This is the question on my mind this week.
I have been so good for so long. Figuring out everything and how to do this whole life thing all over again. Making really good life choices, not only for me, but for my children too. We got into a groove and were doing so well.
And then we weren’t.
Our lives, along with everyone else’s lives, got flipped upside down and turned inside out. Our routines changed, our normal is gone. We now have no routine and no normal. It’s awful. I thought I had a leg-up. I thought I had this in the bag. I have been told I have gone through the worst thing anyone can ever go through, so I thought I would be fine. Boy, was I wrong.
I feel an incredible amount of guilt for those in a worse situation than me. Some people have lost their jobs while I still have mine. Some people are sick with this virus or have loved ones who have it and are battling it alone in the hospital. Some people are on the front lines saving people’s lives while endangering their own and I am simply stuck at home for a while.
There is an important thought I try to remember when I feel my worries aren’t “good enough” to worry about. I have no idea who to give credit to. I have seen it on multiple occasions and will share the most recent one I saw:
So, please don’t think I don’t know there are many people struggling with things that are so much worse than what I have going on at the surface of things. I know. This post isn’t about that. This is about my version of what many people are going through right now. That’s it.
I am not writing this for pity or compliments. I do not want that.
I have spent the past few weeks trying to get a new normal.
I have spent the last few weeks figuring out how to work from home and have children at home 24/7 with me.
I have spent the last few weeks trying to figure out why this is such a dramatic change for me when I have been through a huge life shift and was doing so well at handling it.
I have zero answers.
I am writing this in case someone else feels the exact same way or some similar way. To let that person know they are not alone and not feeling good or even feeling bad or depressed is okay.
We have no new routine. We have no new normal. Every single day is still a struggle for me and my kids. It sucks.
I can’t even adequately describe how I feel and I believe most wouldn’t understand anyways. I can tell you that I go through what seems like 1,000 different emotions every day. The entire spectrum and I feel crazy. I can tell you I cry more than once a day because I am overwhelmed or feel lonely and maybe even a little scared sometimes. I can tell you that I feel bad for feeling bad because I am lucky to be going through what I am going through and nothing worse.
I could tell you that I always like my kids and we are having a grand time spending every waking moment together, but that would be a lie. I have found myself wondering if I even like my kids at times and wondering why I decided to have kids in the first place. I am not cut out for this. I LoVe my boys, but I am positive we do not like each other a lot of the time.
I am alone in my house with my three boys. People often come over and after a few minutes they always say, “Is it always like this?” I have to look around and figure out what they are noticing that I am not because I know what they are saying, but I tend to tune it out. “Yes, it is always like this,” is always my answer. I hardly notice the volume in my house is permanently on LOUD and the running and screaming never cease. I never knew how my job, the only real time I get away from my kids, kept me sane. I work with 3 other people in an office. I had no idea what that time meant to me until now. I knew it was important and I valued it, but not how much it meant to me, not even close. Whenever I did take a break from my kids to visit other people, I enjoyed the slower pace and quiet, but I always thought it was too quiet and wondered how people live all the time like that. I’ve been conditioned to be around my high energy kids so much that I used to not even notice and now it’s like they’ve been turned onto super mode or something because I swear they are louder and crazier than ever. And Man, Can they FIGHT!
My kids aren’t the only thing that has me off. If that was it, I bet I could deal. It’s more than that. I have a routine at work and I thrive on structure. I listen to my earphones and what makes me happy while I work. Affirmations, motivational speeches/videos, and favorite playlists. I do things in a certain order when I am at work. I eat lunch around the same time every day at work. Nothing is the same now. I know people will just tell me to make a routine and stick to it at home, listen to what I normally would, yada, yada, yada…but it’s not that easy. That’s easier said than done and I haven’t mastered the “done” part yet.
My days are so crazy to me right now that my house is a wreck. I have no definitive “getting home from work” transition, I guess, and that gives me little to no motivation to do anything once I log off my work computer. Today was Saturday, my cleaning day, and I literally sat around all day saying I was going to get up to clean and not doing so. I managed to get some cleaning done. I found an energy drink that I thought I hadn’t opened, but I had, so I had to drink it before it got gross and that helped me get some things done. I imagine I will get things done tomorrow knowing I won’t probably get much cleaning accomplished throughout next week. If I got into a funk prior to sheltering in place, I would just invite someone over and clean like a maniac before they came to my house! That option is off the table for now.
My point is, this sucks. No matter what your situation is. Maybe you are adjusting fine and dandy and I am happy for you if you are. I really am. If not, that’s okay too.
I started exercising and that has helped tremendously. I also reach out when I feel too overwhelmed, although I will admit I do not tell them everything, exactly how bad I feel, and I don’t reach out every time I should. I’ve decided I might need to do more at night. I am naturally a night owl anyways and this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of that and do what I want when I want. I have to log onto work at 9:00 am, but no one said I have to be dressed in real clothes!
I have seen many posts from fellow parents and non-parents about how they are dealing with this sheltering in place situation. I am genuinely worried that people are not dealing with their feelings and emotions and are relying too heavily on substances, but I can’t fix the world, so I won’t try to right now. I can only control myself and I will continue to do that. I will ask everyone to Please Feel the Feelings and Process Them. Processing emotions is easier than you think it is if you are an avoider like I used to be. They literally flow through you. They do not last forever. You just have to let them flow instead of avoiding them. Do whatever you want with your own time, but if you mask your feelings with a substance, the negative feelings don’t go away and they often become worse.
If you are struggling – You are not alone.
If you are living your best quarantine life – More power to you! Live it up!
Remember: Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with other people’s Highlight Reels.
We’re all in the Together, Apart.
MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
~Love & Light, Sarah