In my pre-quarantine days, I never had a problem filling the hours of a day.
There were never enough minutes in an hour to complete all the things that needed to be done. So when social distance restrictions fell into place, I will be honest, I was delighted. By staying home I was helping stop the spread, I was being a good citizen + neighbor, and gosh darn it, I was finally going to slow down this crazy pace of life. My new goal was to become the queen of quarantine.
Before COVID, when my head hit the pillow at the end of the night, I was exhausted. However, my socially distanced lifestyle doesn’t seem much different. I am still teaching all day (God bless Zoom), helping my 3rd, 6th, and 8th graders navigate their online schooling, and wondering how the dishes keep multiplying like bunnies in my sink. The end of the day comes, I am still exhausted. The only difference between pre and current quarantine is that now I am exhausted having never hit my step count, having mindlessly eaten half of my refrigerator and wondering if yoga pants will ever be considered business casual when this work-from-home life is over.
I am blessed by this exhaustion. I don’t take for granted that my husband and I both still have the opportunity to work from home. I am thankful that my family is healthy and that we have a safe home to shelter in place. However, I do not want to look back at this time and know that I was so focused on maintaining the “normal” that we didn’t take the time to embrace the “abnormal.”
After all, discomfort is where most growth and learning happens.
So a few weeks ago, as I was trying to establish a sense of normalcy for the “good of my family,” I realized that nothing mind-blowing ever happens in the realm of normal. And what is happening in our world right now is absolutely mind-blowing. So, I wanted to create something that would make lemonade out of these lemons and keep this gift of family time at the forefront. More than just unhurried family meals together or walks around the neighborhood after we “got off work.”
Therefore, we created a family challenge, one that helped us embrace this time together and ensure it didn’t get overshadowed by trying to keep our heads above water. Think of it as a mini-Olympics of sorts that we like to call the “QuaranQueen Challenge”.
Each day throughout our time sheltered at home, we participate in a family challenge. Ranging anywhere from board game battles to cooking combat, the challenges have brought out the best in us.
Mind you, at the end of all of this we may crown a QuaranKing instead of a QuaranQueen. However, I live in a family of very strong, independent females. We don’t need a King to run this Kingdom, so we tease my husband mercilessly that he has no shot at the Queendom. If I am honest though, at the end of this challenge, we most definitely could be bowing down to a QuaranKing.
Let the games begin.
These challenges have been a blast. My husband watched YouTube videos for a week to beat all of us in a French Braid contest. My oldest daughter made the best pork egg rolls and sweet ‘n sour sauce to win our week 1 dinner competition and, much to her chagrin, secure her spot in the regular rotation cooking dinner for the family. My middle child might as well be called the dancing queen after time and time again she has crushed us all in “Just Dance.” And the youngest put us all to shame in the exercise category as, I swear, she can plank for days!
These fun challenges are helping our children discover their strengths and weaknesses while trying new things. Since there are five in our family, we work off of a 5-point system. First-place in every competition gets 5 points, second – 4 points and so on. The challenge ends the day we go back to “normal” (aka: we are no longer working from home).
May the QuaranQueen reign.
This challenge can very easily be tailored to the interests of your family. We have found that on the days when we are struggling, this has lightened the mood. It gives us something to look forward to every day and calms any quarrels. It puts into perspective this gift of time together and teaches us all the importance of trying new things.
From Mo Willems drawing challenges to Harry Potter Trivia, the challenges are endless. We broke ours into categories to help structure our competitions. Some of the challenges are quick card games as a family, others are ongoing like the number of books read by the end of quarantine. However, all of them have brought us closer together as a family and have given us something to look forward to each day.
How are you embracing the “abnormal?” Let us know what you are doing to keep your family positive and motivated during these long days at home.
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