Yesterday the doors for The Village opened for registration.
I shared that in yesterday’s blog post, and a reader left this comment:
Would you consider a post about how we plan to live our lives after we can go back to work, school, after school activities, etc? Do you plan to go to the way things were exactly the way before? Do you plan to cut back on activities a little? I wonder if the house is easier to maintain because you have more time at home now? Maybe it just wasn’t possible before? I have 5 kids, two are moved out now though but I feel your pain!
Yes! I definitely want to address this.
Who knows how and when life will start filling back up with normal activities.
Connecticut has not officially cancelled school for the rest of the year (our last day is June 18th), but with 82 deaths yesterday — the highest daily total in the state so far (I think) — I don’t know how likely that possibility is.
Summer camps are cancelled, and I have no idea when swim team will start up again.
So I think we have a good four months of little to no activities still to go.
I have been doing a lot of thinking over the last 51 days.
A LOT OF THINKING.
I wrote about this a little bit in this post.
My pre March 2020 life was out of control.
I had designed that.
I had seriously overscheduled myself and I was operating at a pace and level of activity that was burning me out and leading me toward a nervous breakdown.
It took me four weeks of no activities for my brain to clear out enough to be able to even think clearly about it.
With five school age kids at home, life is probably going to be a little busier than people who have less kids by default.
It’s the nature of having a large family.
But I had made my life exponentially more chaotic than it had to be.
And what I realized on day 31 was that most of what I was doing was extremely unfulfilling.
I was doing so much, and at the end of the day, week, month, and year, it hadn’t necessarily improved the quality of life of my kids.
And it definitely hadn’t improved the quality of life for me.
My life before March 2020 was completely unmanageable. For me, anyway.
So, to answer that question,
HELL NO. I do NOT plan to go to the way things were exactly before.
I absolutely plan to cut back on activities, mostly for myself.
We have already decided to switch back to the swim team that is five minutes from our house instead of the team we were swimming on that was a 45 minute drive away.
This will give me nine hours a week back. An entire work day.
That’s a lot of time.
I will not be coaching swimming year round anymore.
This will enable me to be present in the evenings with the kids. It will free me up to be much more relaxed when everyone gets home from school.
There are things I’ve been able to put into place since things have slowed down.
In the last seven weeks, I have gotten a really efficient meal planning/shopping system down.
It’s part of my weekly routine, and I don’t stray from the schedule in that department.
Being super disciplined in this department has been a game changer and it has freed up so much time for me because I make my plan for the week on Thursday, go shopping on Friday, and can do some prep on the weekend.
This is one routine I am not letting go of.
As far as the kids helping out, they have learned so much in the last seven weeks.
I have taken this time to really focus on teaching and guiding them on all the life skills areas so that whenever life does fill back up with school and activities, I won’t have to devote time to training.
They will know what to do, they will have routines in place, and they’ll be accustomed to contributing to the household every day.
Even when things get busier.
The kids are cooperating better than they ever have.
Are they perfect?
No. Of course not.
They still do things to piss each other off.
They still push buttons and annoy each other and fight and cry.
All kids do that stuff.
All grown ups do that stuff!
But these last seven weeks have helped them to figure out how to cooperate and compromise and be creative and work together.
They aren’t stressed out. They aren’t overscheduled.
They aren’t overstimulated.
That is evident in how they are interacting with each other.
It wasn’t possible to stay on top of things and have the kids contributing consistently a couple months ago because my brain was not in a place to be able to manage everything.
And what I know is that getting to that place is not a place I want to go to again.
We’ve laid a lot of foundational bricks these last few weeks, and those are what will enable these routines to continue down the road.
We’ll be solid when September arrives.
And that feels really, really good.