photo: Kimberly Ennis
Why is it that we will be doing fine, “It’s fine, I’m doing fine. Everything is fine.” and then all of a sudden it just hits you? Everything is NOT fine. Anyone else? I mean we are living in a global pandemic and absolutely everything is different now. Everything. Maybe it is so hard because we (or at least I) thought everything was getting better. The summer started to feel like we were getting back to our old selves. My bad. But here we are eLearning, WFH (working from home), preparing for another lockdown. And it is literally dark. And cold. And scary. WTH.
But for the most part, we can push forward, carry-on, and survive. We are getting used to it. It’s unfortunate, but we are. Used to staying home. Used to eLearning and work from home and minimal child care. We are used to not wearing proper pants or shoes. We are used to not seeing our friends and family. We are used to staring out the same damn freaking windows! They call it complacency. We are becoming complacent with this pandemic. Getting used to it. After all, it has been over 8 months now. 8!
It is also called fatigue. We are tired of wearing masks, social distancing, and being reminded to always wash our hands. Even though we have gotten used to it, we are tired of staying home and would do anything to go on vacation and visit family. I am tired of being Super Mom and working from home while caring for 3 young children and eLearning. Maybe everyone knows you are Super Mom and don’t think to check-in or maybe everyone is dealing with all of their own hard stuff right now. We can’t just take a break from all of this and go back to our old normal. We now have to welcome a new normal. And it is all so different.
Also, it is the fear of the unknown. When will they go back to school? When will I operate in my office with my colleagues again and have normal productive adult conversations? When can I work out at the Y and not wear a mask while running? Or stop at the store and not be afraid of all of those looks that I inevitably get because my 3 young kids aren’t social distancing?
Complacency, Fatigue, Fear. Well today, my friends, I lost it. Maybe like many of you, I try so hard to keep it all together. As parents, that is our job. We keep it all together and put everyone else’s needs first. Literally, our job. Today though, it was this sense of being overwhelmed. So much to do and not enough time to do it. No gratification or the reminder that we are doing a good job. Everything felt hard today. I couldn’t prioritize or make the right decisions. Maybe it is true that when you hold it all in, eventually it all comes back out at once. So I walked, I cried, but I walked. And I never cry. I just don’t, ever. But I couldn’t fight it. (And my dear colleague watched my kids this afternoon because she could tell.)
But my sense of being overwhelmed isn’t selfish. It isn’t all about me and all that I have to do. As a parent, it is never “Woe is me.” I know that I am blessed to have a job right now and healthy children and an incredibly caring and hard-working husband. I know this. But I am overwhelmed with everything that is going on. All that I am seeing and hearing and everything that we can’t control. We might be trying to put on a front but this pandemic is hitting us hard. We can’t travel and see family this Thanksgiving. And families that are local can’t even get together. This all hurts so much. Some are sick and struggling severely. It is having an impact on so many and we don’t even know it all yet.
So, this Thanksgiving, let’s be there for one another. Remember to lift each other up. Go out of your way for friends and family. Pay 10 compliments or gestures. We need it. Seriously, we need it more than ever. Maybe we still need to check on one another like we used to do back in April when shelter on place began. Maybe we need to ask, “Ok, but are you sure?” This year, let’s be thankful, so incredibly thankful for what you have. Remember what is most important right now and hold that close to you. Prioritize your health and if you can’t tell someone you love. Don’t let yourself become too overwhelmed without talking about it first. Physical and mental health are ever more important this year. Try not to let this pandemic get the best of us. I am sorry but we aren’t out of the woods just yet.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Unplug, log off Zoom, put up your out of office reply, and enjoy those you love. Enjoy them so much.