‘To be fully honest, if I didn’t stay busy, I’d eat all of the quarantine snacks while standing in my kitchen staring at my phone.’: Quarantined mom urges ‘take it all one day at a time’

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“Welcome to your new school! We were three months into the second half of the school year and at 1:00 p.m. last Friday afternoon, everything changed. School as we knew it was over. Everything as we knew it was over. Within a quick 24-hours, I became a full-time-working-stay-at-home-full-time-home-schooling-mom. I had no idea how it was all going to happen.

None of us did.

Distance learning from our school starting and we had to make it happen. We had to make something happen. For me, creating the physical space was critical. Unsure of how long this was going to last, I knew I could not live with a random string of school-based items existing within all areas of our house. Clutter would not be my friend during this time.

My daughter has a desk in her room, so her space was easier. We cleaned up a few things, made sure her outlet was free for ongoing laptop charging and switched out the stool for the comfier fluffy chair. My son doesn’t have a desk. He’s 8. He has a dresser, a bookcase, and a nightstand… and lots of floor space occupied by random groupings of stuffed animals, dinosaurs, and a hand-selected collection of rocks, mismatched car pieces, and nerf darts.

Our beloved house was built in the ’70s and apparently it was all the rage then to engage in desk-type activities in your laundry room. I can think of countless times when I was doing (countless) loads of laundry thinking how much I love being able to stamp an envelope while moving my whites into the dryer. No matter, because the architects of the 1970s are the winners during this debacle because my son now has a quiet, dedicated space for school. (He’s enrolled in Laundry 101 as extra-curricular.)

We created the spaces and even named a (moderately unwilling) mascot. To be honest, I feel about as good as the dog right now. Same, Toby, SAME. While awaiting the first set of lesson plans to arrive I did a lot of prepping their school spaces, mainly getting materials organized and eating lots of snacks. To be fully honest, if I didn’t stay busy, I’d eat all of the quarantine snacks while standing in my kitchen staring at my phone.

No matter how busy I make myself, or how many snacks I eat, I often find myself wandering down the path of tomorrow… two days from now… three weeks from now… two months from now… how…?

Courtesy Melanie Forstall

I have to rein it in.

As I’ve said before, none of us know the ‘how,’ so we just have to trust that it will. I do so much better with a plan, though. Hell, I’d be happy with a general idea or suggestion of how this all will play out! I know we will figure it out, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be a lot of building the plane while we fly it. And I have to be okay with that. While I do better when I know some sense of what tomorrow will bring, I simply have to trust.

In the meantime, as my father reminded me, I’m taking it all one day at a time. Next week is too much. Honestly, sometimes tomorrow is too much! The best way for me to get through this is to focus on what is right in front of me. So, for now, I focus on today — what we can do, how we can have fun, what we can learn. I’m focusing on how we can love each other better and keep me busy enough so I’m not tempted to bleach my hair. Today is simply full of creating positive spaces and preparing for whatever comes next. Focusing on the now, the good, and the positive.

(And based on our classroom sign, I’m positive that what’s coming next is a spelling lesson.)”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melanie Forstall, 45, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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