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Thursday, April 9, 2020

The quarantine juggle

It seems like every day is bringing new challenges to juggle as we try to stay safe and quarantined! Our biggest challenge so far is clearly childcare. My daycare closed abruptly, leaving us to scramble for a nanny. But she's only working three days a week, and that has meant that David and I need to figure out two days.
At first, we thought David's parents could help. Is it ideal to open our circle up and add several more people? No, but we need childcare, and at least we can rely on them to maintain social distance protocols with others. If I got a random babysitter twice a week, we would have no control over that. However, after his mom got sick and was tested for COVID19, we waited until she got a negative test. And even then, we hesitated, but we have to do something. I can't work from home as a pharmacist, and no way am I bringing my baby to the hospital! And David's job is work from home, but you can't be the primary childcare provider while you are working (he is a federal employee and they have strict guidelines). We did a few days of daddy daycare, when David got up and started working super early, then fit the rest of his workday around naps and feeding. Luckily, we have a very good and easy baby, so this wasn't impossible: but a not-quite-3-month old does require quite a bit of intervention. It's not like you can stick him in front of the tv with a snack for half an hour. He can't even pick up his own toys reliably yet! So we are planning to involve David's parents again, despite the risks. (Shout-out to David for being the world's best dad, of course - not many dads would be able to swing full-time work with an 11-week old!)
Work: silence, ambulances, and the occasional
just-discharged patient still wearing hospital socks

How does this impact me? Well, in a way it's a nice break. I was lucky to have a daycare so near my work that I could park in my regular parking garage and walk the baby over to drop-off. But it meant that every workday started early with a drop off, and ended late with a pick up of a sometimes crabby baby (ah, those drives home with a sad and tired kid, not so fun!). I like having more time in the morning for sure! However, it has thrown my running off. It's not super important, since I have nothing to train for, but I haven't been able to maintain my normal workout routine. On days that David is keeping the baby, I take him in the stroller for my morning run so David doesn't have him ALL day. Maybe one day I can swing speed work with the stroller, but not yet! Coming home is weird, too. I can't kiss my husband and scoop up my baby. I have to undress, wash thoroughly, disinfect phone and keys, put away anything that may have been exposed to airborne virus or contaminated surfaces, wash thoroughly again, and put on fresh clothes. Only then am I comfortable holding the baby. One I DO take the baby, I have him for the duration: there is no neighbor, family, or babysitter to give me a break, and I don't ask David to care for him at night if he's been home with him all day. He needs time for himself. But that means that my only "me" time work! To keep myself sane and in shape, I've started doing my preventative work - stretching, hips, yoga, core - at work. Normally I wouldn't have time, but I do in this time of decreased business. My technician joins me, and it gives us a midday moment for a physical and mental refresh. It's also good for us as coworkers: we're bonding over our collective immobility!

Being stuck at home isn't my favorite. We're the family that likes to be out and about! Right before we were instructed to stay at home, we had started taking the baby out places. We went to an art opening one weekend, and the next had dinner at a wine bar and restaurant (church the next day was our last outing anywhere!). The negatives to staying home include the risk that our baby grows up way too attached to mom and dad, and unhappy going to strangers or adjusting his schedule. But on the positive side, it's forcing us to stay home and get to know our six weeks of maternity leave was by no means enough time to recover physically and settle into a good routine with the baby. I was happy to go back to work, but honestly 8-10 weeks would have been better. Now, all of us are forced to stay home, and it's helping us both be pro parents! I am really good at "reading" babies (lots and lots of experience!) but David is new to this, and he has especially benefited. Now he'll quickly assess the baby's needs: "Oh, he's getting ready for a nap. Oh, he's bored with that book." There will always be time to go out later. So that's a bright side!

If you are still going to work, or going out shopping for essentials, how is this affecting your daily life? Do you have a decontamination routine? Are you masking out of the house?


  1. Darn it is tough to juggle everything when you don't have adequate child care and can't get adequate child care in the current circumstances! Our daycare is still open. Most have closed but ours hasn't... The cases are lower here so I think they felt comfortable staying open so they could provide care to essential worker - like you! This is Paul's 4th week home with us. We are debating sending him back late next week. It's just really hard to balance caring for him and working. It doesn't work to get up early or work after he is in bed as my day is so dictated by the market/requests from clients/etc. So I really need to be working 7:30-4. We are making it work but it's hard. Phil still goes into the office 2-3 days/week. It's completely dead downtown so he feels fairly safe as he barely sees anyone and has an office.

    I barely leave the house since I'm high risk. Phil does all our grocery shopping and errand running. The only time I leave is to go for walks with Paul. And I had a couple of urgent dr appt/blood draws that I couldn't miss so I went to those, but the doctor's offices were completely dead.

  2. That sounds really challenging! Just as you were getting into the groove of daycare and being a mother- this happens. I have so much respect and admiration for all that you do.