It wasn’t two days into the quarantine several weeks ago that I broke down. I sat there at my desk thrust into a new world of working from home while trying parent through a pandemic and making sure that kids were continuing to learn while homeschooling.
Part of me was ready for this new lifestyle, I had been thrown into a world of being a stay-at-home-dad before without any sort of preparation. However, those were different times without thinking about social distancing and we could go to a park while the kids were able to get out some energy without the consequence of contracting some strange virus.
Some of those skills I would be able to utilize during this strange new normal that each parent are in. However, parenting through a pandemic is different. Kids are going stir crazy as the weather warms up and they wish they could go out and play with their friends. Our kids are now starting to be educated virtually, something that I did a handful of times in high school, and now my kids are showing me how to do things on the iPad that I could not have figured out without their help.
And here we are 8 weeks into parenting through a pandemic that shows no sign of slowing down. I have learned a lot about myself over these last few weeks then I did when I was a laid-off stay-at-home-dad. From showing my ability to be productive as an employee and dad to the smallest thing ruining my entire day.
These last few weeks have shown me that I need to be able to figure out how to get things done. This means making sure that I am getting everything done for my job while making sure things are getting done around the house. I am always on the lookout for one of the best productivity apps that I can integrate my professional and personal to-do items. Because of that, I’ve never settled on one system, and up until this, I’ve had lists spread across handwritten notebooks and several to-do programs.
The quarantine has forced to me centralize my productivity system. I have one task list app and integrate it with our Google Drive and Calendar to make sure that we are staying on top of school work, meetings throughout the day my wife and I have, and just general project planning for work and for my honey-do list.
I knew the moment we were going to be stuck at home for the foreseeable future, my wife would have a laundry list of home projects that she would want to accomplish. It all started with our deck. A project that I wanted to tackle ironically knowing that it was in need of some TLC, As with any DIY project it all starts with a simple, it only needs this fix and then spirals out of control. Needless to say, after finding a colony of carpenter ants, the deck is now down to just the posts and we are working our way to rebuilding it.
As we were going through the process of tearing it down, I started to see exactly how the previous owners “fixed” certain problems and wondering to myself, “What was he thinking? Did he even use the right type of wood for this?” I don’t consider myself a general contractor but even with my untrained eye, I could tell that things could have been done much better.
I’ve also been in the process of changing our lights switches to be part of our smart home system and ask myself the same question when it comes to the wiring of our basement that the previous homeowners DIY’d as well.
I Am A Grill Master
I used to be pretty modest about my skills at the grill. We have been using it a lot more than we normally do throughout a given week due to the pandemic. The result is me having the time to really get to know my grill and how it works. I’ve studied the hotspots, how to pre-heat my grill, and general cleaning and maintenance of the grill.
This newfound time has resulted in some amazing new ideas such as throwing hamburger buns on my grill to crisp them adding in a slight crunch to the burger. I’ve also perfected the pre-heating process that makes for a mean steak.
If this is now making you hungry I’ll host the post-pandemic party in my backyard and offer up the tips that I have discovered… just remember to stay 6-feet away from guests.
A New Found Patience
To be honest, I found this out about myself early on into the pandemic. Despite all of the changes that we were all facing, I was patient. I was patient with my kids as we testing the new boundaries of a work-life lifestyle. I was patient with colleagues as I was used to getting immediate answers but now I have to wait for them to answer via Skype… and sometimes until later in the day if they have kids.
The truth of the matter is that the longer we are at-home, my patience is wearing even thinner than it was before. The constant attention that my kids need to take away from my personal productivity that I mentioned above.
Homeschooling has really put my patience to the test as we go deeper into the quarantine. Being the type of person who will take on a task if someone is struggling with it, I see my kids struggling and it takes everything out of me to stop and say to myself that they need this to learn and be productive citizens.
It doesn’t help that even while we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we are right in the middle of the tyrannical threes with our youngest. Defiance has become his best friend and anytime we ask him to do the simple act of walking upstairs to go to the bathroom we are greeting with a, “NEVER!!!” as he runs to the other side of the house… and then decides to wet himself.
New Found Love Of The Outdoors
While my patience is wearing thin, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy being outside. I would much rather pick up my laptop and set up my office outside on our deck… that is currently under construction. Sometimes it is as simple as taking a tray table and setting up my office in my driveway and work away as the neighborhood kids have a nerf gunfight. Getting outside has been the one constant I have found to make this pandemic somewhat bearable.
This also has me looking at other ways to get my fitness in so that I can be healthy for my family. The bike that has been hanging in our garage since we moved in 5 years ago, has finally made it down and onto our local trails. Whether it is biking or running just getting outside and working up a sweat has been just another way that has helped me handle the stress of the times that we are in.