Stay the Hell Away from My Frozen Pizza: A Note on Parenting and Coronavirus

man screaming coronavirus

So here we are, an hour after the announcement of likely declaration of national emergency due to coronavirus. And I can only think of one thing: HOLY GOD WHEN IS IT GOING TO KILL ME.

Just kidding! I’m not thinking that… yet. But you know what I am thinking about? How in the hell are we going to get through these next few weeks?

I joked yesterday on Instagram that people better stay the hell away from my stockpile of frozen pizzas. And while I’m obviously joking (but no I’m not, seriously stay away), there is very little to laugh about when it comes to what is happening in our country right now.

[Insert dialogue.

Therapist: “And you know what we do when we’re having trouble processing something?”


But seriously, I know there is no simple, or logical, answer to the question on all of our minds right now, which is, 

“Well what in the world do we do right now?!”

The only answer is, we’ll just do it. You know, like we always do as a country. As individual family units, and as the overall badass humans that we all are.

But as the internet lady whose advice you never asked for (but are getting anyway), may I be so bold as to offer this up? Please, please start thinking about what safety looks like for you and your family. What will it take to make you feel safe? Do that.

This article in Newsweek recently gave me pause as to how I want to conduct myself, and guide my family, as our country deals with this virus. It also led to a brief but productive conversation between Andrew and me yesterday about our family plan. And right now it looks like this: Stay away from big crowds (20+ people); restrict kids’ playing time to spaces outside that are fully open and ventilated (and then of course, scrub them down when they get home); and overall just try not to lose our shit. (That last one is easier said than done!)

As parents, this type of uncertainty about the virus compounded with the general upheaval of our schedules is challenging, to say the least. If I’m not careful about managing my stress, I can easily get into an anxious spiral worrying about every potential outcome. And that is most certainly not what I need to be using my energy for right now.

I’m sure this is what’s happening in your town too. But here we are also fully preparing for the possibility that our kids’ schools will be closed over the next several weeks.

(“Fun!” said no parent ever, when faced with the possibility of home schooling their child for an indefinite period on topics they haven’t brushed up on in decades.)

Although no official word has been given yet, a good chunk of the upcoming weeks’ homework has been sent home. And we are getting updates daily as to what we should expect, should schools shut down for a period.

As far as what we’re doing personally, I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that I did in fact stock up. Apocalypse-style, on toilet paper and rice. You know, essentials. But beyond stocking up for a potential 2 weeks spent mostly inside, I’m just not sure what else we can do.

I read some great advice today about what we parents can do should our kids’ schools shut down, and should they be going through any of the attendant stress that a lapse in a normal schedule can bring, and it was as simple as this: Keep a routine. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, and it doesn’t have to be overly strict. But do have them do their normal things at specific times—breakfast, lunch, schoolwork and more—to keep their little worlds turning in the most normal way possible.

I think we can do that.

In the meantime, we’re just going to keep on keepin’ on down here. And let’s give the most giant digital high-five to all of those amazing doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners who are literally keeping our world turning in the middle of what otherwise seems like chaos. We appreciate you.

And for all the rest of us, let’s just keep washing our hands.


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