#EmiTogether: What my family is doing during these difficult times

In light of the pandemic and with many couples and families cooped up in their homes, we now face new challenges as we adjust to this “new normal”. Our #EmiTogether interview series will focus on how couples are managing during this time of stress. We hope that some of these stories will provide you with some solidarity and maybe even some inspiration – after all we’re all in this together. 

Our co-founder, Aya Takeuchi, will kick off the series today:

As with many of you, it’s been a stressful week so far. Here in SF, we’re in our 3rd week of WHF and 2nd week of “shelter in place” (wow is that it? Feels MUCH longer!). My family is grateful that we remain healthy, and we hope all of you stay safe as well.

In light of what’s going on with COVID-19, WFH, and Social Distancing, what are some new routines or rituals that you’ve introduced as a couple or as a family?

My husband and I have a 7 year old and two 3 year olds. As part of our “outdoor” time in the morning or in the late afternoon, we started going on family walks around our neighborhood. It’s nice for the whole family to be outside and get some fresh air. It’s also nice to see neighbors and discover new things in our neighborhood that we wouldn’t otherwise see if we were going about our usual business and lives. 

What are you doing intentionally for you and your partner to stay sane during this challenging period?

In general we decided to keep our children on their regular schedule. As with many families with children, we created a schedule for our kids that we try to stick to (although so far it’s only working about 50% of the time). This makes things more predictable in these unpredictable times. 

During the time when my children are napping or my husband is in charge, I try to go on a run around the neighborhood to stay sane and have alone time. We try to do a lot of switching off, although it’s challenging with 3 young kids.

I’ve always had a group chat with my close girlfriends, so we are in constant communication about our thoughts, worries, complaints, etc. It’s nice to have that outlet. Taking a tip from my friend (and her partner), I suggested to my husband that he do a Facetime drinks with his friends after the kids go to bed – which I believe was successful. Even during a non-pandemic, we believe it’s important that couples have an outlet and foster close connections with those outside of each other.

Can you inspire us with something positive that came out of this situation?

Family time – A LOT of it. Every time we sit down for dinner, our youngest cries out in joy, “dinner with Mama and Daddy!”, which makes me so happy and grateful for my family (although I must admit, the first time I heard her say that  it gave me a shot of guilt). We’ve always been busy working parents, and I realize now that we’ve very rarely eaten a meal together, all five of us. Meal prep has always been exhausting and stressful for me, but it makes it almost worth it when  we can enjoy it together. 

With all children at home and both parents working, how do you divide up child-care and home duties? How do you balance work?

That’s been one of our biggest challenges. My husband and I try to switch off, but with 3 children far apart in age, it’s been stressful. Not to mention the increased amount of “home” duties, such as cooking and cleaning. My husband and I now share our most important meetings/calls on our calendars and plan our day around it. Desperate times call for desperate measures – we’re also totally ok with putting our children in front of the TV to give us some work time 🙂 

Let us know if there are any initiatives your company is working on during this period that you would like to let our community know.

In response to the pandemic, we now have a new exercise series called “Challenging Times to Connected Times”, that we hope will help with some of the stress and anxieties around these uncertain times. As we’ve seen in many articles recently, being cooped up at home with your partner and children will be a huge test in many relationships. Hopefully this exercise series can help you get ahead of the possible arguments, annoyances and conflicts people may face at home.