These last two days have been hard, really hard. The kids went back to school and I’m really struggling. For the past 11 months, I have been living the professionally ambitious motherhood life I’ve always dreamed of and it all came to a screeching halt on Monday morning when Hamilton County, Tennessee reopened the public schools.
I spent the better part of the morning…actually working.
I know it stinks, but it might be the new norm and I am trying to find a way to get used to it. After a leisurely cup of coffee, I had emails answered early, 10 important tasks done by lunch, and was forced to work on some of my remote volunteer work and college classes. I just had too much time. I may have even taken a long shower and put on clean clothes…I really can’t remember, Monday was mostly a blur.
If you’re a fellow mom and work from home or spend the better part of your day at home, you probably understand where I’m coming from. I’m truly going to miss the everyday obstacles of a mostly quarantined life spent in my aging 1500 square foot home atop a small Tennessee mountain. My four-year-old boy is having the darndest time finding the opening in the toilet seat (it’s really quite nice when he leaves the puddles on the floor) and my kindergartener has needed near-constant supervision while she completes Zoom classes and stacks of worksheets, and plays out her YouTube blogging dreams with 10 hours of GoPro footage a day. All this while I hop on multiple work Zoom calls between my day job and side business. My clients can attest, I’ve tried my hardest to appear like my life is completely falling apart and I’ve let the camera capture exactly how much I’ve been eating my feelings lately.
Like I said, as of Monday those days are over. Sure, something like it might pop up from time to time on a rainy weekend day. When it does, I’ll try my best to recreate the days of pandemic living so we can build more memories. Solid memories of screaming matches, coal-in-your-stocking threats, and sibling conflicts that would serve a live-action Mortal Kombat well. I really want my kids to reflect on this time and remember how unhinged their mother was and how unstructured the days got. I can’t wait to chat about it over coffee when they are 30.
For the last two days, the house has been unbelievably quiet, the dishes aren’t stacking up by the minute and there are still Uncrustables left in the freezer. I just bought 40 and I can’t stand seeing 25 left after two days. It’s kind of ridiculous and saves me an absurd amount of money. Do you have any idea how much a box of those costs? I need them to come home and eat them all and then still ask for dinner.
I think the new norm for me will become a series of completed work tasks, professional development, less burnout, time with my spouse, and educated kids. I’ll have time to meet friends for lunch, walk around downtown and, if I am absolutely forced to kill some time, hit the downtown Gold’s Gym and walk a few miles while people watching and listening to my favorite podcast.
I just don’t know how I will ever adjust.
In all honesty, we are very fortunate to have had this time with our kiddos and remain healthy and employed. The pandemic forced many working mothers from their job as the dynamics of homes across the world shifted and the structure of our society was tested. It is a bittersweet feeling to see the kids off to school this week. I hope for their health and well-being as well as the health and safety of the teachers, staff, and medical workers.