Here is how I gauge that we are losing our minds a little: it seems a daunting task to try to get all four of us out of the house. I find myself drawn to pop-up ads that have masks built into the neck of a sweater. Hours go by each morning and I have no idea what I did with the time. Like a hamster spinning in its wheel, I am not getting anywhere each day and yet I keep getting back into that same wheel every day. When I see how many subjects my kids are able to learn in a day during “schome,” surely, I can get a single task off my list done, but I must be in some sort of time warp. Or I am really going bananas?
Yesterday was a beautiful day, and I went out for an hour in the morning to teach a class. My husband wanted me to get back when it was over so we could all get out and go somewhere together.
We planned to leave around 1:30, but didn’t leave the house until close to 4 instead. My daughter wanted to finish some school work and my son wouldn’t get out of his PJs despite my 17 attempts at asking. He wanted me to wrestle with him, which I did, but when I was done, he said I didn’t play long enough. I seriously can’t win these days. On the 18th time of me asking/yelling, he came downstairs still not out of his PJs, sat down, and started crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he said he really didn’t know. He explained that he really wanted to wrestle but when I asked if that was what he was crying about we just started laughing together.
This inability to motivate and transition from one activity to the next is more intense these days. We get used to staying home so much that it is getting literally harder and harder to pull up our big-boy pants and go.
Moods feel contagious these days. When my daughter finally got done with her homework and we could actually leave the house, she came out of her room in a funk. She begrudgingly got herself ready, but she had a pretty strong frown to display to me that she did not feel like going anywhere. Moments before, I was getting cabin fever and really wanted out. Between her pout and my son’s guttural whining, I was losing excitement about our adventure by the second.
Pushing through and pretending to ignore all the negativity spewing around me, I got everyone into the car. We headed out for ice cream and that started to help melt away the moods, but what really did the trick is the tried-and-true beach. It’s really hard to feel bonkers at the beach.
My husband and I grabbed our surfboards and went right into the water. I had a smile on my face as we paddled out. Being outside with enough space is magical. Face masks, pandemics, politics, computers, social media are all things that disappear from my mind. All four of us felt at ease and things stayed that way until we woke up today – a school day. We are all feeling a bit nutty again now, but since it is almost 2 p.m. and no one has cried yet, I am taking that as a win.
Shea Andreone is the writer of a blog called Twig-Hugger. She has also been published on the Next Family, Single vs. Married and Expressing Motherhood, and has written numerous plays and scripts. Shea lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, son and Hazel the dog. She enjoys family time, pizza and the great outdoors.