[caption id="attachment_171303" align="aligncenter" width="1180"] Image: Pixabay.com (2020), CC0/PD[/caption]
The orders to shelter in place, quarantine, or just to stay home have been in place for more than a month now. My husband has been working from home, and it looks like that’s going to be the norm until at least early June. My daughter is finishing her spring semester with Belmont Abbey from home, attending classes and meeting with professors via Zoom, and will be wrapping up her final papers, projects, and exams in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m working almost-regular hours at the bank, heading into the world and serving our customers from behind the glass of our drive-thru.
[caption id="attachment_171302" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Copyright 2020 Christine Johnson. All rights reserved.[/caption]
It’s a strange time right now. It feels rather surreal most of the time, and none of us are quite sure what day it is. (For the last month, my schedule has been every other day, so I’m off-kilter, too.) Working and taking classes at home – whether that’s for college students or for those of you who are suddenly educating your children at home – is just not the same as heading to the office or the classroom. Distractions that don’t exist in our normal work environments abound. Let’s face it, if Frodo Waggins barks at the animals through the window when no one is home, we never know about it. But if he does so during a video call, he sets off everyone’s dogs.
[caption id="attachment_171301" align="aligncenter" width="1180"] Copyright 2020 Christine Johnson. All rights reserved.[/caption]
And sitting face-to-face with your professors makes it far easier to ask questions and get clarifications. Plus, sitting in your own bedroom makes it far easier to be distracted by the cat or the book sitting on the shelf next to you or your mother who might be making banana bread in the kitchen down the hall. (Apparently banana bread is everyone’s new jam.) Plus, you can’t just casually stop by your professor’s desk after class to ask a question you don’t want everyone to hear.
Even going to the bank branch is different. It’s hard to get training in when there is a constant stream of customers driving up to the bank. And it’s still strange to have an empty lobby, but have phones ringing nonstop as people try to get information on stimulus checks and loans and to ask for help now that they’re out of work because of shutdowns.
Because the way we do things has changed so drastically, work and school are just harder right now. And maybe we’re not doing as well as usual in any of those areas. But there’s something we have to remind ourselves of when we start to get down about how we’re doing during these quarantine times.
You are doing The Best You Can Do.
The Best That You Can Do looks different in different times of life. Jennifer Fulwiler has written in the past about seasons in life, including Survival Mode season. During Survival Mode, you have to just focus on what’s in front of you. You make do with what you are able to do in the moments when your life feels out of control. You boil things down to the bare minimum until you’re able to deal with more on your plate.
And that’s where we are right now, here during this pandemic.
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The Best You Can Do when all’s right in the world might be a very different The Best You Can Do during a worldwide pandemic that has your entire family under the roof 24/7.
The Best You Can Do while you’re at college in your normal educational setting with your normal educational routine is a very different The Best You Can Do when you go to class on Zoom and try to communicate with your professors via email.
The Best You Can Do with your school kids when you’re in charge of following up on homework and getting back and forth to dance and sports is a very different The Best You Can Do when you’re in charge of explaining long division by rules you never learned – all while you’re also trying to do The Best You Can Do at your job, which is now done via Webex and conference calls and emails rather than talking face-to-face.
One of the things we really need to be sure of is to be gentle with ourselves – sometimes you have to give yourself a break. One method I use to judge whether or not I’m being too hard on myself is to ask myself, “If you had a friend who was struggling with this situation, what would you tell her to do?”
Very often, the advice I’d give – maybe you need to just relax and take a break, step back and don’t be so hard on yourself, etc. – is very different than the self-talk I’ve been giving myself. And when that’s the case, you know that’s the time to look at your situation and tell yourself, “Hey, you’re doing The Best You Can Do. And that’s enough.”
Copyright 2020 Christine Johnson
About the Author
Christine Johnson has been married to Nathan since 1993 and is the mother of two homeschool graduates. She and Nathan live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, where she tries to fit in as a transplanted Yank. She blogs at Domestic Vocation about her life as a wife, mother, and Lay Dominican.