By Cheska Roque
April 28, 2020
I think I’ve adjusted now. Not well, but not bad either. I generally have the same schedule every MWF when our housekeeper comes in, and every TF when she doesn’t. Weekends are free for all, anything goes! A usual Tuesday/ Friday is as follows:
7:30am – I wake up to the sound of my youngest offspring calling me “mameeeEEEEEEEH!”, my husband’s cooking (who, by the way, STILL wakes up before 5am), and my eldest offspring’s constant opening and closing of the bedroom door. Yes, very peaceful.
I usually stay a couple of minutes on the bed lazing around and browsing on my phone when they’ve all started to eat, mostly just to spite them. Then I drag my ass to the table and if lucky, watch the news. We normally watch Peppa Pig though. I zone out and start eating my usual breakfast of fried processed food and bread, and finally, FINALLY, drink my first cup of coffee.
8:30am – By this time my brain processor has booted up and I remember my family members’ names. Gilbert moves to the bedroom to start his online Zoom meetings on the work area. Drew and I clear up the table and then he enthusiastically washes the dishes since that chore is equivalent to 30 minutes of internet time (40 minutes if he cleans the pans too! What a bargain!). Ocean is a wildcard at this point, she does whatever a 3-year old does. I plan what we’ll have for lunch, tidy up the room, sweep the floor, and put in a load of laundry on my beloved 2nd hand Japanese washing machine. Oh, If I remember, I brush my teeth too.
10:00am – Time to buy additional ingredients. I change to leggings, shirt, socks, rubber shoes, cap, and mask. I put my wallet, alcohol, and quarantine pass on my trusty ecobag. By this time, Gilbert is still working, Drew is in his own world on youtube for 30 mins, and Ocean is bugging either of the two.
I take the stairs because I need the exercise (full disclosure: I started THIS DAY, since I usually take the elevator), and walk out to the blindingly bright and hot world outside. I walk towards the gate of the condominium to get to Monterey and vegetable stalls. I line up outside the shops as they only allow 2 people inside. There are usually a handful of people out, a few cars passing by a normally high-traffic road, a barangay tanod shouting reminders with the super scary threat of “baka ma-media kayo pag hindi kayo magsocial distancing!”
Once I buy everything I need, I go back – which is a lot more complicated than going out.
Back at the condo gate, the guard checks my temperature – 36.5 degrees Celsius today (when I certainly felt around 40 degrees due to the heat). When I get to the lobby, I have to sanitize my shoes by stepping on an open box of bleach solution-saturated foam, then stomp on a rag to dry it out. Then I spritz alcohol on my hands and take the stairs up to the 8th floor (yes, started this day too). Panting, I enter our condo, put down the ecobag on the counter, proceed to peel off my armor to place them on the laundry, then directly take a shower (as directly as I can when the toddler tries to stop and hug me and I play patintero with her so she doesn’t touch me).
11:00am – I sanitize all I’ve brought in and start cooking lunch. By this time, I’m casting Captain Underpants on TV and the kids are glued to it. Drew puts out the plates at one point and I get Ocean to take a bath. When food’s cooked and Ocean is squeaky clean, I get her to bug her dad so we could eat lunch.
11:45am – 12:30pm – LUNCH TIME CHAOS (we eat, among other things)
12:31pm – Gilbert makes the 2nd pot of coffee while Drew clears up the table and starts washing plates again. I get some phone time while drinking coffee.
1:00pm – Gilbert goes back to work. Drew goes back to Youtube and/or drawing. In an ideal world, Ocean immediately takes her nap, and I get to work too. Unfortunately, she sleeps anytime between 2 and 5pm, and I usually try to wait for her to sleep before I work. More often than not, when she finally sleeps I don’t have the energy to work, and I get sucked into a lethargic state with thoughts full of snacks, dinner, facebook, news, videos, series and movies. When I DO finally get the mental push to open my laptop, I only have time to check emails and reply to messages. I usually have an hour of productivity before…
4:45pm – Ocean’s awake and Gilbert has started to set-up his weights, yoga mat and other gym equipment. Drew manages not to burn his hand this time while making instant noodles (he’s getting pretty good at it and I tell him he’ll survive college. He looks at me in a weird way. I say it’s a compliment.) Father-daughter start to “work out”, usually with his bros via zoom. Yeah, check out Gilbert’s Facebook Stories.
5:30pm – I start making dinner. Some sort of scuffle usually happens at this time between the kids, but they work it out after I do my “Mom thing”. Some nagging happens so that some personal hygiene and toy-clearing gets done as well. Reward is Netflix time, and illegal snacks before dinner.
7:00pm – DINNER TIME CHAOS (we eat, among other things like watch the tagalog version of Naruto)
7:30pm – My sister comes out of her lair and takes a shower, leaving her door ajar. Ocean immediately expands her Territory of Chaos to include the area behind that door.
8:00pm – Naruto’s done and Drew earns another 30-40mins screen time again with chores. I finally get to take a shower and “me time” after, which is mostly reading or watching on my phone. The kids usually sidle up to their dad – the original “panganay”– so they can play games on his phone or, you know, just wrestle.
9:30pm – I look up from my phone and they’re all asleep. NICE. I get back to my reading. I don’t even try to sleep at this time anymore because I know I’ll just end up staring at the ceiling and over-thinking.
Sometime after midnight – Sleep, finally.
This is one of the most “normal” days. There are extreme days when I couldn’t move and breathe because of anger and anxiety about the future of the company and my staff, or generally the country (well that escalated quickly). There are other days when I move too much because I NEED to be productive to survive. To cope, I’ve stopped comparing my situation with others who I imagine are in better situations. I’ve stopped imagining the ideal quarantine scenario for an introvert like me (don’t even get me started with those choose your quarantine house!!). I’ve stopped wishing for things I can’t have RIGHT NOW.
But it’s dangerous to be numb so I watch the news and keep myself updated. I try to moderate my feelings. I deal mostly with humor, grateful that my family is healthy and that we have food and a bit of funds to weather us through these times.
I acknowledge my privilege… and my weaknesses. And yet I struggle another day, because someone is shouting and cheering for me when I wake up, calling me –