It’s a cloudy day in central Indiana and it’s making us all want to be lazy and nap. While there is a to-do list (there’s always a to-do list), I’m perfectly alright with us taking some rest and relaxation time. We may get to some garden chores yet this afternoon, or we may not. The amount of progress we’ve made in the last two weekends is amazing and I find myself walking outside often to just smile at everything.
We’re heading towards the end of April already, and that means it’ll be May soon–my birthday, Mother’s Day, and annual garden-planting day are right around the corner. Even though it looks as if the stay-at-home order may be lifted in time for my birthday (for the time being; though I think late May would be safer given current models), I’m still planning on celebrating it at home. I ordered myself a new ice cream maker (a nicer model than my old one) and plan to indulge myself while also planting flowers, herbs, and vegetables. It’ll be glorious.
This also means that we’re almost to the end of the academic year for my university, which means I’ll have two weeks “off” in between Spring Semester and Summer Session 1. “Off” is in quotations because this really means I will get caught-up on work from Spring just in time for it to start all over again. Such is life. 🙂 My university will be online all summer, as will most public universities, which induces a weird, anxious emotional mixture for me. There’s reasons I really treasure this time. Then there’s reasons I really dislike this time. I don’t think I’m alone in this, but I have been feeling it pretty intensely this week, and so indulge me a little as I try to reflect on that here.
Being at home more is honestly a dream come true. I had missed my very hands-on approach to household management. I had missed doing all of the homestead things I used to do. I had missed being so involved in my children’s lives. However, being at home more is increasingly making my job harder. Perhaps “harder” isn’t the right word. Fatiguing. It’s so darn fatiguing.
I have tried to draw boundaries around certain times of day where I am “at work,” but those lines get blurred the longer this continues, which makes me feel guilty, disconnected, ineffectual, and scared for the future of my position. Don’t get me wrong–I know how unbelievably lucky am I to have retained my position through all of this and be able to work 100% remotely–but it would be my hope that I could express some of the pitfalls of this time without it seeming as though I’m just complaining and am ungrateful, or worse, tone-deaf to my privilege. Me finding any enjoyment in this time at all is a monument to my privilege in all of this, and I know that. Seeing my privilege, I am still a person; and we as people have diverse and complicated feelings about all sorts of things regardless of our individual contexts and situations.
I think guiding my children through e-learning while also trying to do my job is the most fatiguing part of all of this, especially if I happen to be in Zoom trying to be present and engaged in a meeting when a child comes around the corner to ask for assistance with a math problem. Brian is at the shop 9-5pm each day, having decided it’s isolated (he only ever encounters one other person there) and that he could continue doing his design and fabrication work safely through the stay-at-home order. This is great news for our bank account and for his fledgling business, and it also means we get to leave seeds safely under the grow light while we continue to work on our greenhouse.
But, it also means that this *gestures around generally to my home* is all pretty much left to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a champ at this. I was the stay-at-home-parent for 8 years, which is why it was fairly easy for me to slide back into that life: design a schedule, manage expectations, keep kids healthy, happy, and safe. But I never was a stay-at-home-parent while also holding a leadership position of a unit that employs and teaches 35 students, some of whom may need emotional support or referral to important resources right now just as much as they need questions about sessions, schedules, projects, and payroll answered.
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way, so I try to not let it worry me. But, hey, I’m a person, and am not at all perfect–sometimes I worry. This week has been one of those weeks where it all feels a little more present, a little closer to the surface than in other weeks. I don’t think the awful freezing and snowy/sleety/rainy weather helped. I pretty much just wanted to hole-up and hide under a blanket in a quiet, warm room by myself, which I did for one whole day. It felt nice. 🙂
Yesterday the sun shone brightly. It was absolutely beautiful, and I spent almost all day outside. And now I’m on the high of seeing so much progress in the garden, the weather is turning back to spring again, and so I feel hopeful and excited about the coming week. Here’s to allowing yourself to be where you’re at emotionally, finding coping and self-care methods, and to the beginnings of new weeks.
Here’s what’s on the menu:
Weekly Meal Plan
Monday: fake-out take-out: sweet and sour chicken with vegetarian egg rolls
Tuesday: refried bean burritos
Wednesday: baked potato and salad bar
Thursday: cheeseburger pasta
Friday: fake-out take-out: pizza night
Sunday: lemon-honey grilled chicken with herb and butter pasta