Well, we are on week 12 of the shutdown, and I am not okay.
Sometimes I’m kind of okay, but I’d say at least half the time I am losing my mind. This morning I tried to join a meeting even though my husband was also in a meeting at the same time. Since he gets to work during the morning, that meant I was on child care duty; i.e. I could attempt to join a meeting at my own risk (of being interrupted). I actually only had to leave the meeting twice to deal with them, which wasn’t that bad. But I was interrupted several more times throughout the day, and right now as I write this, I have given up focusing on work. It’s too noisy for me to work. My husband is lecturing the children (very loudly) because they were just fighting over which TV show to watch. Yes, that’s right, even TV(!!!), the world’s greatest babysitter of all time, does not ensure that I will have quiet.
I know some people are really, really great at multitasking. But I’m just not. By the 10th time I am interrupted in a given day, I am ready to lose my sh**, and I completely can’t focus on work anymore. I guess this was an okay trait to have during “normal” times, but it’s a real freaking liability now, let me tell you.
Here are a few thoughts going through my head as I sit here, unable to work.
1) Why did I even try to attend a morning meeting, knowing that I was going to be interrupted?
Well, as much as everyone likes to pay lip service to the idea that “these times are unprecedented” and “we should be kind to ourselves,” the reality is that most people at my work either don’t have children, or have figured out some other arrangement to deal with the school shutdown (usually grandparents watching the children all day). So work projects are continuing to move along, and if I don’t start showing up to more meetings, I will just be left behind. It’s not anyone trying to be mean, it’s just the reality of things. And if I thought the summer camps would be open and I only had a couple more weeks of this, that would be one thing. But no one has any idea how long this will last!
2) Why am I not able to ‘tune out’ my kids while I work?
I don’t know. Maybe my kids are louder than most kids. Maybe I am a failure at adapting to this situation. Maybe a bit of both?
3) Why don’t I work at night after my kids go to sleep?
I do occasionally, but not very often. I have a hard time getting to sleep right after working, and then it’s just Murphy’s Law that Peanut will come into our bed at 2:30am if I got to bed late, which ends up making me a wreck the next day, and erasing any gain I got from working late.
4) Why do my kids want to snack every 45 minutes?
Again, I don’t know. I should have worked harder on teaching them to prepare their own food. I am belatedly doing this now, but I am not seeing the payoff yet. I’ll get there.
5) Do I even still care about my career?
I don’t know.
P.S. I just had several minutes of quiet, but out of nowhere (while WATCHING TV, which has CLEARLY CEASED TO WORK AS A PACIFIER) Peanut starting crying and said, “Why does everybody always have to be working?”
Hi Econ-Mom. I wish I had some words of great comfort and wisdom. If at all possible, maybe use a day of PTO to just give the kiddos a little extra TLC. When I sense my kids are in meltdown mode, it is often not even over what they are claiming to be upset about. They may be picking up on your and DH’s stress (and perhaps the stress of the Collective Conscious.)
I hope saying that doesn’t stress you out. I think I had a daycare teacher say that to me when SC2 was around four. And I think at the time I wanted to punch her lights out. (Which, you know, maybe was an indicator that I was a stress case?)
I know taking time off of work can be easier said than done, but I did it one day during this lockdown, and it was a real morale booster for everyone, myself included.
The world is on edge right now. Our nation is seriously on edge right now. And I think this collective rage, stress, angst – call it whatever you will – can easily spill into our own homes. Maintaining calm composure under all circumstances is definitely not a virtue I’ve succeeded in cultivating in myself. But as the world literally burns around us (“We Didn’t Start The Fire” has been stuck in my head a lot lately) I am making a concerted effort to keep things at home as happy and as “normal” as possible. My heart absolutely breaks over the racism and injustice our nation is righteously protesting against. But I’m striving to “let love win” around here.
Not sure if any of this is helpful….I sometimes really dislike it when people try to suggest solutions to my problems. (“As if I didn’t think of that! Harrumph!”) Sometimes I just want empathy. In which case: I’m sorry. Hugs from afar.