Yes, I have anxiety. No, I’m not fearful. Let’s just start there. 

I’m not afraid of contracting this virus. I’m not fearful for my children. I am saddened by the deaths occurring in our country right now. The loss of life is significant, and it matters. My immediate family is not inside the parameters of those most at risk. We’re all pretty healthy, we’ve isolated pretty well, and I feel confident in any single member’s recovery. I am not discounting what is happening in our world. I’m saying I’m not anxious or worried.

I have come to the place in my life where I know God will take care of us. He always does.

Sometimes there is confusion between being fearful and being cautious. My background is medical. I know about universal precautions. I know how germs are spread. I’ve seen how isolation works. It makes sense to me.

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I stopped taking my children out before they officially canceled school. Not for their health, but for the rest of you. Kids are breeding grounds for the nastiest of germs. Hello, stomach virus. We stopped going to church, and book club, and pickleball. My husband worked until they asked him to stay home. We stopped visiting grandparents. We don’t do playdates. I go to the grocery store alone. I keep my distance while smiling knowingly about how strange the whole situation is for everyone. 

While I haven’t felt fear, I’ve felt relief. I’ve been working toward removing extra from our lives. I’ve cut out a few things here and there and was having small success. I still felt overwhelmed and incapacitated some days.

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This outbreak eliminated every responsibility and obligation I had outside of my home.

We literally have nothing on our agenda. My calendar is blank. The thing I was trying to get back tomy familyis all I have right now. I have nothing but time. Time to make things right. Time to get good at the things that really matter. Time to start new routines and institute good habits. Time to sit and love on my babies. 

Homeschooling starts tomorrow. I’m nervous and excited. All of this time with my babies has been enlightening. We’ve colored and done puzzles. We have played outside and shared every single meal together. I’m getting to know them in ways I didn’t take the time to before. I really like them.

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I do have moments of frustration and exhaustion but so many beautiful things are being made. Memories mostly. We cut out hearts, painted them, and taped them on our windows. I’ve never done anything like that with them.

I have learned I’m capable.

That’s probably no big deal for most moms, but it is for me. I have to control everything, and I’m having to ease up and let go of perfection. I’ve been given this time to do better. I am doing better. I am going to be the best version of myself on this journey with them. 

I have anxiety. I have become this extreme introvert living in the shell of an extrovert. Being around people, trying to please everyone, was more than I could mentally handle. I constantly felt like a failure, worthless. I stressed over every interaction, made mistakes, and then berated myself over those. I don’t have to worry about any of that for the next chunk of time and that is comforting. I get a break.

I get to stop and just be with my people.

Inside our home, I spend very little time thinking about the virus living outside. I spend my time thinking about things we can get accomplished at home and things we can do together. All the things I didn’t have time for, I suddenly do. And I’m not too overwhelmed to do them. 

If I’m fearful of anything, it’s going back to normal. I don’t want to go back. I like this me.

Shelley McCauley

Born and raised in northeast Florida and transplanted to Minnesota, I am a stay at home mom of four, daycare provider, and foster parent. My faith and my family drive me to get up each morning and encourage me to go to bed early every night. Writing has become free therapy and my outlet to connect with other women.