Connecting While Social Distancing

Connecting While Social Distancing

FaceTime and Zoom and Skype...oh my!

Being homebound opens up the door to more virtual “person-to-person” interaction. Texting is an easy way to quickly connect with friends and family, and it usually gets the job done. However, during this COVID “stay at home” period, we have collectively realized we crave meaningful interactions with friends and family. Thanks to technology today, virtual hugs and high fives are easier to come by, which is so essential to our mental health. Although this post was borne of a viral pandemic stay at home order, the advice goes a long way for new moms who often feel isolated when they’re home with a newborn baby.

I am a silver linings kind of person, but, man oh man, the social starvation diet we have all been on during this quarantine period has been hard. I know I am not alone in this. We are, after all, social creatures. I bet that even the most introverted among us has experienced the pangs of loneliness in the midst of this pandemic. It ebbs and flows. Most days I count my blessings for the fact that I have three kids and a partner whom I love. Our house is generally filled with a mixture of dancing, music, messes, princess plots, coloring, wardrobe changes, books, plays, and the occasional scream that is, frankly, just a part of life with three kids under 6. It is chaos and love and I can’t imagine life any other way.

There is, of course, one very important thing missing. FRIENDS!

At the end of a very long and challenging day last week, I was craving a girls night out in a big way. I have not seen many of my closest friends for months by now, and I was feeling their absence. As if by magic, one of my friends from graduate school sent a group text to coordinate a Zoom date. Boom. Just like that, the loneliness from our collective isolation that was putting me in a foul mood lifted. In its place, I found myself downright giddy as I tucked in the kids for the night, and cruised outside to start the Zoom call while enjoying the last rays of the day’s light.

I can’t tell you how nice it was to see the faces of those friends that are now squarely in the may-as-well-be-family camp. We are all moms, and between the four of us, we have nine kids and counting. We talked about our kids, ourselves, our work and our families. We talked about recipes and rated how clean or dirty our houses were at the moment. We watched my friend’s belly shift and writhe as her baby stretched, still warm in her womb. We cried over the challenges that a new baby sometimes brings. We reflected upon all the silver linings of this unique time. We shared our favorite baby names, and listened to each other's anxieties and joys. We talked well past our bedtimes, and we finally wrapped it up with a smile and virtual group hug. Of course the warmth of a real hug would have been even better, but that call was a pretty close second, and I felt the love all the same.

While the Covid era certainly has its challenges, I’ve started to recognize it as an incredible opportunity to reconnect with people who are important to me. Because I know that none of us has any social engagements anymore, and most of us are home every night, I am much more likely to call a friend rather than to text. I am much more likely to schedule a night to Skype or Zoom or FaceTime. I am grateful for this chance to rekindle friendships that have gone dormant, not from lack of love, but from a life that was just a little too busy. It may not be a girls night out, but my now weekly Zoom date with some of my favorite people on this planet fills my cup all the same.

Thank you, internet, for the ability to connect with all the people I love, beyond the walls of my home.

This post was written by Sterling Maximo, one of Nook's founders, during the stay at home order in Seattle, where she lives with her husband and three children.
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