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.