Best of Both Worlds podcast: Pandemic musings

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

In the Best of Both Worlds podcast, Sarah and I often try to look at the positive side of things. There is a lot to grieve right now — both the tragic and the more everyday unfortunate stuff. My eldest is turning 13 and I have been quite sad lately about his friends’ canceled Bar Mitzvahs. (Well, the parties — many still have virtual services). Still, trying to see good things is a worthwhile endeavor. It’s not about sticking your head in the sand. It’s about seeing the whole picture. It’s about controlling what we can, and sometimes mood is in that category.

So, this episode focuses on that. We list a few bright spots. I have not had to argue with a child about going to swim team practice in 7 weeks! I had not acknowledged how much of an every day drain this was. No one has to wake up for 7:20 a.m. choir practice or sort out how my son will get there when my husband is traveling. That’s because my husband hasn’t traveled anywhere (other than the grocery store) in 7 weeks. I am not trying to time baby feeding around trips to swim practice. I just feed him when he’s hungry and it seems to be working (17 lbs 5 oz at his pediatrician appointment this morning — 85th percentile!)

Sarah has likewise been pleased with the absence of kid activities. We had a whole episode recorded about our mornings, and reader/listener suggestions for how Sarah might get her 3 kids to school on time without excessive levels of naughtiness. This problem has now solved itself (though we had to ditch the episode — maybe we can recycle some of it when school is back in session). With elective surgeries canceled, her husband is also now home a lot more. The shift to telemedicine is opening up new possibilities for the future.

With some of the time/energy saved by not commuting as often, Sarah may (may!) be starting a second podcast. Pop over to The SHU Box to read about that, and please give today’s episode a listen.


7 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Pandemic musings

  1. It has surprised me how much commuting truly took from my day–not only the time in the car but the energy it took to sit in traffic (or try to avoid traffic). I’d resisted working from home before so this has been a nice surprise. And more than a month into it, I have a pretty good system set up.

  2. I find that anyone with school-aged children is sort of enjoying this slower pace of life. Our son is only 2 so besides Saturday morning swim lessons, he had nothing else going on. And I REALLY miss swimming lessons as it gave us something to do on Saturday mornings that would tire him out and he really loved going. We got an email to register for the summer session but I don’t see how they could possibly re-open. We’ll see.

    I do not miss commuting and getting dressed up/wearing make up. But I do really really really miss working in the office. I had 2 huge monitors there – now I am working on a dinky laptop (will be getting a better work station set up soon with a large monitor). I really like the people I work with so going into the office is pretty enjoyable. But I don’t see us going back to the office in 2020 honestly… My company is being very careful/diligent. Another upside of not commuting/not sending our son to daycare is that he is sleeping later. Usually past 7 which was unheard of before. So that’s another bright spot!

  3. Dear Sarah & Laura,
    of course we will extend the invitation to next year -when the Bach festival will hopefully be back in full musical bloom!
    Until then we will keep listening to your podcasts and maybe there could be a possibility of a virtual workshop-teaser to help bridge the gap?
    All the best from Leipzig, Julia.

  4. I feel like I am an outlier here, but I really dislike working from home (even when it’s not a pandemic!) I am perhaps one of the rare people who likes to commute (via NYC subway), likes going to an office, dressing up, putting on makeup, and being able to transition to focus on one thing for a certain amount of time.

    I am in a job that CAN be done remotely, but is much better when I can see people, talk to them, brainstorm, collaborate and chat. I find the lack of immediate feedback and ability spontaneously have a conversation very difficult. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is looking forward to going back to the office?

    1. @Jenny – not the only one, but in the minority 🙂 Gallup poll of people working from home found 59% wanted to keep doing so, 41% go back to the office.

      But I really think this is a false choice. I think a lot of jobs are best done half remote/half in person. So what about doing the subway dress up thing 3 days a week and working remotely for two? You could get the best of both worlds that way.

      1. I find that surprising, I find that I am much more productive in my office environment and I can use my commute time productively. I listen to podcasts on the way to work and usually run home. During quarantine, I have found myself getting annoyed by all the tasks I could do around the house instead of work. Plus, my work is the kind that really does have an in-person component where being able to meet face-to-face with people is important.

  5. So, I’m a little behind on podcasts and just listened to this episode tonight… but better late than never!

    Regarding the Q&A on charitable giving, a couple of thoughts:

    (1) You might find it easier to give regularly if you set up a separate account for your charitable donations. We have a separate checking account that has received 10% – 12% of every paycheck and bonus since 2007. That money is for giving only; no judgment calls to be made. Makes it so easy!

    (2) Think about how far your money will go. We give mostly to organizations that do third-world aid because $1000 can stretch much farther in Haiti than in, day, Topeka. I’m also more interested in helping save lives than in supporting local arts. Both are valuable, sure, but they’re not comparable in my book.

    (3) Having some “mad money” for bigger or unexpected donations is fun. About 80% of our regular charity account is devoted to regular monthly donations, but that means a sizable amount of extra builds up. Every few months we sent a nice big chunk to some group that doesn’t receive a regular monthly donation from us. It’s just plain fun!

    Good luck finding what works for you! Giving is fun and habit-forming … one of those happy habits that make you feel great!

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