Am I wearing too many hats? Learning how to juggle it all: Living in a world affected by the COVID19
By Crystal Elaine Ellison • March 30, 2020•Writers in Residence
On March 13, 2020 the president of the United States issued a declaration for a national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak. The nation has been severely rocked! The disease is both deadly and easily contactable. The virus is spread primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell. However, there are many survivors. For more information on this virus, you can visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
The safest way of not contracting the virus is to STAY HOME and to PREVENT OTHERS from visiting your home.
Thank you to the frontline workers
I want to sincerely thank the frontlines workers: doctors, nurses, CNA’s, LPN’s, medical staff, janitors, etc. I know you’re risking your own lives for the lives of others. You’re committing self-less acts. You miss your family and friends. You miss a sense of normalcy. You’re trying to survive. I commend you. I thank you. You are not going unnoticed. I pray for you. God is watching over you! To those Walmart and grocery store workers who get up and go to work so that we can have everyday necessities, thank you! You are appreciated. Recently, Mark Esper, US Defense Secretary, signed an order freezing the movements of all US troops overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means, all US service members overseas or currently scheduled to deploy from the US will stay in their current locations for the next 60 days. To you all, I say, be positive. I know PTSD is real. I know suicidal thoughts are real. I know depression is real. Keep pushing. Do not give up. God provides us hope. You are appreciated, but most of all: you are valued!
How COVID-19 has affected my life
Due to the coronavirus, I’m currently working from home. I’m also home schooling my 8-year-old daughter and caring for my entergetic one-year old little boy. The county where I reside issued an emergency 30-day stay-at-home order effective March 24, 2020 in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 pursuant to the authority provided in K.S.A. 65-119, K.S.A. 65-129b, K.S.A. 65-202 and other applicable laws or regulations. The order requires residents to remain home except for activities “essential to the health and safety” of themselves, family members or friends. My daughters’ school informed me that she’ll now be required to complete and submit assignments from home.
A typical day for me goes a little like this: Everyone is sleep. I am awakened very early in the morning, most days by my son pulling at his bedroom door in an effort to get someone to open the door. In the past week, he has transitioned from a crib to a toddler bed. Lord, help me! Before I can completely open the door and change his pullup, his first words to me are “Mama, Mama” (in his sweet baby voice). Next, it’s “water, nan-na (“banana”), remote, TV, eat” (in his demanding voice). His demands are granted! Then, I’m off to fixing a hot breakfast which consists of oatmeal, sausage/bacon, cheesy eggs, banana and blueberry waffles, tater tots, and orange juice/milk. I work and play with the kiddos until around 1:00pm: naptime! I am often exhausted and nap too, other times, I continue working. Naptime lasts anywhere from 1:00p.m. - 3:00p.m. After nap, the kiddos eat lunch if they didn’t eat before nap. Yes, I know . . . . a 3:00p.m. lunch is a bit nontraditional. But you have to do what works for you and your family. After “lunch”, many things may transpire until it's time for a bath and bed. I’m truly blessed to have a one year old that is on a sleep schedule. By the time 8:00p.m. hits, he generally goes right to sleep. This is the moment where I fall into my bed, backwards, with my arms up like I’m in some sort of laundry commercial falling on top of freshly washed clothing. Finally, I either take a little time for myself, and or work from 8:00p.m. to …. well, that morning hour will remain undisclosed. On the days their dad steps-in, it helps tremendously! Finally, everyone is sleep until I’m awakened in the morning to you know what!
Today, I incorporated my daughter’s home schooling into the above-mentioned routine. Envisioning what homeschooling would look like was scary at first. My mind was spinning at one point. Many thoughts about not wanting to fail as a “home-school-mom” ran through my head. As mothers, we already have the pressures of making sure we spend quality time with our children while still trying to exceed at everything else. I didn’t want that quality time to now be substituted with full-time home schooling. Once I took a breather, I realized that everything was in my head. This should not be difficult. Organization has always been key to my success. Thus, we have created a schedule that incorporates both her schooling and spending quality time together. I also failed to realize that she excels in school and doesn’t require much guidance. Now that my friend, is heaven sent.
Working from home has presented its challenges, but thankfully, most challenges can be overcome. Challenges consisting of things like: a slow connection in the internet, checking in with the gatekeeper before I can get on the employee’s VPN sever, being unable to confer and fellowship with my colleagues, unable to effectively communicate with incarcerated clients, conducting “telephone court”, etc. Working from home is something I know most people have wished for. In hindsight, I don’t know if I’ll ever pray again to work from home one day! However, we – who are now complaining about working from home, respectfully, should humble ourselves. There are millions of workers being laid off from work across the nation. To work from home and have the opportunity to spend more time with our loved ones, continue to receive health insurance, continue to receive a full paycheck, being content in knowing that we can remain safe in your home, not having to worry about where our next meal will come from, not having to worry about how we’ll pay our rent/mortgage, etc. – is truly a blessing! We should be grateful, for there are millions who would gladly step in our shoes!
This pandemic is not a “joke” and it’s far from “fake”
I have to address those who have made a mockery of the coronavirus, or have called this pandemic “fake”. Calling this pandemic “fake”, or a way for the government to control us is offensive to those frontline workers, to the deceased and their loved ones. Nothing is fake about people dying, it’s very much real. Millions of American’s are struggling, a 2 trillion-dollar stimulus packet was signed. Stock markets have crashed. Auto industries are no longer building automobiles, but are instead manufacturing ventilators in hopes of saving lives. This is not a joke. I understand creating jokes to keep people uplifted, often times, laughter cures the soul. But mere ignorance and disrespect is not OK.
I have tried ways of coping with this new way of living during this pandemic. Instead of going to Walmart frequently, I go sparingly. My family and I have gone bike riding, exercised, played numerous games, pranked each other and attacked each other with water gun wars. When my sisters Facetime me and asks me “Why do you have your makeup done and you’re not even going anywhere?” Doing my makeup is fun! It makes me feel better. It’s an outlet. Nevertheless, I have had those moments of feeling hopeless. I have cried several nights for my mother and sister who works at a hospital where COVID-19 deaths have occurred. You have to find that escape that will keep you going. I’m also a firm believer of faith. During this pandemic, I know we are not alone. God truly has this world in his hands. My pastor reminded me to ask God for more faith that overcomes fear. I will trust in God.
This blog is dedicated to my mother and sister who continue to work at a hospital on the front lines of this pandemic each day!