I’ve given my three year old my laptop to reply to your incoming emails right now. My one-year old might also be chiming in. I’m having a hard time keeping them away from the keyboard. Don’t worry, I’ve invented a magical device that can also translate their thoughts and actions into words. As of Sunday, they are now responsible for my inbox. You can consider them my new personal assistant.
How do you push the reset button—that ability to feel like you’ve had a fresh cup of coffee, a good night of sleep, and you’re ready to go at work? While we’re all clawing at sanity and sobbing quietly into our fourteenth cup of coffee, it’s really hard to find the capacity to work and keep your head above water right now. Today’s episode is for anyone trying to find a semblance of sanity amidst all of this. If you’re stuck, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you’re in a rut—here are a few things that are working for me.
I’m Really Sorry I Keep Texting You To Check And See If My Advice Was Useful—I Have No Ability To Self Regulate Because We’re In The Middle Of A Pandemic
I have 83 unread messages on my phone, and my family keeps checking in. I want to write back, but my toddler is mashing cheerios in the couch, and the last time I went pee, he took the gel crayons and drew all over the new carpets. I put stain remover on them and texted my husband, “I shouted them!” The message was not clear. “Who did you shout at?” he replied. The pandemic is not going well.
My first child was born on Mothers’ Day, 2016, the day before our anniversary. It blew me open, ripped my birth canal vagina more than I would have liked, and turned so much of my life upside down. So many of you are about to become mothers for the first, second, third time. You’re doing it in the middle of a pandemic, in the midst of changing rules and ideas, amidst a sea of changing information. Motherhood, in many ways, feels like a pandemic. The strange thing about the last four months is this eerie sense I have that this already feels familiar. I’ve been here before. We’ve been here before.
Begin writing a post that says “Working parents are not okay.”‘ Delete sentences because no one is okay. There isn’t really a comparison game to be played here. Call your friend and realize that you’re having trouble stringing words together. Hang up the telephone because both of your children and pushing buttons on the phone and you can’t actually have a real conversation while children and buttons are in close proximity. What was it that they said? “Opening my computer is like a pavlovian response for my child.” Yeah, that.
For many of you, there isn’t anything we can control, push, or organize to change the world around us. It’s maddening, but it also has an upside: we can release the pent-up energy of wanting things to change and trust that things will change, eventually, at some point. Sometimes, releasing the pressure of having to do something can release us to find tiny moments of joy—or at least contentment—inside of the space we’re in.