I think my low point during this season might have been storming out the front door when all three kids were crying in the kitchen. A geometry lesson, dried-up play dough, and a ‘No video games’ mandate had forced everyone over the edge. Including me. But, let me back up.
The first two weeks of the stay-at-home-order in Minnesota were okay. I set up a schedule! I created a lunch menu! I had energy to enforce e-learning! I exercised!
And then that adrenaline wore off. I was furloughed from my cushy writing contract. My husband was home. We were all home. ALL. THE. TIME. I started eating late at night. Just a little at first. A few chocolate chips and a handful of granola. Then nachos. Then ice cream. Then pizza. And when I pulled on my jeans that had fit just a few weeks prior…well, it was a tight squeeze. And yet, I still couldn’t pull myself out of this funk.
I got an email about a potential writing gig. It was a temporary contract. Seven months. But, it was something! I felt a flutter in my chest. An excitement. A sense of purpose. An overall goodness. I applied for the position. I had an interview. And then, crickets.
I didn't even care if I got the contract job or not. I realized something through that experience. I need to show up for myself. I need to make myself a priority. Even during — wait, ESPECIALLY DURING -- this time. Yes, I’m a mom to three amazing kids and wife to an awesome husband. But, I’m more than that! I am a writer, a creative thinker, a small business owner, an entrepreneur. And I need to nurture that. Especially during a time such as this.
Shortly after that first fluttering, I got another email. The coworking space I loved was reopening — with restrictions. I showed up the next week, sanitizer and mask in hand, ready to work. Ready to show up for myself.
Once I had this realization, a schedule of sorts came together. One day for a state park. One day for an outdoor picnic at my parents’ house. One day at home, biking and scooting. My time at home began to feel more purposeful and meaningful. Instead of pouring every single drop of myself into educating my kids and making sure they were okay during this time, which left me completely empty, I started showing up, ready to play. Ready to have fun. Ready to be present.
I took a cue from my husband, an elementary school principal. Yes, the physical building was closed. But that didn’t stop him from showing up, every day (literally!! He filmed himself doing a morning meeting EVERY SINGLE morning!) for his students and families. I did the complete opposite! I slept in, staggering out of bed at nine a.m. — or later — staying in my jammies for way too long. And I forgot about showing up for myself. For my work. By giving up everything in order to be there for my kids’ every need, I stopped showing up for myself. And, as a result, I wasn’t showing up for anyone.
My husband pivoted. He slept on the frickin’ roof of the school! He got up early to film personal videos in our dark basement. He set up parades to wave to and encourage kids and families.
This time has caused me to revisit what motherhood is and what it isn’t. It’s not pouring every drop into my kids. It’s not giving up everything that makes me who I am so my kids feel secure and cared for. It IS making time for myself. It IS nurturing who I am. It IS taking care of myself. It IS pivoting and being creative and thinking outside the box.
So…what about you? How have you pivoted during this time? What are you learning? Tell me!