Almost immediately after learning that we were all going to be quarantined in our houses for an indeterminate amount of time (remember when we all thought it was going to be just two weeks?), the lists started: “50 Fun Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy,” “Best Homeschool Resources for Primary-Age Kids,” “Virtual Museum Tours of the World from the Comfort of Your Couch,” “Best Exotic Animal Videos on Facebook Live,” “Ways to Carve Out Time for Self-Care.”
And then began the virtual events, the Zoom meetings, the Google Hangouts, and the live videos. Add in the sudden necessity that I also become my child’s full-time teacher…it’s all too much.
I am overwhelmed.
I appreciate all the resources, but the information overload is staggering. While I know on an intellectual level that all of these helpful guides and meet-ups are suggestions, I can’t help but interpret them as things I must be doing. It used to take me forever to read those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books as a kid, because I had to read every possible scenario before I felt like I had finished the book. I definitely had FOMO before it was even a thing.
Bombarded by choices, it’s hard to focus my attention and not feel guilty about how I spend this abundance of time. Do I plunge headlong into homeschooling, or do I let traditional education take a backseat? Do I focus on rest and rejuvenation or try to be uber-productive, decluttering my home or taking up a new hobby? Do I stay up-to-date on the news, or do I stay away from the media completely?
Because I can’t do it all. I can’t even keep up with all the memes (which can be a really funny diversion from the seriousness of the current state of affairs).
And all of these thoughts barely even touch on the whole point of quarantine, self-isolation, and social distancing (which I have already predicted as the Word of the Year for 2020). We are in the midst of a global pandemic that will change everything about life as we know it. We’re just now getting glimpses of what our new normal might look like.
So I am saying enough is enough.
Not “Enough!” the way you might shout at your children when they’re bickering at each other, but rather like the Swedish term for “enough,”: lagom. This word–which translated means just the right amount, in moderation, in balance–is really more of a lifestyle and is what I’ve been searching for in my own life, even before this whole surreal experience began.
Not too much, not too little, but just right. Goldilocks had it all figured out.
As Americans, as mothers, as human beings, we’re constantly on this quest for the next best thing/idea/experience. More, more, more. It’s become a running gag in lots of those aforementioned memes, but what if instead of buying up all the toilet paper, we made sure we had just the right amount? Not too much, not too little, just enough.
This quarantine is a golden opportunity to find balance. We can’t do all the things. We can’t homeschool the children, do all the crafts, get back into shape, clean out the closets, (finally) catch up on sleep, and for many of us, work a full-time job without childcare. It’s simply not possible. Now is the time to ditch all that is extra and focus on the essential. What that looks like, however, is different for each of us. Because the last thing we need on top of the stress of uncertainty is to feel guilty for what we are or are not doing. We have to do the best we can. And that is enough.