Among the many things I've learned over the last 12 weeks is that I will no longer take for granted the value of outsourcing. In a pre-COVID world, services such as house cleaning, babysitting, schooling, and organized extracurricular activities were things that happened subconsciously in the background without receiving a moment's thought or consideration for what we would do if they weren't available. Business trip to England? Midweek happy-hour with friends? No problem. Bringing in a babysitter to help with the boys was just par for the course. However, thanks to Corona Virus, everything is now very different.
In the current climate, parents are being forced to consider things they've never even thought of before. For example, hiring a babysitter: When did you ever consider the social stigma of bringing someone outside of your family unit into the house? Allowing someone to penetrate your family's little "lockdown bubble" is so quickly frowned upon that it immediately makes you question your decision. In spite of all this, I decided it was time to slowly reintroduce our childcare services.
Over the last week, I've had my nanny come back to look after our 2 year old, which frees us up for different activities with our older sons. Additionally, I made arrangements for a local college student to take my older two sons on an outdoor fishing trip. From the moment I made the decision, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and the older boys were so excited to get out of the house with someone other than their parents; even Daniel was excited to have his nanny back. To be completely honest, it seemed like the boys didn’t really care where they were going or what they were doing, as long as they got the opportunity to interact with others and feel somewhat normal again.
While I appreciate that each of us will have different levels of risk and will therefore reopen our lives and families at different rates, the key thing to remember is that it’s all ok. What works for some may not work for others and that is also ok. For me, the risk of allowing our sitter - who has been actively social distancing - back into our home was a risk I was willing to take because the benefits truly outweighed the calculated risks. Also in the case of allowing the boys to spend time outside in the fresh air with a local college student; having them occupied to allow me just a few minutes to breath is truly one of the best investments I could've made and in all honesty, is something I probably should've done weeks ago. While I mainly used the time my children were occupied for working, I did also manage to get some one-on-one time with my middle son and even sat down to a dinner where my primary focus wasn't entertaining a 2 year old while trying to get him to eat.
I totally appreciate that these things may seem insignificant on the surface, but over time they really add up. The sooner we can all accept that we need help and we aren’t supposed to, or don’t need to, do absolutely everything ourselves, the easier it will be to start moving forward and getting back to normal.