Well, it’s been 2 months or 8 weeks or 59 days of quarantine! Doesn’t really matter how you look at it, it’s been a very long time to be stuck in 1 place 24/7. I know for myself it has been very difficult and I have had some ups, downs and very low lows. This past September was going to finally be my year because both my girls would be in school giving me time to myself to explore me.
Staying at home for the last 6 years has been an amazing experience but it also robbed me of myself. I put everyone ahead of myself which led to poor priorities, loss of self and fulfilment. Don’t get me wrong I love being at home with my family and not having to miss a single second of their beginnings in life but it was at my expense. I did not set any boundaries for myself, my kids or my husband which turned into continual burnout. I fell into the woman trap, where we are valued for our selflessness and nurturing. How much can we honestly give before we start to rob ourselves of who we are and what we want?
I made a promise to myself last January (2019) that I would focus on myself and what I wanted out of life. I am a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula but wasn’t able to work as much as I wanted because my youngest was still at home. Then finally September came, a time I previously thought I wouldn’t recover from because I would have no one beside me all day. Turns out after the first month I began to feel better and for the first time in 6 years, I felt FREE. I could work as much as I wanted to, I could get really fit, I could sleep all day, I could dance around the house without a bra, and I could do whatever I wanted. The freedom was palatable like being released from a cage but overwhelming as well. I could hear this voice inside telling me I should use this time to be productive to continue to contribute to our family.
I ended up taking on more clients then I should have and by December my schedule was completely full. I had filled it up so much again, had no time to myself to even breathe. I was on nightshifts and dayshifts which left me fulfilled but exhausted. By mid-February, my husband was beginning to questioning how much more nightshift I could sustain without crashing and how much more he and the girls could handle me not being home several days a week. Remember they have all been accustomed to me being there for them 24/7 and it was starting to show on all of them. So as you can imagine the Mom guilt was at an all-time high for my family but I loved the work I was doing and didn’t want to stop. I had gained back my independence, acclimations, socializing, relationships and a better sense of who I am. I didn’t know how I was going to continue to work and be available to my family moving forward, little did I know the decision would be made for me.
March changed everything and forced me to make decisions I never thought I would have to make. With COVID-19 now sweeping across the world it was becoming more and more unnerving and scary to work. I had already decided to take March break off to enjoy the holiday with my family but before we could even start the week we were informed the school would be closed till April. There still wasn’t a mandate for people to stop working yet, but as the month wore on it was becoming scarier to be out in public and to continue to work. My clients are all vulnerable, infants and postpartum Mums the risks to them, myself and my family were increasing. Fortunately, my amazing clients and team understood that it would be safest for all to stop working. We all decided to stop and stay at home with our families. I cannot express how difficult it was (I still struggle with it) to be a support worker with people needing you and having to step back for safety reasons. Dame you COVID-19!!!!
April seemed like the month that would never end….and it was usually the best because it’s my besties and my birthday month. We always get together a few times to just celebrate each other, catch up and get a little wild! A tradition we have always maintained over the years. Instead, I was home with my family loving the time together but heartbroken because of all I lost, myself again.
This time with my family has been priceless but challenging. You can feel this huge shift in the world as it is changing right before our eyes. The anxiety some days can swallow me whole, worrying about the virus, the impact on the girls, homeschooling, sustaining employment, keeping my sanity and so many other things that creep into your mind. There are days that feel like we’re on vacation but then reality smacks you in the face, no friends, no family, no contact the lack of socializing is driving all of us crazy. You can only interact on a screen for so long before you need to have physical contact. Those are the days I don’t get out of my pyjamas I go from the bed to the couch to my bed consuming terrible food and screens. All motivation and feeling go out the window with a big case of FUCK IT ALL.
Then I get some sleep and try to start the next day better focusing on what I want to be when we are out of this lockdown. What was not serving me? What was serving me? What do I want to feel like? Who were the toxic people or things in my life holding me back? I try to focus on these questions instead of going down the rabbit hole. It’s a work in progress that takes time, good thing we have lots of it! Stay untamed ladies!