• Jody Kussin

In Times Like These #6 3-20-2020

There are loads of lists of what we can be doing with this ‘free time.’ I suspect that any parent with children home from school are not quite conceiving this as ‘free time’ and rather, are already longing for the days when their stress came from locating the tear off to sign and return to school with a bizarre dollar amount (“Please sign this trip slip and send $7.34 for next week’s lunch for our trip to The Getty.”)

So rather than a list of suggestions of what to do, here is a nice list of things of what NOT to do, even if someone suggests otherwise:

  1. Organize your garage from top to bottom. Nope. This is not the week for that. Maybe when we are all desperate in a few weeks, but, not now. It’s coldish out there. And be real, you’ve let it go this way for so long, it’s not even clear where to begin. We in California are already known for keeping our fancy cars on the driveway and our ‘stuff’ in the garage. So – no garage cleaning. Repeat after me, “LET IT BE.”

  2. Scan all your photos. Nope. While that sounds like a nice idea, it’s really not. Too overwhelming. Too exhausting. Too many photos you cannot identify and then it makes you obsess over ‘Why DID we take 89 pictures at each t-ball game, birthday party, school play?’ So no, save that task for a time when you are god forbid recovering from foot surgery which you scheduled for a time period when all your kids leave the house for school daily and you feel okay but you literally cannot get out of bed. Repeat after me, “JUST BE STILL.”

  3. Check for expiration dates in your spice rack. Nope. Do not do this now as you will ascertain that 85% of what you own is expired. You will then feel a need to google what it means to have expired spices. And that will motivate you to want to discard everything on your shelf/rack and purchase new spices. BUT…you cannot be going marketing for spices when there are still lines around the block and you have to collect more toilet paper and Clorox wipes. Repeat after me, “Just breathe.”

  4. Deep clean your stove. Nope. Too many fumes. Not enough satisfaction when you’re done because, aren’t you just going to cook dinner and bake a lot of stuff now anyway? And does all that burnt on granola every REALLY come off? I think not. Repeat after me, “It’s all fine as is.”

  5. Go over all your financials to prep for retirement. Now, IF you are about to retire, ok, but if not….NOPE. There is really no point in it. You have already just paid taxes or about to pay taxes or about to ask for an extension on your taxes. This is not the time to go through all the paperwork for what you need to do in 10-20-30 years. There will be time for that soon enough. I swear. Repeat after me, “JUST SAY NO.”

In these scary times, let’s get back to basics. “Be gentle with yourself.” “Kindness counts.” “Hey hey we’re the Monkees.” (Ok Boomer.) “One day at a time.” “Si se puede.” “You got this.” “This too shall pass.” “Keep calm and carry on.” (Or, “Keep calm and eat chocolate.”) “Be like a duck.” “Be like an elephant.” “You can handle this.” “We are all in this together.”

My favorite of all mantras, though, is WIT – WHATEVER IT TAKES. As long as it’s not child abuse or illegal, we now all sign up and agree to use the WIT method of parenting. You are the expert on your children and your household. You know what works with each kid and what does not. You know who needs more alone time and who needs more physical activity and who needs more social time. You know who has less frustration tolerance and who could lie in bed and chat with friends all day and all night. Use that knowledge. It’s your secret power as a parent and it will last you across their stages. Whatever it takes to move toward health and safety, in these times. You got this! Whatever it takes!

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