Written By: Ashley Elliott

States are loosening their restrictions. Although I know that it will be a while before operations are fully back to normal (if I’m honest), I’m a little scared for this quarantine to end. You only need to scroll through social media to see that there is a whole slew of mixed emotions on both staying home and lifting restrictions- uncertainty, frustration, gratitude, restlessness, fear, relief, etc.

I am blessed to have a private backyard and a family income that has been unaffected by the closures – so please keep in mind that our boats through this storm may be very different.  

So why am I scared?

Because life was busy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being active and involved, and my three girls were enrolled in some wonderful groups & activities, but it wasn’t until the calendar was wiped clear that I realized just how over-scheduled we were. Mornings were rushed. Naptime for my youngest was on the fly. Car snacks were packed each day because we were always on the go. My phone was constantly going off with pick-up time alarms. Dinner was usually late unless I could remember to turn the crockpot on in the morning. After-school activities were overlapping, homework in the evenings was draining, and bedtime stories were given a cap. Days were long and exhausting, packed with commitments, appointments, errands, and activities. Our world was busy, fast-paced, and rushed, and I don’t think it would have stopped without being forced. *I can’t be the only one excited about the extra monthly savings from not juicing their car with gas every few days!* 

Back mid-March, when it seemed as though someone grabbed my calendar like an etch-e-sketch and cleared off the events, I got the chance to exhale.

Since then, we have had more sleeping in, more home projects, more hands-on learning, and more kid contributions around the house. We have had more organizing, more games at the dinner table, more family movie nights, and more problem-solving with one another. We have had more reading time together, more calls with family, more time making messes in our playroom. We have had more time for our to-do list, more time exploring in our back garden, and more time TOGETHER! 

Everyone’s stress level has come down a few notches without yanking the covers off of sleeping kids (“THIS IS THE THIRD TIME I’VE COME IN HERE, GET UP!”). The scampering around to find missing items (“MOM WHERE’S MY OTHER SHIN GUARD!?”). No bartering for homework completion (“CAN’T I JUST DO IT LATER?!”). No fuming over running behind schedule (“WE HAVE TO GOOOOOOO!”). I have even had time to get to some hobbies like painting, sewing, and scrapbooking, which I normally don’t give myself permission to do because my mommy-to-do-list always takes precedent. I rarely carve out enough time to shower in peace, let alone get to something fun. I know this is far from an ideal scenario for everyone, but for me, a pregnant- stay-at-home-mom/military-spouse, the slow pace has been a blessing. Ignoring the overflowing dishes and extra messes, this very unusual circumstance has turned out to be a welcomed change of pace, and even dare I say enjoyable. And although the repercussions of COVID-19 were far from my wildest dreams, I can’t think of another time when I will have this opportunity to have all my kids home with all of our plans beyond our driveway canceled. I don’t think anyone is happy about why our life is so different right now; however, I truly think I will always look back and treasure these months. 

Like coming off of a strict elimination diet, how am I going to reintroduce our “old habits” when this is all over? What will we add back in? What will we avoid signing back up for? What will we keep scaled back? I have a habit of being a “yes- girl” and picking things up before checking if: a) we even have room or; b) we even want to make room. Will I remember the feeling this slower pace brings? Will I still feel guilty on days we need to wipe away the agenda and be lazy? How much will I reload onto our plates?

Have your priorities shifted since being at home? Have you also started thinking about how you will reset those priorities once events come zooming through the door again? Have you picked up any new habits that you’re hoping will continue? I would love for you to share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

I am absolutely looking forward to seeing family and friends. I am looking forward to our local swimming pool and parks opening. And I am looking forward to the opportunity to travel again, but my hope is that I have gained some wisdom during the quarantine and come out the other end with some new perspective on juggling the days that zip right by. 

I am praying for peace, patience, and positivity.

Prayer:

Dear Lord,┬áThank You for helping our family to grow together during this quarantine. Thank You for keeping my attitude positive and for refocusing and refining my vision. I pray for our country’s leaders as they navigate this pandemic. May You give them much wisdom and courage and compassion. I pray for those families navigating the loss of loved ones affected by this health crisis, may they feel surrounded Your love and be pulled to Your Word. I pray for those who have been out working relentlessly while so many of us have been safe at home. May You bring their hearts peace and pour good favor upon them. I pray for those that have been struggling inside their walls – either with a toxic relationship, a mental illness, a disabled child, a lack of space, financial hardships, and all those that have lifted their own private prayers in the dark – may they seek to pull You close both for their healing and to find the strength to receive the help they need. Keep Your hands on them, Lord. I ask for continued guidance for all of us, as we step into a new phase of getting things back on track. I pray that our minds are open and that our faith is strong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written By: Ashley Elliott