Quarantine Fatigue? It’s OK. We All Feel It.
A note to parents really feeling it right now
Here we are, more than 50 days into the lockdown. You wish you could take a break, right? You’re tired of being a homeschool teacher and sorting through the flash cards and worksheets and learning guides piled up on your dining room table. That color-coded daily schedule you created at the beginning of this quarantine? Hey, it was a valiant effort. Now you reward them for 30 minutes of reading with an hour on the iPad.
You need a haircut, and you haven’t worn pants with a zipper in eight weeks. You insist you’re D-O-N-E picking up everyone’s junk as you walk through the hallway every night picking up everyone’s junk. You yell, “We are NOT going to the emergency room if someone needs stitches!” at least once a day. You tell the kids not to interrupt your Zoom meeting unless one of them is on fire. You live in a constant state of simmering, low-grade frustration, don’t you?
You wish you could wind the clock back to that day in March when coronavirus made its public debut in Charlotte, before “social distancing” and “remote learning” were words we spoke every day. You’d savor that uninterrupted time at your desk to check emails and chat through the cubicle wall with your coworker about “Love is Blind.” Maybe you’d have been less impatient in the carpool line or cheered extra loud for your son at T-ball if you’d known it would be the last practice of the season.
If I turned up the volume on your inner monologue today, what would we hear? Do you beam with pride at your children each morning and think how lucky you are to have this time together? Yeah, me either. You reheat your coffee and wonder how the hell you’ll make it through another day of this. Do you beat yourself up because you’ve gained the quarantine 15? Wish you had the patience for multiplication tables and tree journals? I bet you worry they’re falling behind in school, eating too much sugar, and getting too much screen time. It’s OK: We all wonder if we’re qualified to do this.
Well, guess what, parents? You are doing it. You’ve survived 100 percent of your bad days, and you’ll make it through this stretch, too. Kids are messy. Heck, humans are messy. You are, by all accounts, handling this like a boss.
You should know that your rotation of yoga pants and T-shirts is spot-on. And that West Elm Zoom background? Nailed it. The night you let the kids eat tater tots and Cheerios for dinner while you pillaged the Easter candy in the pantry? Well played! And the time you binged “The Last Dance” and counted it as your cardio for the week? Bravo.
You’re more than 50 days into this lockdown. If you’re feeling flattened by quarantine fatigue, you’re right on track. This new reality, even for the most introverted of homebodies, goes against our instincts as human beings. So put down your phone, step away from the geometry workbooks, and go pour yourself a margarita. Take a breather. Raise your glass to a frontline worker, a teacher, an Amazon delivery person. They’re probably imperfect parents, too.
I’ll be over here raising a glass to you.