Everyday at 5am my alarm clock goes off. I get out of bed and start my day with some type of exercise, a quick shower, then either dive into work or walk down the hall to wake up sweet baby Hudson. I wake up to a totally new normal.
These past four (almost five months) since the words pandemic, quarantine, and social distancing have become everyday vernacular have been so different. Layer that on top of being a new parent and then finally returning to work and balancing a baby at home without daycare is the cherry on top of the new normal sundae.
In conversations with many co-workers, family, and friends this conversation about what the “new normal” is and what it looks like for each person and their family is different. The differences, I find, are driven by so many things whether it be age of children, age in general, level of felt risk or safety, location of primary residence, and more. Everyone seems to have found or is finding their new normal.
In our house, our new normal is made possible by a few things.
- Planning. In the Atkinson household, planning means sitting down on Sundays, looking at our schedules, and mapping out who will be responsible for our baby starting at 7am until 5pm. During this time we also make sure we have enough food in the house for the week, possibly place a grocery order, and discuss any known anomalies to our daily routine.
- Waking up and going to bed early. I’m a morning person and I think it’s safe to say my husband is, too. In order to ensure we each have our “me time,” we wake up at 5am Monday – Friday so we can dedicate time to ourselves for exercise, self-learning, personal hygiene, that sort of thing. We do this together each morning and support each other.
- Easy weekends. Long gone are the weekends for us where we’ve been busy all day long with activities. Long gone are the weekends where we might have friends over and I make all the food. Long gone are the weekends where we say “yes” to doing things that aren’t really important to us. We’ve prioritized the weekends for us, what and who we feel comfortable with during this time, and how we want to spend our family time.
- Asking for help. There is not a single piece of personal development that I’ve participated in which advocates a “do it all yourself” mentality. Asking for help is critical and there are so many ways to do this. For us, this looks like having a housekeeper come monthly, grocery delivery, leveraging Amazon Prime shipping to the fullest extent possible, and allowing grandparents to be with Hudson while we get a break, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. These little things go a long way in keeping our weekends for us to recharge and relax.
I’m ready for quarantine to be over and I’m ready to hug all of my friends and family again. However, I also am working hard to embrace and be grateful for everything that this time has brought to our family. So much more togetherness, so much appreciation for each other, opportunities to miss our friends and family and to no longer take any of those relationships for granted. I believe that this new normal, whether it looks similar to mine or completely different, is all about embracing the situation. If you’ve got a bad attitude about the current situation or aren’t cutting yourself any slack the new normal is going to feel like a climb to the top of Everest every single day.
Wherever you find yourself, I hope you view this new normal in a positive light and share it – in whatever way you feel comfortable – with those around you.