Cancel your plans, because you're staying in.
Prior to the pandemic, if I had heard those words I would have been elated. It would have meant an evening free from baking for a sale at my child’s school or attending a child’s birthday party or skipping my daughter’s swim lessons. Those seven words meant I could curl up on the couch and binge watch episodes of True Crime.
If the pandemic has taught me anything (other than the importance of reminding my daughters to wash their hands), it’s that I need more balance and a whole lot more time for myself.
My husband is a paramedic firefighter so he is away from home for a week at a time. As I manage my full-time job and my parenting responsibilities, I struggle. I believe it is important for my daughters to know I have a career. And yet, there are days I feel like I can’t do anything right. The afternoons that I shut my computer down and exit my home office to find toys, toilet paper and Tupperware containers strewn across every floor in every room of the house, I can’t stop the tears.
It’s hard to feel like I’m doing a good job when the laundry baskets remain full and the beds remain unmade. My girls seem to bicker endlessly. Lately, it’s been about the color of their dinner utensils or which half of the banana is better. Most days I’m grateful if I can change out of my PJ’s by noon (I’m a self-proclaimed master of the Zoom tuxedo).
In the midst of chaos, two things are top of mind: I’m a parent of two small children and I cannot afford to lose my job. The pressure of both responsibilities is crushing. My antidote is to remind myself daily that I am doing the best I possibly can with my given circumstances. I can’t ask more than that of myself—or anyone else. Above all, I remember this: What my children will recall from their childhood is not the mounds of laundry or the messy beds, it’s my love, attention and honesty.