Today, I returned to work after being furloughed. Although, with modifications, new precautions and a whole lot of learning and grace. As I look back on the last 10 WEEKS, I find myself feeling a range of emotions from excitement to being able to return to a more structured schedule, to melancholy about not being able to spend all day with my daughter (and also some relief for a “break”) , to disappointment in myself for not doing more during quarantine. How many of you have similar conflicting feelings?
At the start of this craziness, I had very high expectations of all the great things I would be able to accomplish while furloughed from work. This was an entirely new experience for me, and I don’t downplay how grateful and blessed I am that I qualified for unemployment. This was the first time since I was 16 I have not worked (I’m in my 30’s and that’s the most I’ll give ya!). My expectations! I would write, at minimum, two blog posts a week! I would Marie Kondo my entire house! It will be bliss! I will practice prenatal yoga at least 4 times a week! I will potty train my freshly two year old! I will put together all the great Pinterest worthy crafts! I will not eat all the things and pack on the pregnancy pounds!
Reality check. I have a very clingy toddler. I wrote two blog posts. I was able to get through my daughter’s clothes and put into storage her winter items. I did rearrange our bedroom, minimally. I practiced yoga once. My daughter is not potty trained. A lot of painting, nothing Pinterest worthy. I have only gained three pounds this pregnancy. This has been only partially due to self control and a lot to do with morning sickness lasting until I was 18 weeks. Still counting it as a win, even though Door Dash tried to ruin my efforts.
So. What do we do we these feelings of malcontentment? We can wallow in our feelings for a minute. Sometimes we need to do that. OR. We can see that list of to-do’s for what it is. Just another list. Did checking off all or none of those items greatly impact the betterment of your family? Most likely not.
Here’s what I DID do this quarantine. I made wonderful memories with my daughter. We celebrated her turning two. We watched caterpillars transform into butterflies. We soaked up vitamin D any day it wasn’t raining (or snowing, Ohio life). She helped me plant our garden and now she gets to watch our plants grow and flourish. I was able to be there everyday and engage with her and watch her language just absolutely blow up!
Had I been too hyper-focused on organizing every last inch of my house or insisting I get a set number of words written each week, I would have missed so many wonderful, little moments. I would have missed seeing my daughter learn to count, make up her own songs, splash with glee in rain puddles, snuggling her during naps and so, so many more beautiful, simple moments.
Do I wish I could have checked more off my quarantine to do list. Well, yes. I’m very type A. There will always be lists though. My daughter will not always be at this wonderfully fun and curious age. So, I am letting go of what my expectations were and relishing in the time I had to devote so much attention to her. Today, I went back to work. We both cried when I dropped her off. Time to get used to another new transition.
I pray that all of you are in a good place. These past few months have been trying on all, for a multitude of different reasons. We have been put in situations we were not expecting or prepared for. So whether you checked off all your boxes or whether you just survived, be proud of yourself. We all deserve grace.
9 thoughts on “Lessons from Quarantine”
This is something so many of us are feeling. Although you didn’t get much checked off on your list having those lasting memories with your daughter, especially before a new baby joins the family, is worth more than anything!
That’s what I keep telling myself! I know baby brother will be here before I can even believe it! Soaking up life as a mommy to one on the outside as much as possible.
I love your writing style. I also have a two-year-old and I am most grateful for being able to spend so much time at home with him, and my husband, he’s been on furlough too. I did not tick many of the boxes either, but I am happy life taught me there more important invisible boxes that have been ticked without me realising it.
I love your writing style, I can relate to soo much you’ve written. I am also grateful to have spent this time with my two-year-old, I can’t imagine anything better in the world. I didn’t tick most of the boxes either, but I am happy life taught me there are other invisible boxes that have been ticked without me realising.
Yes, I love the “invisible boxes” idea! what a great perspective to reflect back on.
I love this, especially the part of missing the special moments if you had solely focused on your to do list. Sometimes those things can wait to make way for what really matters!
Thanks for sharing. Your experience reminded me of the expectations we have about maternity leave. So much free time to do things! Lol. Clingy toddlers definitely throw a wrench in all the planning.
I’m back at work too, but my husband is still laid off temporarily. So we are in a bit of limbo. Much like you, I had a huge list. I tackled some of it but it’s still long. Life gets in the way of best laid plans! Even during a pandemic!
I’m in this boat! So many things I wanted to do, but instead haven’t. It’s okay! Taking the time I have and trying to make it fuller. Full of love and quality time with my babies.