Today marks the first day of my husband temporarily working from home, something I’ve been hoping would happen for a while, so I’m grateful. I’ve spent the last few months preparing my home and the past few weeks have seen an increase in preparations here in our home and in homes around the country as, one by one, people began to realize that our current situation was an unavoidable reality.
There are still some who think those of us staying home are overreacting – and that is fine. We are responsible for our actions and our families, they for theirs. For us, it is imperative that we do our part to help reduce the spread and protect the vulnerable among us. A friend passed on a wonderful quote to me this weekend: “Since the virus is invisible, we may never know if we overreacted with this. However, it will be very apparent if we do too little now.”
With that in mind, I wanted to share some ideas, and attitudes, that can make this experience much more enjoyable for you and your family. I anticipate this list may grow and could even be a series of blog posts or videos so stay tune as our home life strategies evolve.
1.First things first, decide on your attitude for the day. Living in an enclosed space and trying to perform activities usually performed in different environments can be frustrating at times.
But we each need to take responsibility for our attitude and the effect it has on others. We have to be just as stubborn about having a good attitude as some folks seem to be about having a bad attitude. Remember, Abraham Lincoln said “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Billions of people around the world will lose a lot during this event: loved ones, financial losses, and many will even know hunger for the first time. We cannot change that at this moment. But we can focus on what remains. Things that matter. In times of stress choosing to be joyful is your strength.
With that in mind, Don’t let the day dictate you. You dictate the day.
Realize that you are the most influential factor to how this day goes for your entire family. Take that seriously.
2. Make sure your tank is full first. Staying in close quarters, even with loved ones, for an extended period of time can be taxing on the best of us. Get up before everyone else so that you can have some quiet time to yourself. Make a cup of coffee or your favorite tea and sip it slowly while you get your head on straight. For me, this means reading the Bible and working out a game plan for the day with my Creator. No matter what this looks like to you, make it happen and you and your entire family will benefit throughout the day.
Household survival strategies:
This will look different for every family due to broad variances in our situations. My husband is working from home for the time being and I work from home daily. Therefore, we each need a full 8+ hours to get our daily work done. From there we need to focus on keeping the house up, increased cooking means increased dishes, and so on. Amid all of this, it is important to remember that many of us have family members who are used to going out to social events. In absence of these opportunities and to help combat inevitable cabin fever, we need to put some measures in place.
Entertainment planning: Some may want to appoint a person to be in charge of this and that could be a great morale booster for their day. Family game nights, family movie nights, evening chats on the patio around a fire pit, etc, are all great ideas. You are limited only by your own creativity and that of your kids. When I was a girl we used to delight in putting on plays and recitals for our parents. Each member could come up with a few ideas, write them on paper, and put them in a hat to draw each day. Our schedules won’t permit us to do this each night as we often work into the evenings but we are making it a priority to do this 3-4 times per week at least.
Everyone has something to contribute, make sure you take time to value and show appreciation for that contribution.
Make a menu and post it: Staying home means staying home, and that means no grocery store trips. Take an inventory of your food and plan out meals for the amount of time you think is reasonable. For me, I see that as 6-8 weeks. If you don’t have enough food for the amount of time you think you’ll need it, that is all the more reason to plan. I have started typing up a daily menu and placing it on my refrigerator each day so that the family can know what their options are. Right now, it looks pretty fabulous because I am using up my fresh food and cleaning out the freezer, but it will become a bit more sparse pretty quickly.
Each of us will get to a point where there is less desirable food that must be eaten. In that case, I want to encourage you to improve your sales tactics. 😉 If you don’t have much to offer sell it as if you do. For example, if you’re having a can of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli, I’d put that on the menu as:
Beef Ravioli from famous French Chef!
Know what you have and use food wisely. I have a notebook with an inventory of my pantry in it and I have prioritized items that need to be used sparingly and those that need to be used more quickly. In order to eliminate wasting food and cut down on time spent cooking, lunch options consist of leftover suppers and a fresh supper is cooked each night.
Below is a sample of my menu for today. Lunch options listed are individually portioned meals from leftovers. I found a turkey in my freezer so it’s Thanksgiving in March in the Jordan house!
Make it an event:
If you have a family movie night, dim the lights. Make popcorn if you have it and some other snack if you don’t.
If you have a supper that isn’t a family favorite, put a blanket on the floor and make it a picnic. Get creative.
Know that things will get better.
What may seem a breaking down is, at the same time, a strengthening. Families are drawing together. Neighbors are helping neighbors. The sands of what we thought mattered are being sifted and showing us that what remains is where our treasure truly lies. Things will get better. Each of us will find ourselves knocked down at some point but the spirit within us will lead us to strengthen one another and rise together again, more steadfast and more sure of our purpose and focus than ever before.
There are people among us who saw this coming and prepared early on. There are people among us who still haven’t figured out what is going on. In that same vein, we all know that a rebuilding of many sorts will take place once this is past and there are people among us who recognize that the rebuilding needs to begin now. If you are one of those early builders, I want to encourage you to use your social media accounts, your sphere of influence, your daily attitude in all things in building others up. Encourage. Inspire. Recognize the real loss we will all experience in many arenas but then remind everyone that the hope ahead is just as real. Tomorrow is coming.
If you have a story of encouragement or a question for me, please leave it in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am considering doing a series of videos addressing these. If you would like to take part in my Bible study, I’ve set up the Genesis study via email. Click here for information. And I want to encourage you to begin in Genesis, nowhere else. We’ve got to stop taking shortcuts with our faith and with our God. If He gives you a book to read, respect Him enough to open it to the first page.Yum