‘I haven’t cleaned out a single closet or sorted a single pile, and neither have my children.’: Mom says ‘make the most of your time during quarantine, whatever that may mean’

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“I haven’t done a single extra project during the entire coronavirus stay-home season so far.

I haven’t cleaned out one closet or raked a square inch of my yard or repainted any room or sorted a solitary pile, although I’ve got closets and inches and rooms and piles aplenty that could stand the attention.

Neither have I had my at-home children do these things because they are busier than ever trying to do their schoolwork and their jobs that now take more time than ever to figure out and accomplish well.

If you have done these things (and more), please know I stand in awe and admiration of you. I am applauding you.

I started to wonder, though, what, exactly, I HAVE been doing with my time.

I finally figured out that I haven’t been doing extra things, but I have been doing some unusual things. Maybe this is what you’ve been doing, too.

I’ve been baking with my teenager in the middle of weekday mornings. I’ve been cooking family dinners every night. (For a family with two older children who’ve danced several nights a week for years, this every-night-dinner-all-together deal is a bit of a shock to the system.)

I’ve been telling my stressed college daughter, ‘If there’s a thing in the world I can do to make life easier for you right now, just say it.’ And so, the other night, when she messaged me from her room upstairs while I was downstairs and asked, ‘Could you possibly bring me a popsicle?’ I thought that I’d never been happier to do anything in my life.

I’ve been watching movies until midnight with my college-bound high school junior after my husband has gone to bed. This feels like bonus time with her that I’ll look back on and treasure when she’s many hours away at school.

I’ve been going on ‘walk ‘n’ talks’ with several friends, though I almost never normally talk on the phone. I’ve logged miles and hours along my country road, chatting on my cell phone with friends while they talk on theirs, whether they’re walking or crocheting afghans while they talk.

I’ve been trying to check in with people.

I’m so thankful for getting through this extraordinary, unprecedented time in history, but it’s not a competition. There is no grand prize for the person who emerges from quarantine with the cleanest closets or the tidiest yard or the newest recipes tried, or the longest list of books read (though those are all good things that are prizes unto themselves, of course).

We are all doing what we must do to get through this with our families healthy and intact. We’re all doing some unusual things—and some usual things in unusual ways. We’re not trying to win against each other; we’re trying to win with and for each other.

For some, getting through and winning means staying busy and tackling those closets and yards. For others, it means being quiet and reflective. For still others, it means doing what they must do to meet the needs of children who are suddenly home in vastly extended quantities.

Sometimes, making the most of our time means doing more, and sometimes, it means doing less. Either way, the point is to make sure the people we love know how much they mean to us.

That’s how we all win.”

Courtesy of Elizabeth J. Spencer

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Elizabeth J. Spencer, blogger at Guilty Chocoholic Mama, of Battle Creek, Michigan. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Elizabeth:

‘I understand you’re not in the stadium to see the marching band or cheerleaders, but PLEASE clap for our kids, too.’: Band, cheer mom reminds us to ‘yell, applaud’ for the marching band, ‘they work incredibly hard too’

‘Last night, I slept on my teenage daughter’s bedroom floor. It was all I could do.’: Mom realizes she can no longer ‘slap on a bandage, give a kiss’ to fix teen daughter’s pain

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