, we've been trying to get out and explore outdoor places to try to change things up from our everyday routine. This weekend, we headed down to The Wharf and just strolled the waterfront, eating empanadas from The Colada Shop and ice cream from Soda Pop Shop. We've been to Patuxent River Park in Maryland and the Tregaron Conservancy in DC. If you're local, this list has some great ideas for places to explore! Our summer bucket list is to make it to all of them!

We've been very lucky that we and our family and friends have all stayed healthy. In the grand scheme of things, that's what's most important.

It's funny because as much as we travel - and, if you've followed me for any length of time, you know that's a lot - the one thing we struggle with is time. Pilots don't get a lot of vacation time at all, which is why we'll fly to Dubai for 3 days or Australia for a week. We would love to travel for longer than we normally do but The Pilot just never has vacation time to do it. Over the last few months, we've found ourselves with all the time in the world and no place to go. I'm hoping that by September or October, things will have calmed down enough for us to feel safe to go somewhere for our anniversary and Aurora's birthday but I'm honestly not very optimistic.

Tell me how you've been coping with the pandemic. 
I'd love to hear from you!

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