We’ve settled into something like a routine–routine lite(tm), if you will.
The kids are spending a lot more time sleeping in our bedroom; I wake up to elbows and knees I’m my side and a kid on the floor more often than not. So we usually wake up as a family around 7 or 7:30, and Tim heads downstairs to start coffee (my hero). We take care of the dog and get breakfast, sitting around the table and talking about our plans for the day.
Don’t worry, it gets much less wholesome and routine-like as the day goes on.
The kids get into their homework (much whining and fussing ensues, even from Ellie, our resident geek and academic superstar) while Tim and I assist, and check in with work-work. They’ll spend a little time with worksheets or reading or online tests. We’re not pushing the schoolwork hard, to be honest. We’re in close quarters and no one wants to fight, so we’ve set a rule that they need to do a bit of homework before screen time–how much they do is mostly up to them. We also set aside a couple chores they need to complete during the day, and remind (ie. nag) them to take screen breaks to play together, call friends, or read.
Once the homework is done, the kids usually hang out with Animal Crossing or their iPads, and we settle in to try to get some uninterrupted work time. This isn’t always possible; the dog is needier than usual (WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME DEMON HOUND), the kids get restless, and once a week I make time to run errands.
Tim takes a break for lunch while I usually work through it (see the post about me being terrible at working from home, don’t be like me). We leave the kids to forage for their own food during the day–no, we don’t literally send them out into the yard, that would be cruel! Besides, it’s way too early in the growing season to get anything of nutritional value, we won’t lock them outside until at least June. Until then, they’re eating a lot of cereal, chicken nuggets, and mini oranges–so, all the major food groups.
I usually get a second “productive” chunk of time during the afternoon; by then, the dog has settled down and the kids do chores or play. We might take a break to walk with my mom if the weather cooperates. Thankfully the kids are good at keeping themselves entertained, although sometimes we have rough days where snuggles are required, and I usually oblige because my job is more flexible.
I try to wrap things up at work around 5, but sometimes it’s 3 or 4 or 6, or whenever I can’t get the kids to stop crawling on me. Tim logs off around then, too, and he usually makes dinner. Even if it’s a “fend for yourself” night, we try to eat our last meal of the day together. You’d think living in the same house all day wouldn’t produce much in the way of news or conversation, but Gwen has a vivid imagination and a lot to say. We are not in danger of suffering from quiet in this household.
After that we’ll settle into the living room to play more Animal Crossing (we spent what would have been the kids’ summer camp money on Nintendo Switches for all, because why not?) or watch TV or play a game. We all head to bed around 9 (bedtime has gotten more relaxed since the kids don’t have to wake up early)–I always intend to stay up late to have some “me time” but that rarely happens. Pandemic life is exhausting.
The most exciting part of the week is take-out night, where we’ll order food from a local restaurant and pick it up on the way home from our weekly grocery run. We’ll rent a movie and make popcorn to make it extra special.
And that’s that. My grief at the things we can’t do has mostly subsided in lieu of appreciation for our collective health and privilege. I’m thankful for the workers who keep the world’s lights on while the rest of us hole up in our homes and wait for the storm to pass. This is hard, but we have so much to be grateful for.