There is so much to take in and balance during Pandemic 2020. We all cope differently, and understanding your needs and doing what you can just to survive is truly okay.
Hey fellow mamas, how ya holding up? How am I? I’m…okay, I guess. No, no, don’t worry about me. I’m healthy physically. My family has the supplies we need. My anxiety meds are working overtime but definitely doing their thing. I’d be lying if I said I was thriving, but you know what, that’s okay.
I started our family’s social distancing with confidence. I worked from home regularly already and have a pretty sweet office space. I’m also the most introverted of introverts, so having no one expect me to be anywhere outside the home sounded like a little piece of heaven.
BUT…I didn’t mentally prepare myself for the difference of having my two young daughters at home as well. In case you haven’t experienced it in a while, preschoolers and toddlers have boundless energy that cannot be confined to a mere playroom while mom and dad are trying to hold down their jobs. Remember the video that made the rounds online a year or so ago, where the dad working from home on a video conference doesn’t realize his young daughter has danced into the room behind him? That scenario is our new normal around here.
Mostly, I was just unprepared for the sheer amount of togetherness quarantining involves. I quickly discovered that I really missed missing my family while they were away from me for the day. Alone time, which is genuinely a necessity for my well-being, has become an infrequent luxury, stolen in small doses.
Then came the plethora of Pandemic 2020 resources with which to entertain and educate my home-bound children: virtual zoo tours, learning apps, storytime events, recipes for homemade slime and play dough (hard NO on those), and those ridiculous daily schedule screenshots that made the rounds. Here I am struggling to get my work done in a manner that even remotely resembles my previous productivity, and now I have to be my children’s learning coordinator as well?
Oh, and I could also be taking this “time off” to spring clean my house, cook fabulous dinners from random pantry staples, kick start my fitness, and schedule a virtual brunch with friends? Great…I’ll pencil that all right in.
I was feeling the shame of the “shoulds” even while every fiber of my being was begging, “I don’t wanna.” What I want is to hibernate until life returns to some semblance of normalcy. For some people, I realize this can be a sign of depression; however, for me, it’s more about understanding my limitations. I know from experience that my best strategy during a crisis is to conserve my (very) finite mental and emotional energy for just the absolute essentials. So, I will do what I feel like I can, and the rest? *insert shoulder shrug emoji*
I’m not looking for silver linings right now. I’m setting realistic daily goals. I’m not using this time to take up a new hobby or finish a project. I’m allowing myself to feel how I feel in the moment, even though ALL of the problems outlined here are first world problems, and many people have it far worse.
I’m definitely not killing it as a wife, mother, or employee right now, but I’m surviving, and that’s okay.