Cat Heatley, of Rutland, talks about how her life has been affected by the pandemic in recent weeks.

How are you handling self-isolation?I’m handling self-isolation day by day, with some days easier than others. There isn’t much “self” about it though. With two kids under the age of 5, self-isolation is a lot of time devising creative ways to keep two very busy children entertained and happy without the benefit of a change of scene.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?I’m a work-from-home mom with two kids who are not yet school-aged, so my work-life balancing act is in many ways similar to what it was before. The biggest challenge has been keeping everyone’s spirits up. We’re missing all of the community events we used to take part in and spending time with friends. Our moods as adults have a huge impact on our children — everything from sleep patterns, to behavior, to their own feelings. When one of us falls apart, we all do. So finding ways to stay positive is of the utmost importance, and one of the biggest challenges

What has been the most pleasant surprise?The most pleasant surprise has been discovering how little we truly need. Without the ability to just go buy new things or go visit new places, we are rediscovering all the things we already had and learning new ways to enjoy it all. I often tell my oldest these days that “what we have is all we have,” and I’m proud of the fact that this truth does not seem limiting. What we have around us is what we’ll be working with today, and it is enough.

How much of what you’re doing do you think will you carry forward after the pandemic?A lot of what we’re doing to keep ourselves occupied we’ll be able to carry forward after the pandemic is over. While we are really looking forward to expanding our current boundaries again and getting together with friends, we’re reinforcing for ourselves every day right now how important experiences over things really are to us.

And what do you feel the lessons will be that come out of all of this?The lessons that come out of this are things I think we already knew. Less is more, be prepared, believe in yourself, and be kind to others — these are all things that I knew before the pandemic, but they are the things that come to mind most often now, and especially when life at home is a struggle. Everything we do and say shapes our children and the people they will become, so my biggest lesson is to remember to see myself through their eyes. I’m in charge of the example I set, and I’m responsible for it too. The life we are living is the one we made, and personal responsibility is a big take-away for me.

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