Emmie is flash freezing her broccoli and making a lovely Bolognese sauce. Annette is organizing her closet by season and her book-shelf by color. Tim and Chloe are binging every episode of Peaky Blinders while snuggling up with their golden retriever.
Yes, they’re stressed about the pandemic and they’re not loving the social isolation. But is it possible that they’re also…having fun?
Meanwhile, here’s my quarantine life: Holed up in a too-small house with a husband, a cat and two children, both of whom have regressed to needing to be on my lap 20 hours a day, while also pulling each other’s hair and screaming bloody murder. Oh, and I’m trying to do my 40-hour-a-week job, fold everybody’s laundry and figure out the school’s remote learning platform…you know, in all of my plentiful downtime.
Don’t get me wrong: I have many child-free friends. And, in my regular life, I am not one of those women who needs to talk about my kids every six minutes. I love following Emmie’s Instagram posts about her culinary adventures and international travel. (Even if my life is mostly chicken nuggets and Sesame Place.) I truly, truly don’t roll my eyes when Tim and Chloe complain that their dog is “more work than a baby.” And I know that the COVID-19 crisis affects everybody…and in many ways it’s harder on folks who are living alone or aren’t sure when they’ll be able to start families.
Moreover, social distancing is necessary. It’s what we need to do keep our communities safe and slow the spread of the virus. Still, as we parents retreat into our survival mode holding pattern, I’m finding it harder and harder to sympathize with Instagram posts about being bored of Netflix's offerings, or the captions where people admit they're not sure what to do with all this free time, or the IG stories about calendars being overwhelmed with Zoom happy hours, which is apparently a thing.
What am I seeking out from social media, you ask? Fellow moms who are also commiserating about cabin fever. Funny pictures of other people’s children throwing a fit on the bathroom floor. Any and all suggestions for things to stream or activities to keep my kids busy. To be perfectly honest, I’m jealous of anyone who can live for themselves right now—and I just don’t have the stomach to see it.
Does this sound petty? I think it sounds petty. And I promise I love you Tim, Chloe, Annette and Emmie. But I might tune out your Instagram posts for the next couple weeks.
(But hit me up with texts, ok?)