Life at home, compelled by ‘shelter in place’ orders all over the State, is, well, unique. Not the right word. Interesting? Yes. Chaotic, stressful, overwhelming and taxing also apply. It feels a bit like the gruesome stories of old where a man, condemned for his crimes, is tied between four horses, and the horses start to run, pulling the man in four different directions.

Over lunch today, after a particularly aggravating day yesterday, my husband saw the look on my face and decided to tell me a few stories. A CFO we know, while in the middle of an online SBA loan application to save their company and the jobs of hundreds of employees, was driven to the point of near implosion when his daughter decided that was a great time to run up and down the stairs screaming that she didn’t like her homework assignment and wasn’t going to do it.

Another friend, who is leading a large organization, took 3 hours to write an important message to her customers because she was continually interrupted by pleas for lunch…homework help…a new pencil…paper…more food…water. Water was the request that pushed her over the edge. “Now, all of a sudden, they can’t even get their own water?!?!” Another CEO we know was sat at the dining table by his wife, who explained he simply wasn’t doing enough during such a time as this, and that she needed more help – or else she might not survive. This is the point where I started to laugh just a little bit, because I had an eerily similar conversation with my husband the evening prior.

A dear friend called to say that she and her husband simply couldn’t cook, clean, do laundry, run a company, serve clients, look after the dog, teach school to their children, discipline said children, sleep, eat, and do all the others basics of life – all at the same time. “Something has to give”, she said. And it does.

There’s something about being in the same space for every part of life that makes it feel like everything is converging…at the same time. And when it feels this way, the pressure builds, and builds, and builds, like a volcano moments before it erupts.

Something has to give.

One day, when my husband and I are older and our children are long gone, I imagine us sitting around a Thanksgiving table laughing and telling stories, when one person will say, “Hey! Remember the COVID-19 crisis of 2020?!” We’ll think back on how it changed our lives and our family, and I wonder, will we feel warmth and fondness for what this season meant to us? Or will we feel the pain and regret of moments lost and words of frustration that can never be taken back? These are the very real and pressing questions we all must face.

Admittedly, most of my thought has been around what this means for my organization, because the intensity of the decisions that needed to be made drove business to the forefront. Today, I can’t escape questions that are far more important:

  • Will our family be closer because of this time together?
  • Will we know and understand each other better?
  • Will we loved each other more deeply?
  • Will we appreciate how hard this is for every one of us?
  • Will we have fun together?

I’ve decided that my life needs a redesign. New routines. New priorities. And a new intention, because I don’t want to leave these important questions to chance.