Truth time. I have cried about not being able to get out to the coffee shop. Seriously. I then felt guilty for even feeling sad over something so entirely privileged and as some would say unnecessary. BUT when you now find that you are a not only a Working, Side Hustling Boss and Home Maker with a new side of Home Schooler, Snack Provider, Fight Referee and all the other hats that now seem to be piled on our heads, a trip to the coffee shop is incredibly important.
I spent the first two weeks helping my family cope and adjust to the new normal. I helped my day job boss sort wages, make sense of new legislation and prepare for every scenario whilst also being there for my self-employed husband come to terms with no income coming in for a while. I set myself as the stable, anchor for all the people in my life. Rightly or wrongly I felt like that is the place I needed to be in. Thank goodness for a gracious God who filled me with peace enough to do all the things in those first weeks.
This last weekend, however, I broke. Whilst everyone else had settled into their new normal, I wobbled and faltered. I cried over not being able to meet a friend at a coffee shop. This indulgent and privileged act is something that is part of my routine and supports my mental health. It is a pause in the hustle and bustle of doing all the things. We all need something that helps us press pause and recharge. For me that is a massive frothy soya mocha and uninterrupted time with a good friend. This is my ‘me’ time, and I miss it massively.
So, whilst others are flourishing in their new normal, I have still been trying to adjust and I have to say I have not been doing it with the finesse I had started off with!
I think for both Phil and I we have had to reconfigure how we perceived each other’s roles. He is much better at the home school side of things, which he does brilliantly while I have been trying to do all the day job stuff. We have collaborated over housework, meal planning and how we are going to spend our time together going forward. We are both creative beings and had begun to feel stifled, down and unsatisfied. Feelings amplified by browsing posts of others who seem to have nailed the transition seamlessly. I know it is only a snapshot of reality that get’s posted, however in that moment it is disheartening when you yourself feel like you aren’t able to achieve all the things in the same way and at the same speed.
That’s the true curse of comparison though isn’t it? It steals your joy through making your own achievements and accomplishments seem less than in the sight of others. It’s why Phil deleted all his social media apps from his phone for a while and why I have been utilising the do not disturb and airplane mode features on mine. If we cannot see it, we cannot compare ourselves to it and we can protect our sanity for a little while longer.
This week video chats with friends and family have been a life saver. Especially the chats with my girlfriends. I miss seeing their faces and putting the world to rights over a cup of coffee. So we have grabbed a brew and met online to do just that. I have even sent Phil to our room to practice on his guitar every day. I have turned my hand to trying out new recipes, anything to help us both tune into our creative sides.
We have made a list of the jobs we have been putting off for a while, years in some cases, and then setting to actually doing them. Even as I type this post Phil is painting the garage walls, one of the jobs we have said about doing for the last 5 years at least!
Watching Amy Landino today, a post about calendar blocking where she addressed how we should view our time as precious, a gift, something to be protected and used wisely, I was struck by the fact that we have been given the one thing many of us, especially us, have wished for for a long time. We have been guilty of saying things like “wouldn’t it be nice to have the freedom to just have a few weeks together doing things we want to do.” Be careful what you wish for friends! Regardless this time is precious, and now I have the mental capacity to appreciate that I feel like I am turning a corner.
I have auto piloted two weeks, and that is ok. I have had bad days where I literally cried over coffee, and that is ok. I have had days where I felt on top of the world and like a total boss, and that is ok.
There is no rule book on how you get through, cope, survive or thrive these new times we find ourselves in. There is no wrong or right way. For me it is a roller coaster, and I think the secret is to just accept how you are feeling day to day, live it, breathe it, release it if you need to, and get through however you need to. You do you boo is fast becoming my mantra in this scenario, to myself, my husband, my friends and my kids.
Stay safe friend.