Coronavirus: A Working Parent’s Silver Linings
I always try to find the silver linings in tough situations, for instance, I am living out my introvert's dream during the coronavirus.
Being a parent trying to survive the coronavirus quarantine during elementary school remote learning at home has been a challenge to my busy professional and philanthropic life, but I have discovered that my mental health has vastly improved despite being forced to spend most of my time working from home. In fact, I am getting so much more accomplished working from home than I ever did shuffling my depressed behind all over town before COVID.
I think I am the only one around here who is not looking forward to going back to the way things were before the coronavirus. I love being at home where nobody can bother me but my child, a neighbor, and the random stray cats that mew outside my patio door every now and then. I love not having to drive to work every day unless I absolutely have to. I love not having to meet up with people at busy, loud restaurants; I would rather meet up for a small gathering of friends at their homes instead. I love being able to watch first-run movies at home instead of waiting in long lines at the theater and overpay for popcorn and candy. I don't want to say, "Excuse me" every time I need to go to the bathroom. I get to stay home and press the "PAUSE" button!
The same goes for concerts, too, although seeing as how I work in the entertainment industry, it is extremely odd to not have a show to look forward to seeing. But now record companies have adapted to air concerts online.
Again, my introverts dream is coming true, and I feel so guilty for admitting that out loud. I don't want to feel ashamed about it any longer!
I am an extroverted-introvert by nature, so it pleases me tremendously to work from home and not have to worry about finding child care for my daughter just so that I can attend staff meetings, board meetings, seminars, conventions, and even Friday night Girls' Night out with my friends. I am still getting used to having all of these events held on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and High-Five, but I love it way more than meeting in person. (I did warn you that I was an extroverted-INTROVERT.)
I have been hearing from a lot of my friends and colleagues lately that they, too, have found a few silver linings in their lives. Some of these forced new routines have changed them and their families for the better.
I know that I am not the only one who has discovered the surprising feelings of a more joyful life. I have been deeply reflecting on the changes my family and others have adapted to that we don't want to end when the COVID-19 scare is over.
My friend, Todd, says that he is so happy to be spending more time with his teenage son, now that high school sports have halted for the season. They have been able to do all kinds of Father/Son things that he has always wanted to do. I am certain this quarantine time has benefitted their relationship now and in the years to come when they look back.
My friend, Annette, relates that she is so happy being "forced" to work from home because now she gets to sleep in later, make her own work schedule, finally have the freedom to live her best grownup life as a night owl, host more family movie nights, go camping with her daughter, and take quick road trips that she would never have been able to fit in her busy schedule before. She has also attended virtual networking events and started online classes to improve her job skills. You go, Annette!
One of the best silver linings I have found is that I have been able to find out who my "real" friends are in this town, the ones who have called to check up on me and my kiddo to make sure we are surviving without any urgent needs. One friend of mine, Jessica, even let me borrow her carpet cleaner! The bonus silver lining is that I have made a whole bunch of new local friends--we all met on a Zoom call!
Some day we working parents (and our kids) will look back and think of these crazy times that I am calling "The Great Coronavirus Pandemic Lockdown of 2020". We will also remember all of our silver linings with fondness, tucked away between the doom and gloom of the times we are living through.