I’m a SAHM. Social distancing should be old hat. (Turns out it’s not.)
Social distancing means staying at home. So shouldn’t a SAHM feel like that’s her every day? For me, that has NOT been the truth at all. Here’s why:
Social distancing – something I never imagined doing in my entire life. Have you read the book Five Feet Apart? Two teenagers with cystic fibrosis fall in love, but they have to stay five feet apart at all times to risk getting the other sick. I read that book and I remember thinking how absolutely hard it would be to stay five feet away from everyone I knew.
And yet, here we are. Granted, I don’t have to stay six feet away from my husband or toddler. But Illinois was lawfully instructed to ‘shelter in place’ Saturday for at least two weeks.
As a stay at home mom, I feel like social distancing – staying at home, not seeing people for days – should be old hat. It should be easy, almost normal. Turns out, it’s not. Not easy or normal. Not even close.
As a SAHM, I still had errands to run.
Groceries had to be bought every week. Errands had to be run to the bookstore, the hardware store, the thrift store. Sometimes I needed to return something or drop off bills. There was always a reason to leave the house, even when I didn’t want to .
Now, the only thing I can do is get groceries. And honestly, we’re trying to live on what we have here + Every Plate deliveries to avoid going to the grocery store for a couple of weeks. It seems risky to go to the store, and I really don’t want my toddler or husband to end up sick.
As a SAHM, I could leave whenever I wanted (mostly). I could meet up with friends.
Camden and I went and did things together. We headed to the park or open gym or an indoor playground or library storytime. If I needed a break, we just went and wandered Target; he ate a cake pop and I drank coffee and looked at all the beautiful things that Target has to offer.
Now, I can’t get out at all. We can go for walks outside, but since all the state parks and nature centers are closed, we just walk the same roads over and over.
As a SAHM, it was just my toddler and me at home.
Now my husband is here, working from home through the first half of May, at least. Don’t get me wrong, I love having him here. But it changes everything; our routine has to account for him, his business calls, and fitting together my work-from-home schedule and his (hint: it’s a badly cut jigsaw puzzle). I’m used to being completely alone when Camden goes to nap; it’s my time to recharge from being climbed on and screamed at by a toddler. And now he’s always here.
The more I write this, the more guilty I feel about it. Here’s the thing: I am so in agreement that the social distancing and sheltering in place needs to happen. It scares me that so many people could die because of overwhelmed medical systems. And I worry for all the medical personnel who are putting themselves and their families at risk to do their job.
But even though I know it’s the right thing to do, I can still find it hard.
I can find it difficult. And I can wish that it were different. It’s okay if I look forward to the day that we can play at the park again, to the time when Camden can hug his grandparents instead of seeing them through a screen.
I have so much positive to look around me and see: a wonderful little family, a house full of things to do, the ability to just go for a drive, takeout, FaceTime.
I’m not complaining. I think I just expected this new normal to fit more easily than it does. And I’m guessing there are other stay at home moms that are feeling the same way. Actually, I know there are; I’ve talked to some of them very recently. So let’s remember: we’re sitting in the same boat. We’re doing this to help others, and it will be over someday. We’ll look back and think, ‘that wasn’t so bad.’
Whether you’ve been a SAHM or work-from-home mom for a while, or you’ve just become one of those through social distancing, I bet you can relate to trying to find a new normal. Let’s share that with each other, so we know we’re not alone. <3
How are you handling social distancing?