Mexico City, Mexico
Here we are in May 2020, in Mexico City, living the same confinement as everyone else. It has been six weeks already and I anticipate another eight weeks to start resuming activities.
I am experiencing this pandemic with my family – my husband and three children – Luisa, 5 years old, Simone, 3 years old, and Martin, 1 year old. Although it is hugely physically and emotionally exhausting to be locked up with three babies, I wouldn’t change it. My set up leaves no room for either depression or boredom.
It all started in late 2019 when an epidemic broke out in China. As Mexicans, we said “how terrible what China is going through” and we continued with our lives … But then world events progressed at great speed and in February it was clear that we would not escape. As the saying goes “No one experiences in someone else’s head” and we clearly had no idea what the implications would be for us. The time came, the first infected fell and by March 13, schools, restaurants and bars closed. Events of any kind cancelled.
And here we are … all locked up, we never saw it coming, something so OBVIOUS we didn’t even expect.
There we were expecting ‘the future’ to surprise us with technology or something(!), thinking we already knew everything about the world that hosts us. Well, we’ve definitely been caught off guard by the future, not with technology, but with a virus, something so familiar we saw it come and go every other season, something we lost the fear of thanks to vaccines, a virus that’s now making us face our greatest challenge as humanity.
The government is looking for a way to overcome the health crisis and visualizing an economic crisis that will have a brutal impact; companies trying to reinvent themselves so as not to go bankrupt during this pandemic, many lost jobs, generating fear, uncertainty, hunger and violence.
Society is trying to find new ways to be productive, new channels to not feel lonely, using technology to take care of ourselves, entertain us and communicate. And families, and here I can only talk about mine, because each family will tell their story, we are trying to survive … Although we must all share chaos, screams, tears, laughter, housework, made-up games, iPads, television, homeschooling; the emotions of five untidy people generate a particular environment and it is in this environment where the virus challenges each of us individually.
Each family member has a different perspective on the situation depending on how old they are and the role they play within the family. I see in my oldest daughter an enormous need to return to school. It is important to say that she is an exemplary student; she likes to do everything perfectly and she loves that everyone applauds her work. She gets it at school constantly, but here at home it is different and not all of us follow her rules. Frustration begins to take over, along with boredom and the need for new academic challenges.
My 3-year-old daughter, the middle one, is always looking for her role in the family. She is neither the big one or the baby and that forces her to constantly attract attention; she is the challenger, she knows how to make each one of us angry and many times she seeks that. For these reasons she LOVES going to school, where she does not fight for any space, where she can be authentic, where she obeys without question and that gives her security. She is the one who likes the routine the most and today we do not have any clarity, she has repeated on many occasions “she is fed up with the virus”..
And the youngest 1.3 years old, he is very well off. His sleep routine has been marked quite well, and his learning continues just by observing his sisters. But he is the one who tires us most physically, he does not stop running, eating, shouting and being in dangerous situations, one cannot stop being with him for a minute.
My husband is not very good at keeping a routine but his job forces him everyday to maintain order and he actually performs incredibly and is good solving specific issues.
But now all is crashing down; not only because offices and workspaces are closed but also because the industry in which he works has been completely stopped by the Pandemic. So, on the one hand there is the fear and uncertainty caused by the lack of work and on the other hand to face himself, the gaps in time and the feelings caused by being unproductive.
And I, who prefer routine, always full of tasks, projects, meetings, always loving to plan and have an agenda, constantly anticipating the facts. Now I am trying to contain all this uncertainty, frustration, ANXIETY and lack of planning. Distressed to think that you are not doing what is best for your children, that perhaps you could better educate them, make this moment something memorable, trying to lower the academic elements to achieve homeschooling, constantly being an intermediary in sibling lawsuits, judging the behavior of my partner and then regretting it… Now I’m beginning to understand that I have to learn from chaos, that perhaps it is not as bad as I always thought… that a little bit does not hurt and sometimes it is enjoyed.
I decided to find a space before my family wakes up and one when they fall asleep for myself… and thus fill myself with energy…
I think that these months should make us better people, face ourselves, our partners, our children, our parents and anyone with whom we’ve had to go through this quarantine SHOULD train us, make us reflect and give us tools to improve, it is not easy but at least we have to try.
I hope to make this isolation weigh less every day and I really wish it for everyone.