Skip to main content

Mendo Lake Family Life

Moms Done a 360 on Screen Time

By Janeen Lewis

If a clairvoyant had told me six weeks ago that I’d be indefinitely quarantined at home with my family, I would have told her she was looney tunes and asked for my money back. And yet here I am like the rest of the world, reeling open-mouthed at a huge curveball thrown by a virus. I keep hearing the words new normal, but here are some things that make it feel like Bizzaro World to me.

An obsession with toilet paper. Really? Who knew that during a pandemic that revolves around, no, not dysentery, that toilet paper would be all the rage? I never thought people would be madly bidding for Charmin on eBay, or that I would finally have access to that thing I have always needed: an online toilet paper calculator (again, six short weeks ago, who’d have thunk?). I merely punch in the number of times my family goes Number One and Number Two (this makes for an interesting and fun household survey) and the amount of squares used, and voila!, it calculates that our seven rolls will last nine days, and that’s if we don’t eat tacos. We’re doomed.

Nail and spa places are not “essential” businesses? I haven’t had my upper lip waxed in weeks, and my 13-year-old son, Andrew, is starting to grow facial hair, so we are both sprouting mustaches simultaneously.

I’ve caught up on ALL my sleep. And I mean all of it: Weekly college all-nighters. The endless nights spent feeding my newborns. The too many years I binge-streamed Grey’s Anatomy (and I thought I’d never get that decade back). The only times I’ve interrupted this new 14-hours-of-sleep-a-night schedule have been those early morning wakeups to, quite unsuccessfully I might add, beat the run on the restocked toilet paper.

Mom’s done a 360 on screen time. In true Freaky Friday/Twilight Zone fashion, I’ve become the Rosanne Barr of electronics. Before, I’d have set limits on my kids’ screen time. Now, to keep myself sane, I find myself repeating, “Just watch your tablet!”

It’s all about “real world” math lessons. How’s this for a crisis homeschooling assignment: Have the kids tally all the times they hear the words new normal or unprecedented. Then they can make graphs and charts depicting their results. That will keep them busy. And if that doesn’t work, there are always word problems that revolve around toilet paper consumption.

Social distancing actually brings people closer together.In all seriousness, I’d have thought we’d get lonely stuck at home. And yet, I see friends and families coming up with creative ways to connect in spirit (and Skype). Flattening the curve together is inspiring; we will get through it.

Still, I wish we had a few more rolls of toilet paper while we’re doing it.

Janeen Lewis is a freelance writer and mom.