It’s ok if you’re not ok.
We’re over five weeks into this poor performance of Groundhog Day. For some, the initial shock and panic has worn off, we’ve settled in, and we’re slowly adjusting to a new normal. For others, the honeymoon phase of quarantine has eclipsed, and now we struggle to wrap our heads around how long we may really be doing this.
At this point for me, all lines have blurred. There is no difference between Monday and Saturday. I work in the same place where I wake up, and I go to bed with my “work desk” staring at me. I haven’t had a single phone call without an audience in over a month. I think I’ve yelled more and cried more in the last month than I have in five years.
Unlike all of the amazing friends I have, who are baking countless versions of banana bread and conducting home science experiments and engaging their children in yoga, I find myself often hanging by a thread. Every single day, on at least one occasion, I have to say “not right now” or “let me just send this email” when my daughter asks me to play. Every single day, I have to keep my one year old from spilling my coffee and eating my headphones while I corral him during my conference calls. I’m working later into the night so I can be more accessible for my family during the day. Then I stay up even later in an attempt to decompress in those few moments I have alone.
This is not easy. And sometimes, I’m not ok. While I’m usually the first to tell people to cut themselves some slack and practice self-care, I find that I am harder on myself now more than ever. I’ve eliminated my commute. I don’t even have to get dressed half the days of the week. I’ve eliminated work events and networking meetings and even nights out with my friends. How could I have found so much free time, yet I feel as if I’m suffocating from all that is on my plate? Logistically, this makes no sense to me. So instead of falling asleep at night, I wonder why couldn’t I do it all? And every day I wake up thinking, maybe today will be the day I figure it all out.
While I’ve had meltdowns and my own internal temper tantrums, I’ve also had more breakfasts, kisses, and bedtime stories in the last month than I have had since my youngest was born. I’m also so thankful for my health and the health of those around me, and I know- now more than ever- that is not something to take for granted. I believe in my core that when all things are considered, this will be a blip on the radar of our lifetime, and I genuinely hope it has no negative impact on our children. I hope that whatever we are each doing to get ourselves from day to day will be enough to get us to the proverbial end of this crazy journey.
And know that wherever you are on this journey, you’re not alone. To those who are baking and doing science experiments and cooking fancy family dinners every night, I salute you. To those who are single, and feeling isolation in a whole new way, I offer you my kids for a full two weeks when this is over. To those who decipher between morning and night based on whether it’s coffee or wine in your glass, I hear you. To those who are single working parents, carrying this entire load on your shoulders alone, I admire you. To those on the front line, I appreciate you and applaud you more than you know.
I’ve heard that we’re all in this together. That’s not exactly true. We all may have one common goal, which is to protect our families and preserve our health, but there is no doubt we are all on different journeys to that goal. Let’s be patient and kind with one another; and most importantly, with ourselves.