I’ve known Emily since we were kids. She is the most extroverted person I know! She is also extremely type A, super funny, a very committed runner, a hard worker, super mom, and the total opposite of me. I always joke our childhood friendship prepared me for staying married to my husband for so long. They are so similar! Both are the only two people who can convince me to do crazy things. She somehow talked me into trying out for cheerleading in high school. I made the team but quit when I realized how much I hated it. 🤣And, just for context, my husband once convinced me to repel off the side of a mountain in South Africa while he rode the tram down! The monsoon winds flared up so the mountain shut down and I had to wait it out for the next tram. All while my husband had a nice quiet lunch by the beach!
Today, we live thousands of miles away — Emily in a big city and me in the tiny beach town where we grew up. We stay in touch through text and visits anytime we are on the same side of the country. Those texts have gone into overdrive during this shelter in place. Through our recent text conversations, I realized how similar themes come up for both of us around the pandemic. Fear for our kids, confusion around how best to move forward, and what this means for our jobs and cities.
I am excited to be able to share her story with you all. I hope this latest conversation helps you find some inspiration and a sense of connection through Emily’s words. Over the next few weeks, I will share more stories about fears, words, and inspiration from other women I know and I hope they help you feel a little less alone in the world right now. Read the first in this series here.
Quarantine Conversations with Emily
Allow me to do a quick introduction, I am quarantined with my Husband, Marcus and our energy-filled 1-year-old son, Daxton. Marcus and I are hoteliers. Both Director of Sales & Marketing leading all functions of sales, marketing & PR for our respective hotel employers. Marcus works for the 3rd largest hotel in Chicago with over 1200 sleeping rooms. I work for Nobu Hotel Chicago which is currently under construction scheduled to open in July 2020. Needless to say, the hotel or hospitality world has been turned upside down.
The cancellations continue to come in well past what we anticipated, some groups/events are canceling well into July. It is scary to think how we will recover. I can’t help but think most businesses (our clientele) will hesitate to host events and/or send their employees on the road again. I am working part-time during all of this but covering for the team I had to furlough “until further notice.” Our hotel opening strategy is extremely different and it feels somewhat tacky to pitch a new hotel when there is a crisis affecting all industries, our clientele especially. I also can’t help but think how much pressure we will be in to recover the money our companies have lost during this time. After all, our job is to ensure the hotel sleeping rooms and meeting space are booked.
Despite feeling anxious and worried every day for the future of my career, I am trying to remain optimistic. Travel is something everyone will be dying to do. One can only hope. I am grateful that I get to work from home and that me and my family are healthy. In addition, my son has no idea what’s happening. His innocence and joy help me remember we will get through this. The extra time that I get to hug, kiss and laugh at his silliness are highlights of my day.
Ever since I had my son Daxton, worry and anxiety are regular emotions I deal with. Before having him, I never experienced anxiety or worry as much as I do now. After talking to many moms, it sounds like it’s a common feeling of “How can I keep my child safe and healthy at all times? Am I being a good enough Mother” and so on… COVID-19 has increased my anxiety. Especially since there are so many point of views and tons of different medical predications, it’s hard to feel confident this virus will ever be controlled. Let me preface by saying, I have always traveled and carried Clorox wipes and sanitizer. I am also overly diligent about handwashing. So the habitual recommendations aren’t new for me. However, I do worry about other people’s judgment. That includes anyone coming in contact with Daxton.
The shelter was put in place on March 17th in Illinois. I’m sure, many of you know 1-year-olds don’t necessarily know they are missing the outside world. However, I think a walk or two for fresh air is essential every day. On March 27th, we received a note that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our building. We live in a building with approximately 500 tenants. Not only was this terrifying because it is so close to home, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had exposed my son to the virus. With that, both our nanny and I thought it was best she stop working until further notice. We decided to avoid the elevators and take only the stairs. We also decided to limit taking Daxton outside. Less exposure to anyone the better. Poor little guy’s only outside exposure is hanging out on our small balcony in his play chair.
Now, what do we do with the other waking hours to keep Daxton busy? Let me start with, I haven’t had one second to be bored with him. He has always been the baby that turns his head so fast to see what’s going on and he has to touch everything. He started walking during this crisis and needless to say, has me running around all day. I let him explore everything in the house and he definitely takes advantage of that. His attention span is very short, so alone playtime is non-existent. Luckily, I had a stash of new toys that I planned on taking with us to Bali (17-hour flight) that I have been bringing out randomly. We do a lot of reading, he enjoys books. We still follow the milestone activities daily on a couple of apps I have. When I am cooking or prepping to cook, he is literally pulling on my pant leg begging for food until he sits down in his high chair. Eating is his favorite hobby. Because I have to find time to work a half-day as well, we are trying to introduce a little TV time in his day. He watches about 2 minutes and then wants to do something else. Oh did I mention he is teething and is getting multiple teeth at one time? Fussiness and clinging are also activities in our day. My husband is working from home 3 days a week. On those days, we try and work with each other’s schedules so we can take turns in getting work done while watching Daxton.
I am taking things day by day and hoping Daxton doesn’t sense the stress or anxiety both my Husband and I are dealing with. Not to mention, I am an extrovert so I am slightly going crazy being cooped up like this. I don’t know how this will affect my parenting after we get through this. I hope to continue to parent the best way I know, as if COVID-19 never existed.
What quarantine conversations have you been having? Let me know in a comment below!