On Wednesday night, my partner and I sat down and had a discussion about how to proceed with COVID-19 spreading into our community. We both wanted to self-isolate our family, and so it was an easy decision we made. The next day he got permission from his boss to work from home, and we informed our son’s KiTa that we’d be keeping him home for at least the next week to see how things would unfold.
We went back and forth between feeling like what we were doing was extreme and then feeling like we definitely made the correct decision. And now, here we are 48 hours later and Berlin has (finally) made the decision to close down schools and daycare centers beginning on Monday and lasting through the end of the Easter break (meaning five weeks). (As a quick aside, I have to say I’m incredibly disappointed with Germany and how terribly they’ve handled Coronavirus and not trying to contain things before they got bad.)
Most companies I know of (including my husband’s) have instituted a work-from-home policy. I already work from home. We are lucky that our jobs allow this. We are privileged in that we won’t suffer financial losses or have to make the choice between being healthy and being able to pay our bills.
What will be tricky is juggling our work and having a 4.5-year-old child at home. He’s a capable kid, but he also relies on us a lot (to help him with things, to play with him, to read him books, etc.) so it’s not like we can just tell him to play for eight hours while we work. We also don’t want to just give him a tablet all day. So it’s gonna take some strategizing. But we’ll somehow make it work.
These times are sort of uncertain, because this kind of event (one that just completely halts “normal life”) isn’t something many of us are familiar with. And to see it happen on such a large scale, all over the world, is kind of mindblowing. We know it’s probably gonna get worse before it gets better. We know we’re gonna get a little bit restless being stuck inside all day (though we will head out to our communal backyard when it’s not occupied, and we will take walks if the weather permits, because we live in an area where there’s not a lot of foot traffic, and one of us might head to the grocery store once a week to grab fresh produce and other essentials). But we feel OK about it all, because there’s not much we can do except live through it.
I don’t plan on turning into another Jack Torrance, but it will definitely be a test of our limits these next few weeks. And we’ll also be getting creative and pulling out all the stops to help keep our kid entertained. I decided I want to keep a little journal of what our days are like, so check this space to see how we’re coping with our self-enforced social distancing.