By Aubrey Everett
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. Work, parenting, travel and daily routines were all thrown topsy-turvy in an effort to combat the spreading virus. We adapted and found new ways to juggle our personal and professional lives. Now that we are moving towards widespread vaccinations and safer social options, our family is evaluating what we are eager to add back into our lives and what we can leave behind.
Now that we are moving towards widespread vaccinations and safer social options, our family is evaluating what we are eager to add back into our lives and what we can leave behind.
The switch to virtual learning, work and even medical appointments was a significant shift. Many things were much harder, but, to our surprise, some things turned out to be easier. Or not as big of a deal as we anticipated. Looking back at what we were forced to restructure, we can now take stock of what changes we want to carry into the future.
Things I Will Add Back
Toddler activities. Perhaps the most challenging part of the pandemic for our family was entertaining a busy toddler – indoors – during a long New England winter. The combination of dark, cold days and nowhere to go for indoor activities, made the prospect of spring even more tantalizing.
When it is safe, we will participate in all the toddler activities we can fit on our calendar. Swim class, playgroups, activity centers, museums, the library, even a stroll around Target or IKEA will feel like an adventure. Just one of these activities on a weekend day adds a little excitement to our routine.
Playdates. We can’t wait to see friends again regularly. I am eager for my son to socialize with other children his age, and it always gives me a boost to chat with other adults. I looked forward to playdates before the pandemic and will cherish them even more now.
Travel. Our young son will not remember that he did not get to travel for a year, but we will. Travel at this age can be difficult with the amount of gear and logistics involved, but it is a way for our family to build memories. We want to introduce our son to new places, allow him to see new things, and bring him along to destinations that are important to us as a couple.
Returning to the office. Remote work has been revolutionary and shows how much is possible without being in a physical location with your team. But it also made clear how much I enjoy getting out of the house, interacting with people in person, and breaking for lunch or coffee to chat about the latest news. Working from home can be lonely, and my hope is that there is a happy middle ground.
Things I Will Leave
Gyms. The pandemic introduced me to the vast world of at-home workout options. Gone are the days of tearing a workout plan out of a fitness magazine or popping in a redundant workout tape. Now we have YouTube channels, virtual yoga challenges, Peloton bikes, quality fitness apps, Instagram tutorials – the options are endless. The best part is that most of these platforms allow you to connect with other users, creating a sense of community inside your own home. I can’t see going back to a gym or fitness studio when these options are available at any time without any need to travel.
The pandemic introduced me to the vast world of at-home workout options. Gone are the days of tearing a workout plan out of a fitness magazine or popping in a redundant workout tape.
Restaurants are a treat. I am not swearing off dining-in forever, but the pandemic has made me realize how much I enjoy eating a takeout meal at home in my sweatpants. When our toddler is finally asleep at the end of a long day, it feels relaxing to eat dinner in comfort while not having to cook. With takeout and delivery options firmly in place, this is a change we have welcomed.
Indoor shopping. Curbside pick-up for the win! We already did plenty of online shopping, but the 2-3 day shipping windows often left me in a bind when I needed something right away. The increase in curbside pickup options has filled this gap and comes in especially handy when you have a sleeping baby or a toddler that needs a short car ride to chill out. Target, Walmart, Old Navy, Osh Kosh, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, and many more stores now offer this useful service that has drastically changed the way we shop.
In-person medical appointments. There will always be things a medical professional need to see or address in person, but the pandemic has revealed how many services can be handled through telehealth. Mental health services, yearly specialist check-ins, and even Early Intervention services have all been conducted successfully through telehealth. A 10-minute specialist meeting where previously I had to drive, park, wait and use paid time off to attend, now only takes a click of a button and the use of my webcam.
Movie theaters. My husband may disagree with me here, but I can’t see going back to the movies with any frequency. The availability of television shows, movies and other content through streaming services covers just about everything we need. For much less than the cost of going to the movies as a family, I can create a comfortable and fun theater experience right in our living room.
Going to work sick. This one should have always been in place, but I admit that pre-pandemic, I was not in the habit of taking sick days when I probably should have. I would routinely go to work with “just a little cough” or sore throat, likely spreading germs to my coworkers and anyone else I encountered. Now that I know how much can be accomplished by quarantining myself, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, I will forever look at illness symptoms through a new lens and use sick days whenever necessary.
About the author: Aubrey works in higher education and is the mother to an active and inquisitive son. She lives in the Boston area where she enjoys taking family walks along the beach, reading books, and introducing new foods to her son. Writing about motherhood allows her to connect to other parents and give voice to a challenging yet exciting time.
Photo credit: iStock.com/FatCamera