It’s Week 8 of sheltering-in-place with my family, and I’m feeling a weird blend of getting used to our Groundhog Day-like routine while simultaneously being worn down by it.
We're finding a rhythm to the day through a ridiculous amount of trial and error (“Okay, so that bombed. Let’s try this…”). The kids are A LOT in the mornings, so we’ve learned to get them outside early and then work as much as possible in the afternoons. Our staff video call, lunch, dinner, and bedtime happen around the same times, giving our days a loose structure.
But even though we’re habituating to our new normal, its duration and intensity are getting to me. It’s hard to focus. Now and then, I dip into despair. When Evan and Avery are both whining and the dog gets agitated and starts barking, which whips the cats into a frenzy, I want to scream at the four-walled circus that is our lives right now.
My immediate reaction is to fight these moments, to thrash against them in protest. This shouldn’t be happening! But that just escalates the chaos and makes a hard moment worse. What you resist, persists.
I’ve learned the hard way that things resolve more smoothly when I lean into whatever IS happening, regardless of how I want it to be. It’s like how you regain control of a fishtailing car by “turning into the skid.” It’s counter-intuitive, because your impulse is to steer in the opposite direction, but gently going with the momentum lets you straighten out and stay on the road.
Things starting to skid when the kids are acting wild? Instead of yelling at them, take them outside to do a timed run. Long delays for curbside pickup? Pull up that article on your phone that you’ve been meaning to read, and pass the time on your terms. Lean in to what wants to happen and make the best of it.
When something doesn’t go the way we want it to, we may not like it, but we can manage it. We can take a deep breath, grasp the wheel, and turn into the skid until we’re able to steer again.