Three Things I Learned While Safe at Home

With stay at home orders being relaxed and lifted throughout most of the country – ours specifically ended last week – I’ve been trying to reflect on what lessons I’ve learned from over three months of quarantine with my family. We definitely had our days {weeks?} where things seemed overwhelming or down right impossible, but there were actually a lot of good times too. We made time for things that we typically wouldn’t have time for. We did puzzles, played games, watched movies, spent a lot of time outside, appreciated nice days more than anything, ate good food, ate too much food, and the list could go on. Today I’m sharing three specific things I learned while safe at home that I hope to remember long after the coronavirus is gone.

1. Any mess can be cleaned

I went into the quarantine period with way too much optimism. I thought to myself, I spend so much time outside of the house, if I’m at home all the time my house is going to be spotless! Right. Riiiiight. Wrong {obviously}. It didn’t take long {seriously, maybe a few hours} before my house was in shambles and I was feeling burnt out. Do you know who was also home all the time? My kids. And it was mostly cold up until recently which meant the only thing they had to do was take out every toy, blanket, pillow, utensil, and craft supply we own. At first I drove myself crazy trying to pickup immediately after them. When that made me want to open a bottle of wine at 10:45am I took a different approach and just let them trash the place. That approach made me want to open a bottle of wine at 9:30am. When I realized day drinking was not the answer to this specific problem, I decided to strike a middle ground. First, I prioritized spaces. The spaces we share {kitchen, living room, dining room} were where I focused the majority of my cleaning and tidying efforts. The spaces that are mostly just for the kids {playroom, bedrooms} were lower priority for me. I tried to pick one specific time each day to pick up – usually in the evenings, after Jojo was in bed and Annabelle was winding down with a tv show – and I would just do as much as I could in about 30 minutes. Some days that meant that all I got done was picking up toys or putting away coloring books and play-doh. But some days I was able to quickly vaccum, wipe down a few surfaces, whatever I felt needed the most attention that day. On the weekends I’d spend more time if I could but I really tried to take the pressure off. I realized that any mess {regardless of how big it was, or how bad it looked} could be cleaned. And typically in less time than I thought.

2. I can work out at home!

Despite my previous failed attempts, I have become someone who can work out from home – and it’s actually easier and more effective than I thought! Before our wedding I exclusively worked out from home. I did a couple of Beachbody programs pretty consistently {did anyone else love Insanity back in the day – what up Sean T!} and found working out from home to be the perfect solution for what I thought was a very busy life – seriously, what did I do with all of my time before kids…? After our wedding I sort of fell of the exercise wagon for a bit, especially when we were trying and struggling to get pregnant. But then everything changed when our precious Annabelle Berkley entered the picture. Changed for the better, of course but also made if very difficult for me to choose working out on a consistent basis. Looking back I really don’t know why it was so hard for me. It wasn’t until a couple years after Annabelle was born when I rejoined a gym and started weight training that I really started to see results and get back into a routine. Then Jojo came along and Annabelle was old enough that it felt nearly impossible for me to work out from home. I was worried I was going to wake up a sleeping baby, or worse, a sleeping toddler. I was distracted by messes I should be cleaning up or equipment I didn’t have. Plus I hadn’t really found a program to follow that I loved. When Jojo was about 4 months old and sleeping consistently through the night I decided to try Orange Theory because I really enjoy HIIT workouts and the studio was close to my house. I became hooked immediately and I swallowed the tough pill of realizing the best time for me to workout was 5am. Some days I hated it, most days I loved it, but when quarantine hit and gym’s everywhere closed I knew I had to make a decision and fast, or I’d fall off the exercise wagon hard. So I started trying different online workouts {obe fitness, Peleton, etc.} but nothing really felt right. Then Orange Theory started releasing daily at-home workouts and they were exactly what I needed to commit to keeping up my exercise regimen – regardless of how long quarantine lasted. It’s been more than 3 months now and I’ve worked out at least 5-6 days/week consistently and honestly it’s been a dream. I wake up early – but not as early as that 5am Orange Theory class! – and I get my workout done before the rest of the family wakes up. And if I don’t, I just do it when they’re awake. It’s really not as hard as I thought to prioritize 30ish minutes/day for myself. I’m planning to do a mix of in-studio and at-home workouts once Orange Theory reopens and I’m hoping it helps me feel more balanced and healthy overall.

3. Great skin just takes consistency

I generally have good skin. Not great, definitely not terrible, but honestly for what I do {or rather don’t do} to her, she’s pretty kind to me. I’m not even sure I can blame not having a super consistent skincare routine on my children and how exhausted they make me. I’ve just never been the best at washing my face every night before bed and pre-quarantine most nights I’d be thrilled if I used a makeup wipe before I hit the sheets. I wasn’t someone who made a lot of quarantine goals but during the first few days I did promise myself that I would prioritize just a few minutes to myself every day which included fully removing my makeup and putting on a night cream – every, single, night. I carved out time as soon as I laid Jojo down for bed around 7:30pm each evening. I walk straight from her room to mine, change into my pajamas {sometimes, in all honesty, from pajamas I had already been wearing that day}, cleanse my face {I’ve been following the double cleanse process and I LOVE it}, apply my brow/lash serum and let it set a few minutes, take my daily birth control pill, and then finish up with my eye/face night creams. I knew that if I didn’t do it at that time I wouldn’t do it at all and I really wanted to have just one thing that I did for myself every day. It takes all of about 10 minutes but it is just the best time to unwind, clean off the day {literally and figuratively} and transition my mentality from mom-mode to me-mode. Plus my skin has honestly never looked better. The products I’m using aren’t all that fancy and there are not that many steps to my routine but I really think the consistency has paid off. I wake up with the freshest, glowiest skin and it’s just the feeling I need to start the day.

4. These are the days

I snuck an extra one in here 😉 In all honesty, I have just felt so absolutely blessed to be surrounded by my sweet family while safe and healthy at home. I’ve definitely struggled with frustration around why things weren’t opening up sooner for us here in Michigan, or feeling trapped at times, but every day brought at least a little bit of sunshine and lots of very happy moments. Even if it wasn’t something I would have chosen for myself {honestly would anyone with small kids choose to quarantine themselves for 3 months?} we certainly made the best of it. I’m hoping that in this next phase of getting back into some degree of normalcy that I don’t forget just how precious each day is with this crew of mine and to wash my face.