Rich is a definite creature of habit and routine is very important to him (he’s definitely not alone in his thinking in our home as I am sure is the case in many homes around the world). Having his routine disrupted has been an unfortunate reality for him several times over the last few years but now more than ever. Keeping a somewhat “normal” routine may be nearly impossible to do right now for many of us. Are you finding it difficult to stick to your routine? What are you doing to try and keep to a somewhat “normal” routine? Do you find it is helping maintain your mental wellness? Would love for you to share some of your thoughts.
There is still so much uncertainty right now pertaining to the rest of the current school year and for 2 of my kids this isn’t really an issue given that my son is done school already and one daughter is just completing her last few weeks of her 3rd year of University which is now being done all online, but then there is my youngest daughter who is just a few short months away from her High School Graduation and it’s beyond heartbreaking to think that she could miss out on the best and most defining moments of her High School career.
March Break is now officially over for us Ontarions and early this morning my daughter should have been returning home from her Graduation trip to Punta Cana with her friends, but instead she is at home unable to return to school for another 2 weeks, but whose kidding who, it’s going to be much longer than that and there has been quite a bit of buzz over the last few days that school could actually be cancelled for the remainder of the year.
As of right now there has not been any concrete plan put into place for this very possible and very devastating scenario, the one where my daughter doesn’t get to go to her High School Prom or attend her Graduation Ceremony but ya at least she has the accessibility to finish up her school year online if need be. But not every child can do so, in fact many children and their families don’t have computer or internet access in their home and have always relied on the available and free resources from our schools and libraries.
And right now many parents are panicking and rightfully so, but can we just take a step back for a moment (we have nothing better to do right now anyways). We as parents are under a tremendous amount of stress, overwhelm and anxiety about how they are going to be able to “homeschool” their children when the reality is, we aren’t meant to homeschool our kids unless that was the path you had already chosen for them. And an even bigger reality right now is that if school is to be cancelled for the remainder of the school year we honestly have so much more to be worried about than learning fractions or Shakespeare (he needs to be scraped from the curriculum all together!).
I really don’t think I need to tell you what it means if this pandemic continues right through to the summer. Right now we need to support each other as parents and remember that many parents may be doing this parenting and social distancing thing alone or maybe they are coping with the stressors that come along with having a child with special needs or maybe they are new to Canada and haven’t yet grasped the English language or maybe they are dealing with some physical or emotional issues.
Whatever it is that someone else may be going through we need to stop judging each other. Whatever way you are able to get through today and tomorrow and the day after that, remember that you are a good parent and doing the best you can to survive these unprecedented times.
So for now while we wait for what’s to come in the next few weeks try to focus on some kind of routine, but one which allows room for lots of flexibility and lots of outdoor recess and naptime. Now is as good a time as ever to slow down because we ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. Also let’s remember that our main objective as parents and human beings right now is to keep you and your family safe as best you can.
There will be so many opportunities for teachable moments throughout the day and maybe it will happen while you’re baking cookies, laughing at a TV show or taking a walk outside or maybe while you’re playing a game or painting a picture. Homeschooling needs to be about self-care which as I said above is much more important right now than fractions (and for sure Shakespeare; sorry to my Shakespeare fans).
So considering my illness feels like it’s hit an iceberg and is causing me to suffer with daily headaches to boot, I will continue to try my best to be the best parent I know how by ensuring that my kids all get an A+ for doing their part in watching way too much Netflix while they help to flatten the curve.
I haven’t slept much all week (it’s well after 3 am as I write this) but it’s not like that’s really out of the ordinary for me anyways (I write some of my best shit at 3 am). Life has been anything but ordinary this week for any of us as we try to collectively navigate our way through our new way of life and learn a whole new lingo while we’re at it.
I mean it’s not every day that the only words we hear on the street, on the news or on Facebook are words like State of Emergency, Lockdown, Quarantine, Self Isolation and Social Distancing. It actually feels quite ironic to me because as someone who suffers with Depression, Anxiety and Suicidal thoughts these words have pretty much defined my life for the last 6 years already. My illness makes me react to everything like I’m in a State of Emergency, it’s left me in Lockdown too many times to count, it’s paralyzed me with fear to the point that I’ve needed to quarantine, I’ve felt the need to self isolate when others make me feel like I am contagious and of course whenever I’m in a big crowd (like over 10 people) I am left begging for some much needed social distancing.
Suddenly the whole world knows what it feels like to be held in captivity, suddenly the whole world knows what it feels like when you feel you have no control over anything, suddenly the whole world knows what it feels like to have crazy, f#*ked up thoughts day and night, suddenly the whole world knows what it feels like to feel helpless and sad every single day while trying to make others understand that none of us chose or would ever willingly choose to live this way. Suddenly the whole world knows what it feels like to suffer with Anxiety and Depression every day. And now imagine navigating through all that lingo for 6 very long years or even more.
I have found myself writing a lot more than normal over the past week or so and posting way more than I ordinarily do but as I said above, these are far from ordinary times. I find writing is the only thing that’s keeping me going right now. My mind is so fricken cluttered with negative thoughts and writing is the best way to let my creativity explode and let that negative thinking explode too. I’m feeling extremely closed in (which I’m sure most of you are) and I’ve shed more tears this week than I thought was possible but writing and sharing help give me some clarity.
Sometimes I write in the hope of making you laugh, sometimes I write in the hope of distracting you, sometimes I write in the hope of engaging you in conversation, sometimes I write in hope of making you feel less alone, sometimes I write in hope of keeping you grounded or mindful and often I write just because it’s the only way of socially distancing myself from the State of Emergency going down in my head!
Today is a Statutory holiday in Ontario called Family Day. It is also celebrated in several other Provinces throughout Canada as well, but not all. It only became a holiday here in Ontario in 2008 but has been recognized in Alberta since 1990 and is a basic reminder to everyone to make time to spend with your family and to reflect on the importance of family values.
The definition of what a family is can be quite complicated and debated. There is no right or wrong answer as to how you define family and it’s more about what you make of it or what works for you. Family is not always 2 people who are related by blood or through marriage.
My definition of family has changed a lot, especially over the last 6 years of my illness. I have learned so much about myself and others and what I want and don’t need most of all in my life to help me thrive and evolve.
Family to me is anyone who loves you unconditionally and supports you even when it’s not always so easy. Family means accepting one another; flaws and all, helping each other to flourish and grow, celebrating victories, wiping away tears and making one another laugh through those tears.
But not everyone is as blessed to have people in their lives (blood related or not) who define family which is why today is such an important reminder to show kindness to everyone you meet because no matter how you define family we all deserve to matter.
Rich and I have been hit with some pretty bad blows over the last several years and this week has been no exception. I’m not gonna share right now just how bad a week it’s actually been but trust me when I tell you it’s been pretty f*@#ing bad.
When it feels like the walls are closing in around me my illness leaves me questioning everything, it leaves me unable to breathe, it leaves me overwhelmed and vulnerable, it leaves me hesitant and indecisive and it leaves me in tears which are oftentimes over the simplest and silliest of things. Crying is a natural response to all kinds of emotions and can be quite soothing and calming as well as quite necessary. My emotions are running very high right now and shedding a few tears when needed definitely helps to release some stress.
Yesterday afternoon is one of several examples of this and a perfect example of just how emotional I am. Rich and I were out running some errands with one of our daughters in a very busy store when I suddenly (and I truly mean it when I say suddenly) became hesitant, vulnerable, indecisive and overwhelmed over the simplest and silliest of things and before I knew it, and before Rich could run and hide from the crazy lady in aisle 5 (that’s me in case you weren’t sure), the tears began streaming down my face and customers began staring (and trust me it’s not even close to the first time this has happened). Luckily my daughter was already 2 aisles ahead!
Although on one hand it felt like an eternity in that moment but once I gained my composure I was able to continue on I felt a sense of calm. Afterall, crying produces endorphins which are better known as “the feel good” hormone so you see it’s alright to cry and as I said above, it can be quite calming, self-soothing and often necessary.
Trying to keep a sense of humour when life kicks you in the ass sometimes certainly can also help ease the blow somehow too because laughter and tears both have so many healthy and powerful benefits! (see pic of Rich)
Oh and through all the tears I’ve shed this week, I could have smoked, I wanted to smoke, I needed to smoke but I did not smoke. And by the way, how long is it til 2021?
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