By Natalie Moutafis
I know, here’s another person writing another article about the Coronavirus (CoVID-19) pandemic, but as mum to two tiny humans it’s hard not to feel anxious.
With schools in my state (Victoria) closing for school holidays earlier than planned, major public events and gatherings being cancelled and globally, countries closing borders, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t concerned about the impact CoVID-19 might have on their family.
Our family is taking the approach of self-isolating in order to be socially responsible, while trying to protect our children and those at risk in our community as best we can. By self-isolating we are helping to #flattenthecurve.
By reducing community exposure (e.g. working from home, keeping children out of childcare, staying home as much as possible) it means the virus won’t spread as fast and hopefully, as prolifically. It also means that the health care system won’t be put under as much pressure and will be able to help those that are infected, while still managing regular caseloads.
But this presents a whole set of new challenges. Both my husband and I are working from home now while also looking after the tiny humans that would usually be at childcare. Life is starting to look different. The Tiny Toddler asks if it’s a ‘school’ day or ‘sport’ day each morning. He is too tiny to understand why we can’t go, but he’s big enough to understand something is different. He’s noticed people wearing facemasks and he has most definitely noticed the increased hand washing and constant reminders to not touch anything unnecessarily (which for a toddler is a challenge to touch as much as he can!). He’s also noticed that we are no longer visiting the local playground but opting for open spaces with few people. Our routines are going to be missed by all of us, and we don’t know when we’ll get them back.
Maybe we can start to use this an opportunity to reassess how we all live and work Those who have never worked remotely might find it’s not as bad as they thought, and possibly find they are more productive. Benefits such as no more lengthy commutes to the office or being able to work of an evening while children are sleeping mean they can foster those familial connections in a new way. It will also bring workplaces and communities together in a reimagined way. I know in my local Good Karma Network, toilet paper offerings are being regularly shared, as is assistance to those that may need food deliveries. It’s comforting to witness and renews my faith in the human spirit.
I’m also trying to see it as an opportunity for us grown-ups to show these little ones just what selflessness, gratitude, bravery and kindness looks like – not just talk about it. We have friends that are first responders. They won’t get to stay home with their families. They are the brave people who love their jobs and helping others so much that they put their own lives on the line. They may be exposed to this virus simply by going to work when no one else can, or will. It’s up to us to help them. By staying home, we are reducing their risk too.
As parents we are always having to roll with the punches, because we know that things can change so quickly when children are involved.
It’s not going to be easy.
It will most certainly be hard.
Everyone is making sacrifices.
It’s going to be a new way of life for a lot longer than we thought.
But it just means that life will look a little different for a while.
I’m trying to find gratitude in knowing that I’ll get to spend this time with my husband and the tiny humans. I’m thankful that we are all, for now, healthy. We are together, and at night I get to snuggle in and read bedtime stories to my children as they fall asleep as though nothing has changed, I’m not losing hope for the future just yet.
Natalie Moutafis is an ISV staff member, mother of two young children, and author of the Tiny Humans blog.
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