We’re well into our second month of school closures and WFH. Time has taken on a thick, heavy quality - the kind usually reserved for mid-summer afternoons too hot to do anything quickly or efficiently. Only it’s not summer. Not yet anyway.
My husband and I have settled into this reluctant reality, our schedules saving us from descending into complete chaos. From the moment we wake to when we collapse in bed, having binge-watched one too many episodes, we are constantly rotating between running our companies, caring for and educating our daughters and taking care of home duties like meals, dishes and laundry.
We’re not alone. Fully 1/3 of the workforce are working parents facing some version of this marathon.
It’s not all bad. Tonight, after dinner we all went for a walk. It had rained all day and finally, the sun broke through for a short evening appearance. Our neighbours had the same idea - we shouted a greeting to one family playing catch in their front yard and waved at our elderly neighbours on their porch. Not realizing the time, we meandered through the blocks when we started to hear pots banging and whistles and clapping.
7:00pm. In Canada, the time to show our appreciation for our tireless healthcare workers. We joined in from our walk and saw even more neighbours as everyone stood in their doorways.
And I thought, “I’m going to miss this.”
The guilt immediately chases the thought away. How could I possibly want anything of this time to linger, let alone remain?
But it’s true. We now eat our dinners (and often our lunches) together, around the kitchen table. We’re not rushing from a full day’s schedule trying to chase a full evening’s schedule. Life has ceased to be a game of “How much can you pack in?” Instead, the girls roam aimlessly in the backyard. They come up with games to play and things to do to pass the time that spans in front of them in long, glorious, uninterrupted, unscheduled reams. We see our neighbours and stop to say hello. We drive by our friends’ houses and honk to say hi, knowing they’ll be home, because, well, where else will they be?
That’s when I realize - we’ve been returned to our childhoods. This magical, mythical things that we always point to being simpler and saner. And you know what? We were right.
How do we return to the world and have the world returned to us, without losing this bit of perfection we’ve been gifted?
I don’t know.
But I want to try.