'Me' time is now ‘we’ time

Lauren Essel

Pre-Corona days, I never would've never imagined I'd be a professional juggler. But these days, I feel like that's my new profession.

Today started week 3 of quarantine and was the first day I caved and finally had to write out a schedule, but unlike those crafty moms, mine wasn't color-coded. My 4-year-old pre-school daughter had 4 Zoom meetings on the calendar, and my 6-year-old kindergarten daughter had 1 Zoom meeting, plus e-learning. On top of that, my husband and I both work full time.

I started the day with my work-out, which has always been my sanity. Pre-quarantine days, that was always my morning ME time, but now it has become my morning WE time. I now have my children yelling "Go Mommy" during my interval runs on the treadmill in the basement and sharing my yoga mat with me. My downward dog, while still a good stretch, now includes my daughter's tush in my face while doing so.

After breakfast, where I act as a short-order line cook, we begin every weekday with our pre-school Boker Tov meeting. It is a way to stay connected to our fabulous pre-school community, seeing familiar faces of staff and children, sharing song and prayers for a beautiful new day, albeit stuck inside at home. Then e-learning begins, worksheets are printed and patience is tested, while emails rumble through for work. Let's face it, I wasn't a teacher for a reason, but I'm doing the very best I can to continue kindergarten teachings and providing a sense of normalcy for my daughter who loves to learn and misses school and her teacher. Zoom meeting codes are then shared with our wonderful nanny (and complete savior) and my husband, who is set-up at his newfound home office in front of 3 screens, so that no one misses one of their many scheduled Zoom gatherings.

Once I'm home from work, I'm ready for more WE time. Bedtime shenanigans can never begin before dessert and several rounds of family Uno. One would think after a long day of juggling and wearing many hats, I'd be anxious and ready for some actual ME time, but I'm excited for more family WE time. Shockingly enough, my girls are getting along better than ever and our nighttime snuggles are that much more comforting. Once the girls are in bed, it's finally some true ME time, where I catch up on the latest quarantine memes, chat with friends and family that I miss more than ever, even though they are just a few short miles away, and watch something mindless on Bravo.

With no true end in sight and this new home-school life becoming our new normal, I'm trying to make the most of it. I'm doing my best to find the positives and whatever humor I can, relish in the extra quality time with my family, and figure out how best to handle my new juggling act. As I saw written in chalk on a driveway in my neighborhood, this too shall pass. And once it does, I hope that this newfound faith I have in humanity - from the creativity and appreciation, to the patience and kindness shown - not just throughout the community I live in, but around the world - will stay like this forever.

Laura is a suburban full-time working mom of two toddler girls, Leah, 6, and Lexi, 4, rather scared of their overlapping puberty years. Sarcastic and brutally honest, she is a certified foodie who misses city restaurants, but despises sitting in traffic to get there. Laura comes in clutch with restaurant recommendations, ordering for large groups, and her Lettuce Entertain You discount.

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