I’m Kathrine Nero, and I’ve been staying at home in Northern Kentucky with my husband, two daughters and a dog. We are all working – or learning – from home, and the learning curve has been pretty dramatic.
Quarantine has been interesting, to say the least. I’ve doubled up my typical once daily Facebook lives for The Enquirer, while also adding the title of teacher to the mix. More on that later.
I am eternally grateful that I’m still working, as many people find themselves laid off, furloughed or worse, so I welcome the added hours and pressure. But, with hard deadlines of 10am and 1:30pm for my Facebook lives, and checking up on kids’ schoolwork, emails, planning and some side gigs in-between, the days are nonstop well into the afternoon.
I am typically not a glass-half-full kinda girl but something has happened over these last two months to change that.
I really can’t put my finger on it. I lost my mother in late February, right before all of this hit. And I just keep thinking about how terrible it would have been if she had to deal with no visitors in the hospital, or if we didn’t get to take part in the celebration of life she wanted. I’m so thankful to have a job, for my husband to be employed, and to be in a position where my kids are set up for success for distance learning – that I think all the negative just falls away. But I reserve the right to be Debbie Downer when all of this is finally over.
No question the biggest challenge has been: at-home school.
I don’t call it home school because that does a disservice to so many homeschool teachers out there.
They are doing the Lord’s work, y’all.
My younger daughter is a self-starter and doesn’t need a lot of assistance with her lessons. In fact, almost none. My older daughter is on the autism spectrum. And that’s both good and bad when you’re learning from home. The lack of social activity is actually a bonus.
No people to bother her, no noises to grate on her nerves. But the lack of structure is a killer. Making sure she got her work done took HOURS a day. But it did come with an added bonus: I now know how to figure out a mole to mole ratio in chemistry, which is literally something I did not know existed two months ago.
When so much of your day-to-day life is stripped away – activities, hobbies, friends, travel, income, safety – I find the space it leaves behind creates a place for gratitude.
I find joy in some of the smallest things now.
My older daughter made up a game we play every day so I can learn more about a video game she loves. My younger daughter and I binge-watched Smash, and now we’re midway through Glee. We’ve also suddenly become bakers. Not having to rush from one commitment to another is one of the greatest gifts this quarantine has given us. Do we fight? Heck yeah. But the times in between are calmer, simpler, and the stillness is my favorite thing.
To stay healthy, my daughter and I decided to walk a marathon – little by little. We just finished 26.2 miles and now our goal is 100 miles this summer. But when you’re an arm’s reach from Cool Ranch Doritos all day every day, well … 100 miles might not be enough.
But I’m giving myself some grace with this. Mentally, I’m faring much better. My best friend and I talk just about every day, and I swear those phone calls, where we discuss everything from baby poop to convalescent plasma, are sanity savers. I’ve been making face masks as well for family and friends, and I’m to up about 75 now. Making things is my form of self-care. That and zoning out before bed, courtesy of Netflix.
There is plenty. I want to take away from this time! I love virtual happy hours. Cheaper drinks and stretchier pants. Ooh – and can we please keep curbside service? I’ve partaken everywhere from craft stores to liquor stores and you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. And, if living in a world where I can get a giant tub of frose – TO GO – is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
Meriden McGraw is the co-founder of Quidwell where she works to optimize the health of women. Outside of Quidwell, Meriden combines her master’s level education in mental and public health with her training in mind-body modalities to teach individuals and groups techniques for optimal wellbeing. Meriden holds various certifications in pranayama (breath techniques), positive psychology, mindfulness, and yoga. On an average day, Meriden can be found practicing yoga, drinking kombucha, dragging her husband to strength training workouts, and taking her pup for a walk.