Before I share with you how COVID-19 changed my family life, I want to open this blog post by describing my life before the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m a mom of two and I have a full-time job. My husband works full time as well.
My typical day used to start at 6 a.m with getting myself and my family ready for a new day. By 7:15 every morning, I was already leaving my house with my one-year-old baby girl. We used to take the subway every day together. I would drop her off at the daycare center and continue my commute on the subway to my downtown office. After 8 hours of work, I would go back the same way and pick her up on my way back home. My husband and my five-year-old daughter also spent most of their days outside the house. This meant leaving very early and coming back in the evening.
We would have only 1 or 2 hours every day to spend together while getting ready for bed. I was exhausted. Some days it felt right, but other days the time spent outside of our home felt overwhelming.
I had no time for myself and many tasks (big and small) needed to be scheduled in advance. My to-do list was long and I needed to be very efficient with my time. Sound familiar?
With COVID-19, our family experienced a significant change. We came back from March break vacation to 14 days of quarantine that was followed by many more weeks of social distancing.
It’s safe to say that we never have experienced such a significant difference in our lives in such a short period of time. We underwent so many changes that I don’t think my family will be able to go back to our regular life (pre-COVID-19) quickly.
6 Ways COVID-19 Changed Our Family Life Forever
1. We need more family time
I know that each family’s situation is unique and some of my stay-at-home mom friends had wildly different experiences. Still, I do think that now that we are used to spending more time as a family every day, we will want to do it after the pandemic as well. I believe that the times when we left our house at seven and returned at six will not be a viable option for us anymore.
2. Kids can survive without having activities 24/7
We used to think that our kids should be entertained 24 hours a day and would participate in a different activity every day. know many families that used to have an afternoon activity every day of the week including weekends.
But then comes COVID-19, and we are at home for weeks without any outside activities. I feel like my family is coping very well with that. We play more as a family and we do more parents-kids’ activities than ever before. When we go back to our regular routines, we won’t be too worried about one day without some sort of afternoon activity.
3. We can work from home
This is the takeaway for jobs and businesses that can complete most of their tasks on a computer.
After adjusting so quickly to working from home, it would be hard to return to the office. There isn’t much change in my workflow. My tasks are done, I attend all of my meetings, and my ad campaigns are well-maintained.
Putting aside the challenge of working with kids around, working from home feels very natural. I am not sure that I will be willing to commute again and spend 2 hours of my day on the way to and from the office.
4. Nothing is guaranteed
My biggest takeaway from this time is that nothing is guaranteed. Not our jobs, nor our investments, or our ability to pay a mortgage. Although it’s not the right time to make any changes, I do think that all of us should look very carefully at our jobs and the positions we have. Building something for ourselves such as a side gig, additional passive income, or even starting a business from scratch is something that many people are looking into today. Difficult times also hold significant opportunities.
5. We can do (almost) everything online
One of the most significant changes during this time is that more people are moving to the digital world and are willing to accept online services than ever.
If we can purchase any services online and provide services online, will our physical location matter anymore?
I think there is significant potential here for anyone who would like to get into the online world. Whether as a career or starting your own business, we’ve seen that it can work for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
6. We spend more time outside
One of the changes that I like the best is the amount of time we spend outside every day. Whether it’s walking, biking, or roller skating, I don’t think I have ever been so active in my life. I have never enjoyed my neighbourhood as much as I have during the last few weeks. I realize now that I don’t need to drive somewhere. Just walking around alone is fun and relaxing, especially during the warmer months.
I believe we have an opportunity to create a new lifestyle for us. COVID-19 has devastated the world, but it may also have given us a chance at a healthier life. This is a life where we get to spend more time with our loved ones, less time on the roads, and be more active.
With more and more companies adjusting quickly to remote work and implementing long term work from home strategies, the change may be sooner than we thought. Hopefully, these positive changes will be long-lasting ones since the first ones to benefit from these institutional changes will be parents and their kids.
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