As an academic mom on a 3-3 teaching load, CUNY salary in NYC, who spent the tenure track yrs supporting fam of 4 while husband was contingent, I've long since surrendered everything that can be surrendered: screen time, hygiene standards, cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. (🧵)
Like most Americans, eating out regularly is a foreign concept. Like most, we've barely been able to afford childcare, only the minimum to barely keep our jobs. Like most, we don't have savings, we can barely make our mortgage & commute costs (still lower than rent in NYC).
This was the norm BEFORE we hit a global depression in the middle of a global pandemic w a narcissistic idiot in charge. We're personally doing better rn thanks to husband finally getting a t-t job, but we're still crippled by student loans & childcare costs, like most ppl.
Yet, if I'm reading my Twitter feed correctly, we're all trying to continue mostly unnecessary work, wearing ourselves to a nub, unhealthily overcompensating for crushing anxiety, not to mention mostly assuming kids can absorb the damage we obviously can't handle ourselves.
More screen time? Hey, I'm the most screentime lax mom in the world, I've had to be (see recent tweet re: preschool & GoT), but have you met a kid of any age after even a few hrs of screen time, let alone days or weeks or months? Whiny, crabby, physical aches & pains, sleepless.
Just like us, kids feel horrible w too much screen time, but unlike us they're not developmentally capable of managing. They need responsible adult childcare. This is not a need that goes away in a crisis. Why are we testing that need? So parents can get more screen time?
Why are we filling our lives with bajillions of unnecessary emails & zoom meetings to pretend we're "productive," compounding the ill effects of crisis? (I'm not talking about actually necessary work here - healthcare work, medical research, delivery & grocery work, etc)
There are going to be a lot of reasons this virus spreads & people die unnecessarily in the coming weeks. Certainly Drump's inaction, lies & stripping of federal govt are chiefly responsible. Goddamn spring breakers, too. Not to mention the effing eugenicist governors.
Lower on the list but definitely a factor is that in addition to staying home, washing hands & wearing masks we should all be RESTING if we can, to prevent spread, to improve chances of recovery & eventual herd immunity. It took us weeks to admit masks help; NO ONE mentions rest.
God forbid Americans acknowledge there are limits to the human body and to economic growth: we'd rather kill ourselves with the lie. We've always been a civilization defined by our devotion to living a fantasy.
I know what some of you are thinking: but this work or that work would do this or that. You're still trapped in a nonsensical, lying mindset. Work is not holy. Work does not liberate. Work does not heal. Work does not bring you closer to God or to wealth or to happiness.
In the most pragmatic view, increased work does not incr productivity. You know what does increase productivity, solve problems, liberate people & bring wealth, health and happiness? Balance. Rest. Play. Art. Exploration. Reflection. Exercise. Nature. Connection.
I'm seeing teachers waste hours bc kids overslept & they were told to check on every kid who didn't sign in by 9. I'm seeing a wonderful daycare face going under while kiddos miss their friends. I'm seeing students, friends, colleagues suddenly w/o income, still needing rent.
That's nothing to the healthcare workers, delivery people & grocery clerks risking their & their family's lives, most for a wage that was never enough to live on. Certainly my own little dilemmas of how the hell to record lectures or grade w kids climbing on me is minor.
So let's imagine a totally different response to this virus from all of us who are paying attn, staying home, & trying to help (as opposed to the effing monster in the WH). Imagine if we called a mulligan on EVERYTHING - bc THAT'S ALREADY THE REALITY.

Imagine we all at once stop doing work emails or zoom meetings while our kids sit out a crisis with YouTube in place of parent & all of us alienated in front of screens. Imagine the teachers stop teaching, students stop trying to learn, offices stop officing, brands stop selling.
I know you have objections. They pop up in my head, too. They're the nefarious brain worms created by our culture of productivity. Try imagining just saying STOP. Taking a few minutes to imagine this won't cost you anything and you're on Twitter anyway. What happens?
Use email & zoom only to connect w loved ones, to connect kids w lonely seniors so parents can get a rest, to connect donors w the needy. Execs & lawyers & teachers & owners use the time to rest, exercise, reflect, consider & come back later w balanced, deeper ideas.
Workers & students & kids use the time to recover, breathe, play, come back later ready to work & learn more deeply.

Everybody relearn how to consider health first, how to think long-term, how to prioritize.
This only works, of course, if there's emergency UBI, universal healthcare, freezes on rent, mortgage, utilities, all deadlines suspended, all policies adapted. We could use the time to think ab why we didn't already have those things, how diff we could be if they were permanent.
Every objection you have could be figured out humanely, if we can let go of the pretense that any normality can or even should be held on to: the virus--a literally completely impersonal external force we cannot (yet) control--has ALREADY taken normal away.
Stop trying to pull normal back from the abyss - it's gone. Instead we need to turn around and survey what we've got on our hands now and consider how best to adapt. As my #preschoolersays:
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