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Life in the time of Coronavirus

if not now then when, new year's goals, New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the better

I’m not doing outrageous New Year’s resolutions this year. I’m making totally realistic resolutions in response to the pandemic. I am learning from my past mistakes, older and wiser and all that shit, and I am sneaking in on this year. I am slowly, tiptoeing in on this bitch. I am creeping. I’m afraid to spook 2021 and have it run away on me. I’m all about the easy New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the better this year while being realistic.

I cannot afford another 2020. In fact, like everyone else, I need a 2020 do-over. Where can I get my refund? I want to see the manager. I’m sick of waiting for things to get better. Time to work through my very legitimate but crippling fear that has had me frozen in place over the last year and safely, from a distance, keep pursuing happiness. If not now, then when?

I tried to be optimistic. I did appreciate the time to think and reflect alone with my family. In the early months, I even tried to see the whole coronavirus lockdown situation as a blessing. The past 11 months have been trying, exhilarating and growth inspiring. I have an entirely new outlook on life but I am exhausted, I’m afraid and I’m losing my patience. I’ve been anxious, depressed and manic. I have run the gamut of emotions and I’ve never wanted to get off a ride as badly as I want to escape the nightmare that 2020 has been.

My 2021 Mantra: If not now, then when?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful that I’ve survived thus far but not unscathed. I’ve lost people. In fact, I’ve become accustomed to the news. It’s not become a matter of fact yet but unfortunately, I am no longer shocked. I’ve seen the worst of people. I’ve seen selfishness and anger but I’ve also seen the best of people; self-sacrifice and kindness. But I want it to be over. I feel like I’ve been serving a prison sentence and I didn’t do anything wrong other than having the misfortune of being diabetic.

This year’s “resolutions” aren’t about dreaming or wishing, it’s about doing. It’s about small tweaks and putting in the work. It’s also about self-awareness and perspective. I want to put in the effort and work towards goals. I want to manifest the life I want by keeping faith and determination in the process and myself. Resolutions don’t have to be grand gestures they can be small goals that you can cross off a list and gain a sense of fulfillment and happiness. Lists give me direction and crossing stuff off of lists give me a true sense of joy and bonus, it’s easy to do.

if not now then when, new year's goals, New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the better, Silver and golden colorful Christmas glitters on turquoise background. Flat lay style. Holiday classic concept.

Easy New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the Better = Goals

  • Get back to a 2019 state of mind. That’s all I want. I want normal back.

  • Work out 5 days a week. Solution: Start small. 15 minutes of movement.

  • Keep A1C in the normal range. Solution: Portion control, stay within my daily carb amounts and exercise.

  • Keep my triglycerides in check. Solution: Pay attention to labels and saturated fat intake.

  • Weight to go back to pre-Covid/ pre-stress eating days.  Solution: Move more and stress less. Grab for healthier options versus all the carbs.

  • Safe travel with my family.  Solution: WAIT!

  • Hug my parents freely without fear I’ll kill them or the need to quarantine for weeks beforehand. Solution: Wait, quarantine and wear my mask.

  • I want to see my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. Solution: Zoom or Facetime. For in-person, drive-by, driveway visits at a social distance outside for the time being. Better to see them safely than not at all.

  • Barbecues and get-togethers without restrictions; ugly sweater parties and costume parties, where we can all laugh and be near one another without suspicion of what every other person in the room was doing or who they were in contact with before being in my breathing space. Solution: Vaccine and herd immunity.WAIT.

  • Attend crowded concerts under the stars with dancing and singing at the top of our lungs. Solution: Until the vaccine is widely available, stream a live concert on a big screen in your yard.

  • Eat at a restaurant. Solution: Some restaurants are offering personal outdoor igloos. Alfresco is the best option right now.

  • Show a sign of peace to the people in the pew next to me at mass. Solution: Peace fingers to friends and family from the appropriate socially safe distance if you don’t have an underlying condition and can attend in-person services, otherwise, stream your services.

  • Sing out loud without fear of spreading a virus or getting punched in the head by someone who is equally afraid of being infected. Solution: For now, do it in your own house or in your own yard.

  • Long, lazy days at crowded beaches and hot summer nights walking the city. Solution: Wait! Empty beaches and masked up walks are fine for now.

  • Work out with my friends. Solution: Challenge each other through apps or outdoor walks in masks.

  • Visit my best friend. Solution: Put on the masks, don’t hug and meet outdoors. For best results, quarantine ahead of time. My best friend is an ER doctor so we really can’t meet right now. We both agree it’s too dangerous.

  • Travel to new and foreign places on an airplane. Solution: I am grounded because it’s not worth the risk with my underlying condition. Other options for local travel are to drive in your own car.

  • Christmas shopping in person and New Year’s eve cheek kisses with strangers. Solution: WAIT!

  • Sit in the stands with thousands of others at football games, Baseball, Soccer and Hockey matches. Solution: Stream it. Sitting in a crowded venue for entertainment right now is risky. If you’re into the thrill of sports betting, you can bet online now on dadu online.

  • Attend Broadway shows. Solution: Broadway direct for the time being.

  • I want my girls to go to school and hang with their friends, chat with boys and eat lunch in the cafeteria like normal teenagers. Solution: Virtual is the only way to go right now for my girls but I am encouraging them to interact more so they feel less isolated.

  • I want birthday parties and weddings and baby showers. Solution: WAIT!

  • I want girls’ nights. Solution: Zoom cocktails for now.

Like my mom has always taught me, where there is a will there is way. Maybe the way is a little different but I’d rather learn new ways than to just feel like I’m always missing out. I don’t really want much just a return to normal. These are small goals that I can actively work towards and be happy. These past few months have taught me that I am resilient and strong but I’m also exhausted and I need people. I miss you all.

What are your Easy New Year’s Resolutions to Change Your Life for the Better?

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8 Practical Ways to Redesign Your Life During a Pandemic

The past 9 months have felt like I’ve been stuck in one of the worst versions of Groundhog Day. Wake up. Change into my daytime pajamas. Don’t leave the house. Work from home. Assist in virtual learning. Do laundry. Sanitize. Sterilize. Do dishes. Cook. Try not to get CoVid. Look at the same 4 walls day in and day out. Repeat. I need change or I’m going to lose my mind.  I’ve been thinking of practical ways to redesign your life during a pandemic just to break up the monotony.

READ ALSO: I miss you most at 6 feet apart.

They say that the best way to predict your future is to create it. I’m a master of my own destiny kind of gal so, I’m down for changing my perspective and my situation. I’m also not fond of being told no. Sometimes you just need to take matters into your own hands, grab life by the reins and saddle up for change. Improving your physical and emotional well-being starts with taking action.

Instead of hoping that life will just get better, here are 8 practical ways to redesign your life during a pandemic.

  1. Work on your fitness routines

The Covid-19 pandemic has tied people down to their homes for most of 2020. It’s easy to sacrifice your fitness goals for the comfort of a sedentary lifestyle. I had to give up my Y membership because it wasn’t safe or pragmatic during a pandemic. Thankfully, there’s another option, simple at-home workouts. You’ll feel better and it will help you stay on top of your health and wellness. Lack the motivation to hit the gym? Why not try something new like cycling or roller skating? According to experts, exercise is healthy for your mental and physical health and all of us can use a little more mental and physical health.

  1. Revise your goals

Many people will agree that goals are instrumental when it comes to achieving success. A person who is not driven by goals may find it challenging to accomplish great things in life because they lack direction. Setting the wrong goals probably won’t lead you to your dreams either. While goals are meant to push you to achieve your dreams, you’ll need to change your goals as your dreams evolve. Therefore, reposition yourself according to the chain of circumstances surrounding your life at any given time. It’s better to focus on goals that will help you become a better version of yourself. Finally, understand the possible challenges that could mar the achievement of your goals and try to overcome them.

  1. Be focused

Smart people always stay focused. Obviously, this is easier said than done in the middle of the new normal. Set aside some time to center your focus; this is a crucial part of redesigning your life. Carefully consider the true desires of your heart and ensure that you are heading in the right direction. At any moment when you realize you are getting distracted, do what you can to stay on track. It starts with identifying your goals and using them as a guide. One thing that distracts you includes negative thoughts, and you should try as much as possible to eliminate them. You can dedicate about 30 minutes of your day trying to boost your focus by engaging in meditation and mindfulness to try and evict negativity.

  1. Learn to say no

External demands can sometimes conflict with your personal interest, but you have to be bold and stand by your sense of judgment. Learn to say no to things that don’t align with goals and aspirations. By paying attention and listening to your inner voice, you can make well-informed decisions and position yourself for success. Moving with the crowd is probably the last thing you want to do if you are on a mission to turn things around in your life. Although sometimes you may feel like you are out of touch with reality, it makes a lot of sense to follow your instincts.

  1. Revamp your beauty goals

Feeling pretty is one way to increase your confidence and redesign your life in that regard. Yes, I know that most of us are rarely leaving the house these days but I’ve got to say, getting dressed in real clothes and fixing my hair and makeup makes me feel more human, more put together and more confident just for me. Today, makeup can not only transform your features but also your state of mind.

  1. Re-evaluate your relationships

How happy are you with your current relationships? Are they motivating you to be better or otherwise? While certain relationships could push you to be a better version of yourself, others could stunt your growth and personal development. Therefore, you need to re-evaluate your circle to see whether it serves a meaningful purpose in your life. For example, if you are someone who is looking forward to settling down with your partner anytime soon, ensure that the feeling is mutual. Be fully prepared for the next chapter of your life. Divorce rates are increasing drastically. Recognizing the importance of relationships is one of the most practical ways to redesign your life during a pandemic.

  1. Take charge of your finances

They say money can’t buy happiness, but neither can the lack of it. At a time when millions of people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, re-examining your relationship with money is not a bad decision. With a solid financial standing, redesigning your life is much easier as you can buy what you need to live comfortably. Consider your monthly income and plan how to spend accordingly. Saving more and spending less is a smart financial strategy you may want to master, especially if you are a breadwinner. Invest like your life depends on it and set up an emergency fund to cater for unforeseeable circumstances such as the coronavirus pandemic. When you do that, you are designing your life for the best while preparing for the worst-case scenarios.

  1. Plan beforehand

Indeed, nobody knows tomorrow, but having a plan is a smart decision. Consider both best and worst-case scenarios and create a strategy for navigating it. For example, the coronavirus pandemic has heavily impacted the world’s tourism industry. And as avid travelers try to endure quarantine inconveniences, they can also plan their post-COVID trips. After all, there is a glimmer of hope that the coronavirus pandemic will soon be a thing of the past as top pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer are inching close to announcing a vaccine. All in all, one way to redesign your life is to stay one step ahead with a plan.

Generally, redesigning your life starts with getting your priorities straight and being consistent with your efforts. Don’t give up on yourself.

What tips would you add to these 8 practical ways to redesign your life during a pandemic?

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Is it Safe for Kids to go Back to School During a Pandemic?

As we’re all faced with the red wire blue wire decision this upcoming school year, it’s hard to know what to do. It seems like a black and white answer to a black and white question but it’s not. It’s a shit load of gray in an ever-growing unknown during an election year and we’re all quickly becoming political collateral damage. But every parent wants to know, is it safe for kids to go back to school during a pandemic?

My youngest daughter is supposed to be starting back to school, in person, tomorrow. She’s not for several reasons but mostly it’s because 3 of the 4 people in our house are either immunocompromised or have underlying conditions. Unfortunately, if one of us is exposed, we’re all vulnerable. Add that to the fact that PreK-2nd grade is not required to masks and 3rd-8th are only required to wear masks during transitions and the window for exposure is too big for my comfort.

READ ALSO: How to Safely Reenter the World After Coronavirus

We’re all in the same boat. Well, we’re all in a boat. I know that too. We’re all faced with the awful decision to decide whether or not to send our kids to school. Well, maybe not. I thought those were the choices but that’s only in my coronavirus boat.

My girls go to a local private school. I’m a work-from-home mom. The Big Guy has a good job as a global business analyst. The girls are well-adjusted and do well in school. Other than Bella having the immune system of a newborn baby, the kids are healthy and happy. We have choices. I knew that if virtual learning wasn’t offered, the decision was still mine. If they didn’t offer what we needed this year, we could choose to explore other options. I also knew that our schools tend to be more flexible than the public school system is. I’m fully aware that my boat is of privilege.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

So when it came to making the decision of what to do with my girls for back to school, the only things that I had to consider were if the reopening plan was safe enough (which it was, at the high school), if our family was healthy enough and if we felt that the coronavirus cases were low enough for us to feel safe sending the girls back into the masked, socially distant, sanitized school system that they attend. I don’t feel comfortable, especially after our pediatrician gave me a scared straight conversation about being diabetic and getting the coronavirus. Add that to the fact that my best friend is an ER doctor who gives me personal Coronavirus briefings and we’ve had about 20 family members contract it, 1 die and 1 currently on a ventilator and I just can’t risk it.

But, what about the single moms and dads? What about the homes where both parents have to work outside of the house? What about the special needs kids? How about the kids who don’t have internet or computers at home? What about the kids who don’t have food at home? Or parents who abuse them? What about the families who have no other options? The families who depend on schools to be open as part of the child’s quality of life? What about the kids who are falling behind?

READ ALSO: Can You Safely Send Kids Back to School During a Pandemic?

What about the teachers? Their families? What about their health and well-being? What about everyone’s mental health? How will being in school masked and feeling like every single other person is a potential threat of contracting CoVid? How are we all expected to bear the weight of carrying it to someone and killing them?

Is it Safe for Kids to go Back to School During a Pandemic?

It’s so hard. Some school districts aren’t even giving families the choice to do virtually. Our school originally only offered it to children with underlying conditions or who had family members with underlying conditions, and anyone who tested positive or was exposed to CoVid-19. But last Friday, they offered virtual learning options to anyone who doesn’t feel safe sending their children into the schools.

I had already opted in and scheduled Teams meetings with my daughters’ teachers so they could “meet” them virtually. The Vice Principal is coordinating a private verification day and book pick up. The classes will be offered synchronously (live-streamed in real-time). My girls will be socially distancing from our home.

READ ALSO: I Miss you Most at 6-Feet Apart

I’ve seen lots of people struggle with whether or not to send their children into the schools. At first, it seems like an easy decision when deciding between our children’s health and exposure to coronavirus. However, it’s much more complicated than that for many. It’s a gentle balance between their mental and their physical health. I get that kids need friends and socialization. My girls would love to see their friends and gain that charge only time spent with girlfriends can bring but with the risk of contracting CoVid and the unknown of the long term effects, I can’t reconcile my mind to do it not when I have a child who is more vulnerable to catching viruses and less capable of fighting them off. For me, they can make up a year of school and they can spend time with their friends virtually and later but once you contract this virus, none of us knows how it’s going to affect us now or in the future.

Is it Safe for Teachers to go Back to School During a Pandemic??

I’ve also seen lots of posts of people saying teachers are essential workers and they need to do their jobs and go back into the classroom and if they don’t want to, let someone else have their jobs. Yet, we pay them less than fast-food restaurant workers. Many of my friends and family members work in education. People who teach are special. They educate, nurture and care for your children 7 hours of the day. They spend money out of pocket and work well beyond school hours. It is done from a place of goodness and righteousness. It’s not for the money. We couldn’t afford to pay them what they’re worth. During a pandemic, do we really expect them to risk their own health and the health of their families for our sake?

Before I had the girls, I worked in education for over a decade. Last August, I went back to the classroom. I worked with 4 and 5-year-olds. I loved them. Truly loved each and every one of them. Every day I went into that classroom, their parents entrusted those tiny humans into our care and our teachers educated them and molded their brains.

Is anyone safe to go back to school during a pandemic?

In our classroom of 3 educators, I got to be the nurturing, mommy type, because that’s who I am. I spent my days walking into the room and feeling like a rock star with 23 little souls chanting my name, like I was Taylor Swift, I held hands and band-aided booboos. Those kids were my joy and watching them grow and learn was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. However, I also got sick 10 times last year. The last virus, my doctor thinks it was coronavirus, was so bad that I gave my notice. Little people coughed and sneezed directly into my mouth 4 times.

I’ve held little hands covered in boogers and had my arm licked from the hand up to the elbow while walking with a 5-year-old, more times than I can count. I soothed them when their hearts were aching for their mama’s on those first days of school. I held their hair when they vomited from the stomach flu and carried them to the nurse when they were feverish. My point is that as much as teachers love what they do, they shouldn’t have to put their own health in jeopardy to do it, definitely not during a pandemic. If your child can’t follow the rules and wear a mask maybe you should ask yourself, is it safe for kids to go back to school during a pandemic? If they can’t or you don’t feel safe, let them learn virtually.

READ ALSO:  The New Normal is Not Normal

So before you judge what any other parent, teacher or child is doing this school year, consider that maybe you don’t know what they’re going through, what they’ve been through or who they’ve lost. Stop expecting your child’s teachers to risk their lives because you don’t believe the pandemic is real. Start wearing your masks and make sure that your children are wearing theirs so we can all get back to living in this new normal safely. The thing is that as long as all of us aren’t doing our part, all of us are in danger and the longer the numbers are going to go up…the longer none of us can get back to safely living our normal lives.

What do you think, is it safe for kids to go back to school during a pandemic? Why or why not?

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How to Safely Reenter the World After Coronavirus Quarantine

Over the course of 2020, the ‘new normal’ has become staying indoors, avoiding others and keeping our distance. As sad as this reality is, it is a necessary step for keeping ourselves and others safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Staying indoors and being afraid to hug or be near others was bound to have a negative effect on our mental health; many people struggled to cope with the reality of the situation, and understandably so. I am too.

While this pandemic is still a part of our lives, slowly the world is beginning to open up again, freeing us up to socialize again. But what if we don’t want to? What if it’s not safe? Sometimes, just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean that we should. We all want to know how to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

Reentry is anxiety-inducing and frightening. Re-emerging into normality after quarantine is stressful. Those of us who’ve diligently stuck to the rules and been isolated for months feel trepidatious and scared to go back to socializing like we used to. The idea of commuting on public transportation or being in a crowded office is totally overwhelming. How can we get used to being outside and back to reality when almost everyone and everything can be a potential threat in the time of Coronavirus?

Here’s how to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine:

Firstly, ease into it. Jumping in at the deep end and going totally back to normal is both unsafe and unsettling. Prioritize your own mental health and take it step by step. Don’t over commit to too many things. Even if work or friends are pressuring you into doing the ‘normal things’ you used to do, get comfortable saying no. Just like the transition into quarantining was challenging, coming out will be equally hard, and you should allow yourself to feel vulnerable and worried. Trust your gut.

Secondly, prepare yourself. Bring your mask. Just because you’re going to an event where social distancing is in place that doesn’t mean people will be following the rules. You’ll feel safer if you come prepared with your mask and hand sanitizer. Check out this FDA Approved and CE Certified medical mask at https://www.ltc.sg/product/disposable-medical-surgical-mask/#tab-reviews to ensure your family’s protection. Don’t feel weird or apologize for wearing your mask, even if others aren’t. Do what makes you feel comfortable. If you need to leave, leave. Don’t put yourself in danger because you’re afraid to hurt someone else’s feelings.

READ ALSO:  Can You Safely Send Kids Back to School During a Pandemic?

Thirdly, invest in helpful tools to help you organize your life while on the go. We’re all comfortable being home all day – collecting packages, organizing your space throughout the day and having everything just so. Going back to spending more time away from home can create organizational anxiety which negatively affects your experiences of re-entry. Using online organizational tools such as https://physicaladdress.com/ can help alleviate stress and create a calm outlook on returning to normality.

Finally, be sure you keep in touch with the real news, not speculation that circulates on social media. Don’t let Facebook be your source of information. Check the CDC, WHO and your local health department’s websites. Read the actual facts and figures of coronavirus cases in your area. Don’t assume what you read on Twitter or Facebook is always true. Reading opinions rather than facts can spin you into an unnecessary panic. Social Media will stop you from feeling comfortable living your day to day life.

It’s vital to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine

For now, we’ll be learning virtually and working from home. As cases are rising here, home is where I feel is best for our family. What is your plan to safely reenter the world after coronavirus quarantine?

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new normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

Like most parents, I’m overwhelmed trying to decide whether or not to send my girls back to a private school this fall and I know that I am not alone. August 13th is coming at us like a freight train. I’m not normally a nervous person but the thought of sending my girls back to school has me terrified. The question every parent wants the answer to is how to send kids back to school during a pandemic? Is it even possible to do it safely? Let’s ask the CDC

I’m an optimist but I also have common sense and I do not take chances when it comes to the life and death of my girls. On March 9, my best friend (who happens to be an ED doctor) called and warned me that quarantine was coming and Coronavirus was much more serious than any of us anticipated. By that Thursday, I had decided to take my girls out of school. New normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Should Know About Coronavirus

It was an easy decision. My daughters’ health was in jeopardy by an unknown pandemic. My gut told me what to do and I did it. We’re still quarantining because there is still so much about the pandemic that we don’t fully understand. I’ve lost friends and family members, more each day are contracting this virus. With each announcement, I’m more acutely aware of how easily any one of us can fall victim to it, and none of us know how our immune system will react to it. If you’ve given yourself false security by choosing to believe that it’s only other people’s families and friends who die from CoVid-19, you’re wrong. It doesn’t discriminate. Anyone of us can get it.

I felt safe when we were all staying in the house. I know that’s not sustainable for the long-term.

Was it frustrating for the world to come to a screeching halt? Yes, I’m not naturally a person who can stay still.

Is distance learning inconvenient and stressful? Yes.

Do I wish everyone’s lives could go back to normal and we could safely go back to life as we knew it before CoVid? More than anything. We’ve lost months of plans, travels, celebrations and time with people we love that we won’t ever be able to recover.

Do I want my girls to enjoy their 8th grade and sophomore year of school, filled with firsts and lasts and all the childhood goodness in between? 1000x yes but I don’t think it’s possible this year. We’re no safer than we were in March. In truth, it’s even more dangerous now because, people refuse to wear masks and social distance, and those are the only weapons we have to currently protect us.

READ ALSO: Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients

I’d like to believe that if everyone was taking responsibility for their own well-being, observing social distancing and wearing medical face masks, we could all find our way through this together. It would be easier to trust that people were trying to do the right thing. We could all take peace knowing that we were all working together to protect each other, out of human courtesy and respect for life, regardless of a little personal inconvenience.

The government is urging our schools to open, even threatening to withhold funds. How can they ask parents to send the children we created, birthed and love more than anything else in this world back into schools in the middle of a pandemic? I fully understand that our economy is in danger of collapse because of shutdowns but at what cost are we willing to sacrifice for economic comfort? We can live without a lot of comforts but my children are not an option. No one wants to sacrifice their family for economic recovery.  Nobody should have to. Human life is irreplaceable, no matter your politics. I wouldn’t sacrifice my enemy’s life for my own economic satisfaction.

People are scared of losing their homes, their jobs, and their very way of life because of coronavirus. Requiring that our children go back to the classroom is irresponsible and dangerous. Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump are effectively saying that our children’s lives, the teachers’ lives, and our (the parents’) lives are less important than the DOW Jones. It’s easy to surmise that when an administration lies to a nation and tells us the opposite of common sense and truth, puts our lives in jeopardy, there’s another agenda right beneath the surface and it’s not altruistic and it has nothing to do with our freedoms. It’s about what politics has always been about money and power.

READ ALSO:  I Miss you Most at 6-Feet Apart

You’re probably wondering how to send kids back to school in a pandemic. What our high school is doing has addressed a lot of my concerns. It’s a very comprehensive and well-thought-out plan but even still, I’m not sure that it’s enough to convince me to feel safe enough to send my daughters to school. At the end of the day, my kid is still immune-compromised and I’m diabetic. Whether I want to believe it or not, going into a public place of 1000 or more students (even with a mask and everything intended to be done right) in one building puts their lives in jeopardy because there is a lot of room for human error. When you’re dealing with children, human error is more likely than not.

new normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

Here are a few things our school is doing to send kids back to school during a pandemic, I won’t share it all because it’s a 16 page PDF ( I told you that it was comprehensive) but here are a few things:

  1. Masks to be worn in transition (in and out of building, between classes, on way to anywhere).
  2. In class, the desk will be socially distanced, masks are not required (this part gives me pause)
  3. unless asking a teacher for help.
  4. If you are in a class with a teacher who is older or immune-compromised, mask must be worn the entire time. If you cannot do so, due to a medical reason, the student will be transferred to a different classroom.
  5. Anyone who tests positive, must stay home for 10 days and must be fever free for 72 hours. Cannot return to school without a physician’s note and negative tests for coronavirus.
  6. There is a separate CoVid isolation room with plexiglass between beds and its own ventilation system for anyone exhibiting symptoms. Students must be picked up within 30 minutes if sick and going home.
  7. Students who are vulnerable, immune-compromised, have parents who with underlying conditions, have been exposed to CoVid or have tested positive symptomatic or asymptomatic are to participate in virtual learning which will be live-streamed daily by all teachers so kids can “attend” class from home and have live interaction and learning.
  8. Desks and chairs need to be sanitized when students enter the room and before they leave. Regular COVID 19 Disinfection should be done all around the school.
  9. Hallways will be one way.
  10. 10 minutes between classes to allow for one-way traffic and getting books in a safe manner.
  11. All returned library books will be isolated for 10 days.
  12. The school will be fogged nightly.
  13. Lunch will be socially distanced, utilizing cafeteria and Basketball gym as well as adding a 4th lunch period. Lunches are to be packed from home or plated and delivered by cafeteria workers. Masks must be worn until sat at chosen, assigned (for the year) seat. No more a la cart offerings. Only touchless pay. In addition, schools can also opt for a food service company in order to ensure safe and healthy food for the students.
  14. Lockers will now be Freshman, sophomore, junior and senior versus whole grades in certain hallways. No sharing of lockers unless you are related and quarantined together, in which case, you will be required to share a locker with your sibling.
  15. Students will be dismissed to lockers in a staggered phase i.e. Freshman and Juniors after the first period, then sophomores and Seniors after the second period, alternating as such for the remainder of the day.
  16. Daily dismissal staggered.

There is so much more. Our plan is very comprehensive. It’s great on paper. I’m just not so sure how it will work in reality.  I hope it works and fully recognize that it’s a little different for our private school than it is for public schools. It’s a privilege that all of our students have laptops and WiFi and that many of our students have at least one parent who stays at home and can readily be available when and if we need to go to virtual learning.

If your kids ever want to experience high school study abroad, there are companies that make this possible even during this time of pandemic. Health and safety of the kids will always be prioritized throughout the program. You can check out https://www.studentliving.sodexo.com for a wide range of the best student accommodations all over the world.

READ ALSO: The New Normal is Not Normal

You’re not alone. None of know how to do this. We’re all in this together. But if you can’t reconcile yourself to which way to choose, if you can, err on the side of caution. We can overcome a pandemic but we can’t bring back the dead. Go with your gut and do what’s best for your family and your child. This is a new territory and there is no absolute right or wrong answer but I think the choice ultimately should be with the parents. No matter what you decide, we’re all in this pandemic together. Stay safe, wash your hands, social distance and PLEASE wear your masks.

Are you or what are your thoughts on how to send kids back to school during a pandemic?

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new normal isn't normal at all, coronavirus, pandemic

We’ve been sheltering in place for 10 weeks. It’s been challenging in some ways. In other ways, there’s been peace in knowing that I’m doing my part to keep everyone safe. I’m not a doctor, nurse, first responder or healthcare worker. I can’t save lives on the front lines like some but I can do my best. I can shelter in place, wear my mask and social distance. It’s been hard mentally, physically and spiritually and the new normal isn’t normal at all.

I’m an extrovert. I’m human and I need people. Even more than that, I care about people so while it feels completely unnatural to shelter in place, I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s the only thing I can do, anything else would be selfish. So while my soul may be craving the attention of an audience, my brain knows better.

READ ALSO: How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Pandemic

Last week the Big Guy had to go back into the office as Indiana is reopening. His job can be done from home, and that is what the governor’s guidelines recommend, but his company is “essential” so they require that everyone needs to be back in the office.

My husband is one of 3 people wearing a mask, out of 600 people. Working in a cubicle leaves him exposed. Others aren’t observing social distancing so he wears his mask because he is hypertensive, I am diabetic and our daughter is immunocompromised. He wears his mask because if he contracts Coronavirus he doesn’t want to pass it on to us nor does he want to be responsible for passing this potentially deadly virus to one of his coworkers and their families. Unfortunately, most are not extending us the same courtesy. So he wears his mask, despite others not wearing theirs.

This new normal isn’t normal at all and it hangs in the air like a death sentence when you try to ignore it, just waiting for you to let your guard down.

It’s difficult for him to breathe wearing his mask for 10 hours a day, at his desk, on the computer (doing what he’s been doing from home for the past 8 weeks) but he goes in because we need an income. His glasses fog up so badly that he can’t wear them. He’s getting sores on his face from the mask rubbing the bridge of his nose from talking all day. Still, despite the weird looks he gets from all of his coworkers and as uncomfortable as it may be, he knows that being dead or killing someone we love would be worse.

READ ALSO: I Miss You Most at 6 Feet Apart

His choices are to prioritize our health or our livelihood. We can die from coronavirus or we can die from starvation. The choice is ours. I did not want him to go back into the office. He asked if he could work from home. He reminded them of our conditions and his. They were not moved. His attendance at the office was mandatory.

Every day, I’m afraid for him. I worry about him. The thought of him in his office being physically and mentally uncomfortable, having trouble breathing, feeling jeered and dismissed for being cautious is horrible. He’s doing the right things but sometimes doing the right thing is hard. He’s doing hard things every single day, for his family.

New normal isn’t normal at all.

Despite the world being upside down right now and our entire way of living being turned inside out, we try to do our best. However, is our best good enough? I’ve found that there is a false sense of hope that is born out of feeling “normal”. You see, when we went into lockdown, I got really stressed out. I’m not talking about your everyday run of the mill stress eat carbs. I’m talking about forgetting all the rules, we’re all going to die, release the cortisol, this is fight or flight. “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father prepare to die” kind of end of the road dire straits.

READ ALSO: How Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise

But then the Big Guy went back to the office and I lost 3 pounds almost immediately. I was walking again and, despite my allergies being out of control, I could finally exhale and feel “normal” in the “new normal.” My brain subconsciously sent a message to my body that everything was going to be alright because today resembled some random Wednesday back in 2019 before all of this bullshit happened.

Even though I know we’re right in the middle of a pandemic and my new normal is wearing a mask and not touching people and who knows when my children will be able to go back to school, that simple act of the Big Guy leaving the house tricked my brain into a false sense of safety and I think that’s happening to a lot of people. They’re not seeing the people they love die so it doesn’t feel real to them. I know it’s real. It’s a silent, deadly killer that walks up on you in broad daylight. Maybe you’ll get lucky and be asymptomatic but while you’re not exhibiting symptoms, you’re giving it to everyone around you.

New normal isn’t normal

The weather is changing. Sure we had snow last week (in May) but now the warm weather is coming and everything in the Midwest is blooming, the governors are opening the states (the public is skipping over steps and ignoring others) and from the inside of my house, it’s beginning to feel normal.  We’ve been hiding indoors from coronavirus for so long, we’ve almost forgotten it’s out there. Not really but in a way, I feel safe because it looks like a normal day in May.

The quietness of it, the hushed whispers and contradictory reports are confusing and they fool you into having hope that the worst is over but then my brain kicks in and I remind myself that this virus hasn’t gone and is going nowhere anytime soon. We have no cure, there is no vaccine and, really, there is still so much that is unknown about how coronavirus works long term. What we do have right now is common sense, some basic precautions to take to stop the spread and flatten the curve and we have choices to make but unfairly we have a false sense of security that might lead us beyond our reason and into danger.

READ ALSO: How to Enjoy Your Summer Together while Social Distancing

All the doctors can do right now is best guess treat the symptoms. The scary part is the tests are still not meeting the standard of care we need. There is still a huge percentage of false negatives. An ED doctor friend of mine told me that she had 2 patients who were obviously infected with CoVid19 test negative. The test isn’t working guys and we don’t know how or if reinfection is going to hit someone who’s already been there and done that or how hard it’s going to hit if it does.

There’s security in normalcy even when it’s not safe. But there’s no safety in the new normal because the new normal isn’t normal at all. Enjoy the quiet moments in the sun with your family. When it starts to feel like things are all right in the world just remember to be safe. Don’t forget that right around the corner a silent killer is lurking but you can save yourself. All you need to do is practice social distancing for a little while longer and wear a mask. That’s it and you can be a hero, not just for yourself but for the people you love too.

What are you doing to protect yourself and the people you love in the new normal?

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Mother's Day

I wasn’t sure what to expect this year for Mother’s Day. Normally, my only wish is peace, a clean house and not be needed. I appreciate a good day off of mom duty. I know it sounds selfish when so many moms just want to celebrate with their children or their moms but really all I want is a quiet house with no one asking anything of me. I want 24 hours of no responsibilities and no one depending on me for anything. I want to just be me. Somehow this Mother’s Day was more special than any other.

Normally, what I’ve wanted is exactly what the Big Guy has given me. It’s a Queen for the day situation. Well, to be honest, with the Big Guy, he always treats me like a queen just this queen has to do dishes and break up bickering matches between teenagers and fold laundry. Being a queen is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes, I just want to drive somewhere with my favorite music blaring singing at the top of my lungs or eat what I want to eat or watch a rated R movie or binge a foreign film series without judgment. I hate the feeling of expectation. You know when the world gives you some side-eye as it wonders pretty damn aloud, why you aren’t doing something else…something they deem productive? No, just me?

READ ALSO: A Mother’s Day I’ll Never Forget

I grew up in a house where weekends were not for sleeping in; they were for waking up even earlier to get more done. And you never had the luxury of being bored because my father would find some household chore for you to do. Everything was never always done and there was plenty to go around. And so, now, I find I almost impossible to relax if anyone else is around. If you are anyone who could possibly expect anything from me…you can rest assured that I cannot relax.

But this year, Mother’s Day fell on quarantine, so did the anniversary of my miscarriage which I observe every year as my national day of grief (this year I had an audience because everyone was underfoot), as did my husband’s birthday, our 21st wedding anniversary is this weekend and my daughter’s 13th birthday. This shelter in place is really jacking up life as we know it. My expectations for Mother’s Day were pretty low.

I didn’t expect gifts because who can go shopping. I didn’t expect fancy brunches at a restaurant or visits from my mom or my sisters. All I wanted was my day off but how? We’re all in this quarantine together so I couldn’t really expect alone time. All I really wanted was no bickering between the kids, no housework for me and not to have to worry about dinner. Done, done and done. But something was different, aside from the world being in a coronavirus tizzy… my girls did something different.

READ ALSO: Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead on Mother’s Day

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve all been quarantined for over 2 months or the fact that they are getting older or maybe they just were trying to make me happy with their thoughtfulness but they surprised me. Both girls posted sweet messages on Instagram with pictures of us from when they were little. It wasn’t about the picture on social media it was the fact that they said how much they loved and appreciated me, with specifics, online, in front of everyone. They’re teens.

Not to be that person but my 15-year-old called me, “Diosa,” which means goddess. Fuck a queen, my girl thinks I’m a goddess and she called me her best friend. Then, she thanked me for making her the “bad bitch” she is. Now, I don’t like women being called bitches but when my teen thinks of herself as a “bad bitch” I call that a mom win.

My youngest, who I’m pretty sure hates me on most days because fucking hormones and she is my teen wonder twin, told me not only that she loves me so much but more importantly she said that I’m always there for her and never give up on her which I don’t ever but I wasn’t sure she realized that until that moment. The fact that she does lets me know that I’m on the right track. God knows we moms spend so much time trying to figure out what’s going on in our kids’ heads. It was so nice for them to tell me.

READ ALSO: The Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Not going to lie, I’ve done a lot of shit in my life. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m well-educated, well-traveled, I’m cultured and I believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to and still these two girls are and always will be my legacy, my greatest achievement. My goal is to raise good human beings and that’s a lifetime position. It’s hard work; it takes up all of my time, my energy, my heart and my soul but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Their words, those notes, unprompted and unsolicited expressions of love, meant more to me than any gift ever could.

I don’t know what you did for Mother’s Day or how your family celebrated you but I hope they made you feel like a Diosa, a goddess, and I hope you know how much they love and appreciate you. You’re a bad bitch and I see you. So when you’re tired, exhausted from no sleep, dealing with tantrums or bickering teens, sick children and it feels like nothing in the world is going right…you’re homeschooling and you’re never off duty, just remember inside the crazy storm of motherhood, there is a calmness. Motherhood is misery peppered with profound moments of bliss. I know I’m a day late because I was trying to just be yesterday but Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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coronavirus, 6 feet apart

The past 7 weeks have been life-changing for all of us. I can feel it in the very thread of my soul. 50 days is a long time to be apart from the ones you love and society in general. Honestly, 6 feet apart can feel like miles when it’s the people you love who you want to be nearest to. Coronavirus has taken physical contact out of the equation for all of us.

My family is very close emotionally but more than that, we’re a very touchy, feely group. There are a lot of us and we were raised on good morning, and off to work/school, home from work/school, and good night kisses. No matter what kind of day you had or how many times we fought, in the end, there was always love. These hugs and kisses were guaranteed. Maybe we didn’t have money but in love, we were/are rich.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Should Know about Coronavirus

This is not just a childhood thing, I’m a grown woman, mother to two and when I’m home or my parents visit, I kiss them good morning, good night and whenever I leave the house. My kids do the same with their grandparents. We all do the same at our house. My brothers and sisters do it at their homes and whenever we visit one another, there is a good 15 minutes of just welcoming hugs and kisses and we love every single moment of it all. It is as natural and necessary as breathing for us so it’s been really hard.

Add to that the fact that my dad had just returned from months in Mexico for Bella’s quince that never happened, the week before the shelter in place order went into effect. I got to see him and my mother the day before it went into place. I haven’t seen them since. My youngest sister just had a baby 3 weeks ago. I haven’t met the baby yet. My middle sister is planning a wedding, I haven’t gotten to help her at all. My 3 brothers live in town but for the better part of this shelter in place, I’ve felt like I was hiding in place. I haven’t been inside anywhere in weeks and the only people I’ve seen have been the random neighbor here and there that I try to avoid on my walks.

READ ALSO: Doctor Gave Up Her Kids for Months to Save Yours

After a while, it starts to feel normal and that might be the worst part of all. 3 out of the 4 people in my house fall into the underlying condition category, so I’m in this for the long haul. I know this. I’m fine being in my house but lately, I’ve been missing my family in ways that I can’t explain.

I’m missing them in the little ways, my little brother’s Charlie Brown dance he does to make us laugh at family gatherings; the look on my little sister’s face when she watches her boys, the serious look of confusion and love that floods my middle sister’s face when we bullshit her about something, or my big little brother’s smirk when he’s bullshitting us or the care and concern in my middle brother’s voice when he asks if you’re alright and is genuinely concerned. I miss that same serious face my mom gives me before she breaks into my big little brother’s smile when she’s pulling my leg. I miss my dad’s laugh and the way he always blesses me before he leaves me or I leave him because we were raised that every time could be the last so always say I love you and that’s never been more true than now.

READ ALSO: Interview with a Coronavirus Doctor on the Frontline

Most days, I push it all down and try not to feel it. But this week, this is my terrible, no good, very bad week of the year. Every year since 2012. Even when I forget the anniversary, my heart remembers and it’s soft and sensitive and exposed and it hurts. It’s the one week of the year when I always need a soft place to land and here I am twisting in the wind. Right now, this 6-feet-apart feels like miles and miles and miles. I feel so alone.

The other day, I needed to see family. I needed to hear their laughter, see their faces and feel their energy; the energy I was born of. The family who knows all of my secrets and shares my history and loves me still; loves me more than I probably deserve and always has me held in their hearts, lifting me up in prayer and covering me in blessings and unconditional love even when I feel unblessable and completely and utterly unlovable. Still, there they are always in all the ways. My family is truly everything to me.

READ ALSO: How Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise

The other day, I made an executive decision as I am known to do and I told my brothers,” I’m driving by just to see your faces.” 6-feet-apart, so close but so far apart. And while it was balm to my soul to see their faces and hear their voices I never realized how much it would break my heart to have to walk away, to be in their orbit, and not get to hug them. It was almost unbearable and felt absolutely unnatural. It was the first time since they’ve each been born that I’ve seen them and not hugged and kissed them. I left feeling sad and hollow.

Mentally, I know that I saw them. We spoke and laughed and fed off of one another but the physical connection that transcends time and space that comes with touch was missing and there I sat, looking right at them, missing them and that’s a horrible side effect of the coronavirus. I can give up going to Target and restaurants and movie theaters. I can even give up travel and the freedom to roam the world as I so much like to do but giving up my people, the handful of people who mean everything to me, that’s hard but it’s selfish not to right now. So I take what I can get. Spaced laughter, togetherness apart, 6-feet apart dinners on my deck, movies in my family room with masks on with the same people who I share a mother and father.

READ ALSO: How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Pandemic

I’ll keep dropping snacks off at my friend’s and family’s houses just to get a passing glimpse of their smiles and to feel connected. If that means that I have to drive 3 hours to get a glimpse of my parents from 6-feet-apart for a couple of hours, it’ll be worth it to see my mom’s smiling eyes above her mask and hear my dad bestow upon me a blessing before I get back in my car to drive the 3 hours home. Until then, it’s ok to feel sadness and grief to miss what might have been and what once was. At least, when this is all over and we’re all safe and healthy, we’ll all have each other’s hugs to look forward to. For now, we stay 6-feet-apart so we don’t end up 6-feet-under.

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