Hey, friends! So in this weird season of minimal structure besides “stay in your house whenever possible,” my lifeline has been chats with friends about all the things—how we’re feeling, what we’re doing, how we’re staying sane (I mean IF)… Good times. Anyway, I figured maybe I wasn’t the only one surviving more on stories of friends than on the deluge of information (Fun fact! So far our state has been increasing in cases in a way that’s almost a fibonacci sequence!) so maybe I’ll share. Plus my brain is everywhere but I really, really need the structure of a Thursday post.

So… here’s an incomplete (and somewhat self-indulgent) list of things I’m thinking:

Major side effects of a global pandemic (and not the virus itself) are a permanent low- to mid-grade headache, fatigue, and also a really itchy face.

Currently, I’m kind of scattered and even more absent-minded than usual. I feel extra anxiety in my body, though, as usual, there aren’t anxious thoughts to go with it, just sensation.

I sent some of my kids to the playground today. I went to get them later and found out the parents of about two dozen other children had the same idea and they were all playing together on a very tall snow hill. There were no 6-foot gaps. Social distancing fail.

On the day everything caught fire here (last Thursday at about 5:30 when Alaska had their first confirmed case and our school district “extended spring break” at roughly the same time) Katherine had Tae Kwon Do and in the hour between when the news broke and the end of her class, the couple who runs the place decided to open their space for full-day childcare (at an absurdly low weekly cost) for parents who have to work because that’s not available hardly anywhere here, and yes, that’s gatherings of people, but to offer a place that is safe and welcoming to families without options (at a fair bit of personal cost and some personal risk, as well) made me tear up just a little.

My life hasn’t changed a whole lot. I have three of my four kids home always anyway, so I have one extra child for six extra hours a day and it shouldn’t be such a huge deal. But the activities that differentiate one day from another have vanished and it all feels a little sideways and the constant uncertainty wears on my brain, so I’m even more of a hot mess than usual. All of you who have real changes? Prayers for you. That’s all I got.

I’m not sure how girl scout cookie sales fit in with social distancing (probably they don’t) but there were girl scouts when I made a quick trip to Fred’s for milk (during which I touched NOTHING except a sanitizer wipe) and dipping frozen thin mints in coffee is still my favorite thing.

Coronavirus memes are an important tool in my “survive quarantine” kit.

Disney+ releasing Frozen II early was so, so kind. (Any guesses how I’m writing right now?)

Another important sanity-saving tool: Pantsuit Politics podcast/Instastories daily news brief/Patreon feed. I appreciate a single place to gather information (with links to sources) rather than trying to piecemeal it.

We need onions and potatoes. Toilet paper is a nonissue (subscribe and save) but I haven’t seen any memes made about onions and potatoes, but those are gone. I can do without the potatoes, but I’m not sure how to live my life without onions. What do I even cook? I have no idea.

Lots of writer-types I’ve talked to have mentioned how this has eaten their ability to write words. And I get that. There’s brain science behind it, even. But I’ve found a few areas where I’ve made more progress on projects.

I didn’t think about this, but birth photography has taken a hit for a minute as extra people in hospitals are not super welcome in general. (Related: local friends who are due soon, want birth photography, and plan to deliver somewhere other than a hospital, talk to me. I realize there may be zero people in that group, but just in case. Crazy discounts available.)

I shared this hack with a friend today, but haven’t used it in a while (we are getting there, though): When you cannot hear your name one. more. time… inform the children you no longer respond to “mama” or “mom” and if they want your attention, they may address you as “Your Royal Highness.” It usually buys at least 30 to 60 seconds of confused silence, anyway.

Why again are you reading this? These ramblings are incoherent and helpful only for solidarity. I guess that’s not entirely unusual for this space. If you want words that might be legitimately helpful, here’s a liturgy I shared on Instagram last week. (This week? I have no idea, it all blends together.)

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for KindredMom.com where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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