In part three of Confessions of a Mom During COVID-19, Mary finds a new perspective when it comes to balancing being a mom and taking time for self.
For days, I tried in vain to carve out time during the day to do me. When that didn’t work, I decided to push my work and my “me time” to the end of the day. That didn’t work either because at the end of the day I was dead meat. I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t rhyme to save my life. To be honest, I can be quite contrary, and I tend to sulk when I’m unable to get to my work. I’m an artist and my work cannot be forced. Nor bottled up. Nothing bothers me more than being so overwhelmed with day to day life that my self-care and my work aren’t attainable. This also makes me dramatic… (I’m only admitting that here for you moms!)
Back to the drawing board. I had to start over. So, I decided that I would revise my to-do lists to only include activities and tasks that I could actually achieve while being stuck in the house. Everything else, I put on a different list- a to-do-post-pandemic-list and buried it deep in the back of my agenda. Important tasks they were, but I will not read over those same tasks every single day and stress about how much longer it’s going to be before I get back to my list.
I decided to push my work and my “me time” to the end of the day. That didn’t work either because at the end of the day I was dead meat.mary, mom/author & writer
As far as my work, it went on a separate to-do list. One that I didn’t bury. One that I can pull out when I have more downtime, and more energy, to give to it. It also doesn’t deserve the worst version of me. I decided I will keep a very detailed list of my thoughts and creative ideas, not to lose anything. And when I can, I will get right back to it. But I will not cheat it out of my authentic self by forcing myself to create under these conditions. These are unprecedented times. Be easy on yourself.
For me, I had to develop a new angle. A new perspective. I wanted to focus on what was truly important – which is all of everything I have written about above. All of it is important to me. Except for right now, life is requiring a version of me that is more present than ever. More open and flexible than ever. Not overwhelmed. Not exhausted. Not resentful.
Back to basics: I know that when I get overwhelmed, I have to go back to the basics. My self-care will be thorough and not postponed. I will bathe, I will brush my hair, wear clean clothing, put makeup on when I want to – even if it’s just to sit around the house in. I will pray. I will meditate. I will eat properly and not self-sabotage. I will not talk negatively to myself for not being able to conquer the world. I will strive to stay rested so that I can be the best version of myself that family needs me to be right now. The person I need me to be.
One more thing: I have a passion for a neat and tidy home. If you ask my friends and family, they will tell you that my home looks rather “unlived in” most of the time. I’m not bragging, I nearly kill myself trying to get it all wrapped up in a bow each night before I go to bed. I like it that way. I won’t kid you though, all of that has also been put on the back burner. My house is functioning, it is sanitary, but the upstairs looks like we have been robbed most of the time. That is also acceptable.
I will not let this pandemic turn me into someone who feels unsuccessful. Overwhelmed. Scared of the future. I want to come out of this having loved myself and my family during this time, better than I ever have. They deserve it. I deserve it. It has actually been an opportunity for us to heal and I’m here for all of that! Because if this were to be the end, that’s all that matters anyway: our loved ones. One day, when each of our times come and we’re looking toward the light, we won’t think about any of the countries we didn’t get to visit or vacations we missed, or how messy our houses were, or any of the superficial things we seem to put in front of what really matters sometimes. In the end, we’ll see the faces of our loved ones and I hope we take every opportunity we afforded to put as much love and energy into them while we were here on this planet. If I do nothing else, I will feel successful. My life is full. My life is complete. I have everything I need. I am safe. I have to rest on that.