COVID-19 and the Science of Good Enough

I created this blog in 2018 as a way to combine my academic interest in early childhood education and nature studies with my practical day-to-day activities as a new mom. I loved my new role staying home with my son, but I missed academia. As a researcher, I wanted to share what I was continually reading about the benefits of nature and the science of early childhood development as well as my ideas for activities to encourage child-led, educational play (although, yes, isn’t all play educational?). As a mom, I wanted to develop a community of like-minded souls to talk about these topics. Eventually, I planned to develop these ideas, discussions, and articles into a play- and nature-based curriculum for homeschoolers and early childhood educators. I wanted to “empower creative learning” for my readers.

Instead, I shrank from the blog. I waited. My son grew, I had a second child, and still the blog sat. I posted occasionally, my vision still tugging at my mind in quiet moments, but I longed for perfection. I wanted to post weekly with new activities, new research, beautiful images. Because I didn’t feel perfect, I didn’t allow myself to share.

And then quarantine happened.

COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus that originated in China and has spread with alarming speed across the globe, hospitalizing and killing thousands) has changed the world. Some nations are in lockdown, trying to slow the spread of the disease and give doctors a chance to get ahead of this thing. Other countries, like America as of this writing, are closing some businesses and encouraging telework, but – in a delicate dance of national liberty and necessary restrictions – we are still free to wander for now.

Many have chosen to self-quarantine. Ultimately, a few weeks of social distancing will do us little harm and may do our part to flatten the curve. Today is #day7 of our own COVID quarantine. The lack of in-person social interaction is difficult, but I am thankful for technology and the ability to video-call friends and family.

Here’s something else. I’ve had more time, less errands to run (um, no errands to run). I’ve been more of the person I’ve wanted to be.

I’ve read more.

I’ve cleaned more.

I’ve instituted and kept healthy habits like a better schedule for the boys (now aged 1 and almost 3) and daily walks around the neighborhood (hi neighbor, just gonna wave from over here #socialdistancing).

I feel myself becoming a better person. Not perfect, but better.

One of the books I read (or rather listened to, thank you Audible) was Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability. In it, she talks about “good enough” – how a dinner party with take-out Chinese food is better than the fancy dinner party you never host; the 1-mile slow jog you DO complete is better than the 10k you never attempt. Sometimes “good enough” is good enough. Perfectionism is the betrayer of goals.

COVID-19 is my Get Cr*p Done time and I’ve decided to stop waiting for perfection. This week I hope to share some of the activities we’ve been completing in our Bird Unit nature study (loosely based on the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum for bird week). The pictures are snapshots, the research is done during naptime, usually via audiobooks while folding laundry or putting away dishes, and the thoughts are those of a mere researcher turned stay-at-home mom.

Welcome to my blog. I hope some of our wild & free childhood resonates with you as we journey together though nature, life, learning, and play.

What are your COVID-19 quarantine goals? Is there something you could do “good enough” in the next few weeks?

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