Forced time at home reveals surprising truths for one South Florida parent.
Published: June 12, 2020
By: Jennifer Jhon
With the reopening of South Florida, I find I’m going to miss some aspects of the shutdown. The open road, while it led to nowhere, isn’t mine anymore, and I can no longer ignore all the mirrors in my house on the premise that “No one is going to see what I look like anyway.”
As we consider venturing outside the home, here are 10 lessons I’ve learned while trapped inside it.
I have far too many clothes.
Really. Even when I WAS leaving the house, I didn’t need all these clothes.
Now that I’m NOT leaving, my wardrobe has shrunk to:
- 4 pairs of comfy pajamas
- 2 sundresses
- 1 pair of capris
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 5 T-shirts
- 1 bra (for very special occasions only)
I’ve put on jeans only once since schools shuttered. I used to live in jeans. I have 12 pairs in my closet. It’s a good thing I don’t need them anymore, because none of them fit anyway.
I loathe exercise.
The only thing that made exercise fun before was doing it with friends. My kids hate exercise as much as I do. I can talk them into going on a bike ride with me, but after about 10 minutes, I inevitably regret it, because they WANT TO GO HOME. And forget about walking.
I’m way more antisocial than I thought I was.
Yes, I’m going crazy being stuck in the house, but it’s not because I miss people. I miss places. I want to go to the beach, go camping, ride a roller coaster. But I am going to miss being in an empty store, driving on an empty interstate and being the only person in line at the Costco gas station.
Makeup is overrated.
I wasn’t too much into makeup before this whole thing started, but I did love my Lipsense lipsticks. Now that I’ll be covering my mouth in public for the rest of 2020 and beyond, the only thing I’ll need to worry about replacing is my mascara. Even my sunscreen use is down, because with a hat over my un-cut hair and a mask on my face, only my neck is exposed to the sun’s rays.
DIY haircuts aren’t worth it.
I actually learned this lesson before the quarantine, thanks to a sound scolding by my son’s barber and a pinky promise to “never try this at home again.” The promise of a repeat humiliation has kept me from reaching for the scissors. I keep telling myself he looks good with long hair anyway.
Some people aren’t made for cooking.
Even with all this time at home, I have not embraced the chef life. I would love to eat all the delicious meals I see posted on my friends’ Facebook feeds, but I have no interest in learning how to make them myself. The only food picture I posted during the quarantine was a steak meal, because I do like to grill. But the rest of the time, I simply salivated over Instagram-worthy meals and whined to my sister (who is an excellent cook) about how I need her to be stuck at my house instead of hers.
Sunshine really is nature’s vitamin.
I don’t mind the rain nearly as much as some of my friends do, especially when it is watering my mango tree. But spending time outside in the sun, even for just a few minutes, can bring me zen unlike any other. My inflatable wading pool has been probably the best $20 I’ve ever spent, because it allows me to stretch out in the sun, close my eyes and imagine myself on a tropical beach instead of stuck in the same yard I’ve been confined to for the past three months.
Adults need adult time.
This was another lesson I learned before, but had forgotten. Nowadays, I find myself flashing back to the times I spent home with my newborn babies, and how isolated I felt when I didn’t spend time with other people my age, or at least over the age of 18. I literally just had my daughter ask me the same question (“What time is lunch?”) four times, and get angry when my answer didn’t change. She finally asked me, “What time on a digital clock?” (12, colon, 00) THIS is why I need adults in my life.
Nothing matches meeting IRL.
While video calls are great for seeing family and friends who live far away, I find video chats make me miss my friends more when I’m used to seeing them every day or every week. I got to do a socially-distanced meet-up with two close friends last week, and it was incredible how much better I felt after spending time with them in person, even though we sat 8-10 feet away from each other. We couldn’t hug or even elbow bump, but having a live conversation made all the difference.
My family is more flexible than I thought.
Home schooling was tough, and being away from friends is discouraging, but if you had told me four months ago that the kids and I could survive being stuck at home together for longer than 48 hours — and that we could even be happy about it — I would have called you crazy. We have had our moments. All three of us have completely lost it a time or two. But it isn’t anything some deep breathing and some time out can’t fix.
Two months ago, when there seemed no end in sight, I didn’t feel this way. I felt like a complete failure, because when other families posted about loving to spend time together, all I could think about was how much I wanted time apart. But we’ve finally found a balance. And I’m not going to let that lesson go.