As in the World Change, not the menopausal change.
I keep hearing how keeping a diary or journal of this snippet of time is a big deal. Lots of people are either doing it, or
forcing, requiring, bribing, convincing their kids to do it … so now I’m going to do it, but mine will be public. So understand this will be a relative “niced up” version of reality because:
a. my kids might read this
b. my husband will read this
c. co workers have access to this
d. family has access, but I suspect they don’t actually read the posts
When this all started, it was just self-preservation mode. It was an hourly adjustment to the fact that the entire world was really going into sequester mode. The entire world. … with the exception of Floridian Spring Breakers and Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts.
The reality of the death, the rate of infection, the reality of how fast and simple infection occurs, the news of details families had to endure: dying alone, no visitors, lack of any plan or idea on how to fight this disease. It was all just overwhelming, and still is.
Try and find something to make you feel like you have some sort of control. Find a way to “help” in one way or another. (My daughter and I made some youtube videos for potentially bored kids at home) When not theoretically saving someone in the world, let kids go outside to play with friends, but not allowed in anyone’s house or vice versa.
Also, field a TON of emails from work/school about updates saying that nothing is yet being updated…. lots of projections about what would happen, so you hunker down and control what you can even more. (i.e. stocking up on paper products and carbs, sugar, and beans apparently)
The next mental breakdown for me was “What are people doing with all of these beans?! Do people even EAT this many canned beans?!” And this quickly turned into domestic shaming because once I saw the flour and sugar aisle, I was immediately put into my place. I would have died in 2 days out on the prairie. And even worse, I have not taught my children these most basic self-preservation skills….. and still havent.
The next phase of week one was Optimism. Think of aaaaallll the house projects you can now get done because there is zero excuse now. You have all the time in the world! My husband even suggested tackling one project per week! (we are currently nearing the end of week 3 and have done zero things for the house, other than not burning it down)
Week one was getting on board with the seeming hysteria about full hazmat suits to go to the grocery store, and then tempering it down to what you realistically have the bandwidth to do. We do not quarantine our groceries as of yet. We do not spray our food with Lysol, yet. We do not drink hand sanitizer…. yet.
The party is over for the kids, and the Mom. No more outside playtime with friends. Week 2 for me was the most overwhelming so far. The “Help The World However I Can” outlook was gone, I was just deep in my snacks and keeping the kids from killing each other. I think this is the week we took a trip to our campsite an hour away for a change of scenery, too. It was actually a really good day out there.
This was also the week of social reconnecting. I felt really isolated from my Village. My People. The people that make it so I can be around my family and stay calm. We did video chats and lots of text threads.
Week 2 was still reasonable for food, if “reasonable” means “mostly Brown”. Because of the overwhelmingness (i’m making it a word, ok?!) of the state of the world, and the new reality of my sink being constantly full of dishes all day long despite the dishwasher being full and already run, I was cooking mostly frozen food. Here and there I would sprinkle in some fresh veggies, but it was mostly beige or brown food. Hot dogs. Tacos. Corn Dogs, Top Ramen, Frozen Chinese Chicken, frozen pizza, more frozen pizza.
I like to think because of all the frozen foods, we didn’t have a deep and hard withdrawal from fast food. Suck on that, Homesteaders!
This week was when the schools started reaching out to the students to make sure everyone had internet access, checking in to make sure kids were still around and my work started formulating a plan for the future. I was still in pajamas every day, and feeding my kids preservatives with a side of carbs sprinkled with protein. This might have contributed to my overall outlook, but to say my motivation was out the window was pretty spot on.
This brings me to The Now:
This week was overwhelming for other reasons. Now the kids’ schools were freely sending “options” and “suggestions” and “ideas” and it wasn’t once concise list of ideas. Nope, it was separate emails with lots of hyperlinks and different passwords and a little pep talk about maintaining brain activity and it just shuts down my brain.
One thing that has been cemented in my head is that i DEFINITELY have ADD. The lack of organization, executive functioning skills, problem solving and coping is dire. It adds to the overwhelming feeling when you have 6-7 teachers emailing you about expectations and passwords. If I were Monica Gellar, I would gladly start binders and highlighting projects to keep a schedule together.
I am not. I am Captain Doom of the shipwreck Sarcasmica. We patch and tape shit together until we can process it away from the chaos, and come back to it later…. if we remember …. if we have nothing fun or more entertaining to do.
The past 3 weeks has been challenging on so many levels. Marriages were not meant for this kind of life. I don’t know many relationships at all that would thrive in this situation … maybe co-dependent ones? Sex addicts? Poly amorous folks or polygamists? I love my husband and he’s my best friend, blah blah blah, but I am not the personality that does well under stress, anxiety, and nonstop contact. And you know what? Neither is he.
He is a workaholic – somewhat recovering- and I am just back to work after being a stay at home Mom. I had that taste of freedom for just under a year. Our days are ME taking care of kids, trying to find educational components to Netflix and Lego and computer use. It’s up to ME to feed and clean everyone, it’s up to me to keep a mental register of groceries we are running low on, it’s up to me to keep everyone on an even keel emotionally, physically, psychologically. And when does that leave me time to do my professional development? Come up with new ideas for my job? Put any thoughts into any kind of action that does not revolve around everyone else in the house?
My husband is the one with the hard schedule and I have to adjust.
I am not alone. This is the case for most women around the world. The lucky ones, anyway. The ones whose husbands are still able to work remotely. I can’t even get into the life of Doctor’s spouses right now. That is an unimaginable reality.
For us, my husband has always worked a lot and even travel. Lots of travel. I am pretty independent. This life worked for us pretty well. It took some getting used to, but if my husband was away and something went wrong at home, or something stressful happened, I managed and could do it solo. I did not fall apart. I do not need my spouse to get me through daily life. It works for us.
But now we are isolated together. With our kids. … like most of the responsible folks out there.
It’s a war zone!!
Kidding. It’s not that bad. … not outside the kids bickering or the birds screaming or the dogs barking all while my husband is trying to have a work call, expecting everyone to pull together and be silent and well-behaved.
Yea, “shipwreck” best describes our lives at the moment. We are all fantasizing about the day we can get back out. The family vacation spots are going to be OVERRUN with families chomping at the bit to get some breathing room and some unbridled fun.
Good luck out there, Moms. It is up to us to hold these shipwrecks together. If you are a fully decorated Captain with schedules and calendars and lists, good for you! If you’re a mom with a drink in one hand, the remote in the other, and the kids being creative somewhere in your house …. you think, keep doing you. If you are a single mom trying to keep your sanity, hiding in the pantry snorting chocolate chips, I air high five you.
I say we get through this with as many Lego, drinks, cupcakes and TV Shows we need. It can all be repaired later.