A Stay-At-Home Order for A Stay-At-Home Mom
Loneliness. Jealousy. Anger. Decision fatigue. Frustration. Sadness.
These were lingering in the forefront of my mind as we continue the lockdown measures in Ontario. This pandemic has seemingly turned political.. and I want to stay clear of that. I don't envy our government nor the position they are in and the decisions they need to make. I just want to unpack the mix of feelings I've recognized in hopes to connect with others who may also be experiencing these feelings.
I am an extrovert through and through. I gain energy, thrive and feel the most creative from being in the company of others. I need very little down time to collect myself, often think and process out loud, and genuinely enjoy the hustle-bustle busyness of life. Learning how to feel like myself in an introverted atmosphere (I 100% recognize isolation/lockdown is difficult for the introverted, extroverted and everyone in between.. I'm just generalizing) whilst being postpartum has been very difficult. I've missed the comradery (that's a word right?) established at work, the benefits from maintaining close friendships, the impact of families and the privilege of being a part of their stories, sharing my pride and joy with my favourite people in the world...I've missed it all. It feels like a cruel thing to have Beau and not share him with my family in the way we all expected to be able to. I purposely steer my mind away from the rabbit hole of what ifs, could bes, and what should have beens. Those slippery slopes are made of jealousy, resentment and anger. Sometimes I find myself, on gloomy days, walking the edge wishing I could just dive deep into the dark hole and live my life miserable and annoyed. Just sit in my grumpiness and stink up our home with tension, frustrations and envy. Sometimes I do it.. and often regret it. Then spend the rest of the day trying to climb out of the rut. The thing about the whole "self-pity" thing is you and your dark cloud rain on everyone's parade. I think theres a big difference between confronting, acknowledging and working through tough feelings, and throwing a full on pity-party for yourself.. the kind with no time limit or end in sight.
I read something about fairness recently that really stuck:
"Fair doesn't mean everyone gets the same thing. Fair means everyone gets what they need." I love that. And for the most part, I agree with it. But let me get dramatic for a hot second.
What if I can't get what I need? What if what I need... at this point.. isn't even legal?
What if what I need is human, face-to-face, real-deal connection? Social events, unlimited close family time, sleepovers and hugs, play dates and trips to the zoo. Being a people person certainly has it's perks, but what an incredible learning curve it has been for me to learn solitude. And to thrive in it. I don't just want to survive solitude, I want to grow from it. Be better from it. Thrive, flourish and embrace it.
This past weekend I really noticed the anger I've had slowly building up. The frustration of having my family far away while my husbands family is a skip and a hop away was something that -I guess- has been brewing quietly. I'm trying hard not to project my anger at Brandon... it's not his fault his family lives a few blocks away, and it's not his fault my family doesn't. Even a walk by their house for a quick hello is something I can't do with my family. PSA: Now, my in-laws are amazing. They are kind and generous, they are loving and welcoming and I am grateful for the relationship we have and am grateful for ANY family close-by in a time like this. AND.. AND, AND, AND.. I miss my mom (I can feel both). I miss my family, my parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins. As a first time momma.. I need my momma. And this weekend I really understood the anger and jealousy weighing me down. Jealous that others (for whatever reason: work together, house together, choices/circumstances etc) get to see their parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins, and best friends on a regular basis.
My goodness it's been hard. I've really been leaning on the shoulder of God as I learn to navigate this lockdown. As I'm sure you all have experienced at some point during this pandemic, the overwhelming sense of sadness. I fully recognize that in a time where people are losing their lives, homes and jobs, I have a healthy, beautiful son and husband, a roof over our head and a steady income. I don't ever want to appear ungrateful or oblivious to the heavy losses people are experiencing. We are all struggling in different ways, and I simply wanted to share where my mind has been lately.
So let's take a moment and recognize that feeling. Give the reins to your heart for a moment and allow yourself the opportunity to grieve all that this last year and a half has brought. The loss of loved ones, independence, housing, employment, support, income, opportunities, health, experiences, respite, vacations, and so many more. Wherever you are, whoever you are, I'm so incredible sorry for the struggle this time has brought you.
As important as it is to recognize the struggle, it's equally important to shine light on the growth and triumphs that can be found. As a result, I have learned to validate myself and seek simple opinions over validation from others. I've identified things that heavily impact my mindset and mood without the distraction of social events, workplace drama or family shenanigans. I've understood to eat intuitively and learn my boundaries within exercise. I've (unintentionally HAHA) established the absolute minimum quantity and quality of sleep my mind needs... not just my body. I've leaned in to the uncomfortable, the quiet, the empty and have learned to appreciate the stillness it creates. I've had the incredible privilege to be truly present with my son. Appreciated the friendships that have lasted through this time and had a glimpse in what "long-distance" relationships can look like HAHA... even if "long-distance" for my girlfriends and I is really only 30 mins... I swear that's what it feels like when you have to maintain friendships without seeing each other! I've been able to reconnect with friends and make new ones in a community of momhood.
This blog may feel messy.. unorganized or scattered... but to be honest the feelings around lockdown for me is just that. It feels like the new norm, and so I've found comfort and predictability in these "normal" ways, while also holding on to the sadness and frustrations it brings. It's been difficult letting go of expectations, moving forward without bitterness, not projecting my jealousy onto others. It's tough, and every day I'm working on a new perspective, a fresh pair of grateful eyes, a heart focused on the important things, and a mind far from comparison. So... if you've found yourself in a rut too, or feel heavy with grief some day, I encourage you to lift your face up and take on giant breath of fresh air. The hard days come and go as quickly as the great ones. Focusing on what we can control, how we can adjust and where we can wiggle in more joy will leave you feeling fuller, brighter and happier. Let's move forward together.
All my love,