Day 48, Anxiety in Isolation - The Things I Didn't Realize

Posted by Bridgett MacAfee on

When the governor issued our stay at home order, and the schools moved to online learning, I was feeling thankful that my kids are now teens and pretty darn self-sufficient in managing their classwork. At 16 and 17, they are pretty self-sufficient at everything. Had this happened 5 years ago, I’m not sure I could juggle mom, teacher, and working from home, especially since they surpassed my math skills by middle school - oy.

Emmy and Maddie Today-Papersalt

(My Girls today)

My girls are like many - they use TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, all of that, to keep in constant contact with their friends. Our home life looked pretty similar to pre-stay at home. But over the weeks, there has been an under-current of sadness and anxiety creeping into our daily lives that was just, different. Different than a fight with a friend. Different than a hormonal teenager. Different than the stress of balancing homework, clubs, and a social life. My youngest battles depression and anxiety every day, but I know what that looks like, and this was different from that, too. Now I hear laughing at something they saw on their phone one minute and the next is a face coming at me filled with intense sadness and a loss of motivation to do anything.

I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate having to help them navigate the darkness of isolation that came with the stay at home order. Maybe since their online contact with friends looked similar, I didn’t think it’d make such an impact. But this past month and half has really done a number on them. They are missing their friends - the hugs, the standing in each other’s personal space, bingeing Netflix intertwined on the couch. The comfort that only their friends can provide.

All I want is to go back to a time where my little girls would climb into my lap and snuggle when they were sad or hurt - when my kisses and hugs were enough to console even the heaviest heart. Right now, though, I feel as lost being a parent as they are being a kid.  There’s no right way to navigate what we’re all going through - I get that.  I’m also happy that their support systems have evolved over the years to include friends and teachers and other parents. But it is just hard. I want to hold them and tell them that it’s going to be alright.

Emmy and Maddie-Papersalt

(My Girls a while ago)

I guess for now I just have to hold onto the hope that my hugs and I love yous are sinking in, that the FaceTime and zoom calls with friends help a little, and the daily encouragement to do something for their heart and mind will keep them going a little longer.

50 things to do besides homework


  1. Give your brother or sister a hug
  2. Write a letter to a friend
  3. Take a nap
  4. Drink 32 oz. of water
  5. Binge a tv show you’ve been wanting to watch
  6. Have a family movie night at home with all the fixings
  7. Paint
  8. Read a real book
  9. Write a haiku
  10. Journal
  11. Organize your closet
  12. Make a pile of clothes and shoes to donate
  13. Bake something using a cookbook, not the web
  14. Plant an herb garden
  15. Eat a piece of fresh fruit
  16. Sit outside, close your eyes and just listen
  17. Go for a walk
  18. Play a board game
  19. Do a puzzle
  20. Try out the House Party app with your friends
  21. Do 100 jumping jacks
  22. Call a family member
  23. Write a letter to your teacher just to see how they’re doing
  24. Research something you find interesting
  25. Take 25 pictures, but only of everyday objects
  26. Make a list of everything you are grateful for
  27. Make a meal for your family
  28. Snuggle your pets
  29. Play ‘chubby bunny’ over FaceTime
  30. Do all of the laundry (including folding and putting away)
  31. Take a bath
  32. Dress up and do a photo shoot
  33. Make an indoor obstacle course
  34. Train your dog to do a trick
  35. Watch the stars
  36. Play charades or Pictionary with your family or online with friends
  37. Learn to change a tire or change the oil in the car
  38. Teach yourself to play an instrument
  39. Organize the kitchen cupboards
  40. Call a neighbor to see how they are
  41. Try out yoga
  42. Learn another language
  43. Do your times tables like 3rd grade
  44. Listen to music and sing at the top of your lungs
  45. Laugh
  46. Write a story or a song
  47. Find your missing library and textbooks
  48. Dance
  49. Research careers you might like
  50. Make a scavenger hunt for your family to follow
Being a Teenage Girl Covid-19 Family health Learning Parenting Quarantine Teen

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