I thought this would be easy for me. Staying home is an introvert's dream! But even I am finding the need for air, for space. I've cooked more than I've wanted, lost my patience more times than I intended and have settled in my anxious thoughts longer than I should have. But I remind myself everyday there's a ton of people risking their lives. We've got the easiest job in this new normal - staying home.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this pause is already having an impact on my mental health. Work has come to a halt for me with stores closed until an indeterminate date in April (we hope). This significant part of my identity has taken a back seat and my full time job has transitioned to full time Mom. It has made me more conscious of the responsibility that we have to remain positive, even if it's helped along with copious amounts of wine. I try to remind myself we'll never get an uninterrupted, extended period of time like this back with the kids. I am grateful.
A little over a week in, the daily schedule I thought we'd adhere to has already been thrown out the window. Coinciding with the onset of the quarantine, Miles began asking to sleep with the lights on. We've said goodbye to the midnight wakings where he’d normally fall back asleep on his own. Now, both kids are waking in the middle of the night! Hitting us with another blow, late last week he learned to climb out of his crib. This gave way to the transition to a new bed and it's been a nightmare to get him down for a nap or bedtime. In any other situation, the control freak in me would find this difficult to cope with. But there's never been a better time to go with the flow.
Miles' vocabulary is growing by the day. Just last night, as I was attempting to sneak out of his room, he whispered, “Don’t go yet, Mommy.” This past week has opened my eyes to how many everyday moments, on a normal week, we miss. I'm treasuring them while I can.
There are three solid highlights this week has gifted me. First, watching the bond between Tessa and Miles grow. They have more than doubled the number of hours they usually spend together in a day and it shows. In spite of still fighting, still not sharing, still not being conscious of the other's personal space, they are becoming best friends. Their giggling is a track running on repeat that I can't get out of my head along with their screams:
"Come on, Miles!"
"Come play my room, Tessie!"
The second highlight is my relationship with Tess. Even though it's been over two years, time hasn't eased the difficult balance of adding a second child to the mix, going back to work full time and still trying to be everything to your first born. The fact is, you aren't. You physically can't. Naturally, Tess has leaned into her Dad. While I love the bond this has created between the two of them, it has also been a source of heartache for me. But this week, pieces of that relationship have been given back to me.
And, lastly, I'm grateful for deepening bonds. Group chats pinging all throughout the day remind me that we are all in this together. Play dates have been replaced with virtual hangouts and I've connected with people I don't normally chat with a weekly basis. Despite the physical distance between family and friends and the lack of human contact, there seems to be no shortage of human connection. These have been my rays of sunshine in this gloomy existence and I hope you guys are also finding yours.
Stay well, safe and INSIDE!