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Making It Work

My brain is trying to find an analogous lived experience that is similar to what we are living through now. I’m not sure anything quite fits.

The only thing that feels slightly similar is how I felt emotionally when Holden was a newborn. Things felt tenuous. We made plans hour by hour, not even really day by day. There was no delineation between the weekdays and the weekends. There was seemingly no end in sight. All of that is similar to how our days feel now.

When Holden was a newborn, I remember hearing the unhelpful statistic that newborns sleep 16 hours a day. And I think if you had NEVER had newborn, that doesn’t sound very hard. All you have to do is take care of something for 8 hours a day when it’s not sleeping, right? Why is that so exhausting?

I’m reminded of that when I ask myself why it is so hard to just get through the work day, these days. Yes, we are both partially working from home, during a crazy pandemic, with 3.5 year old, and limited childcare. But I mean, all you have to do is find 8ish hours a day to get work done. WHY IS THIS SO EXHAUSTING?

And yet, here we are. (The silver lining here that I do not let go unacknowledged, is that everyone in my household is getting an unbroken amount of overnight sleep. So in that sense, physically and emotionally we are doing SO MUCH BETTER than when Holden was a newborn.)

I feel like I have always been incredibly grateful for a safe,enriching child care option that allows me to work outside of the home. It’s never something I would have said I take for granted. Though I see even more clearly lately what a gift those solitary hours of focus in my office building.

Yes, of course, meetings could feel like an interruption, and I have hard a hearty laugh or two at that circulating meme that says “I guess we’re about to find out how many of these meetings really could have been emails.” But at least meetings were a scheduled interruption that allowed me to make choices in how I juggled my projects. Lately I am in a free for all of throwing screens at Holden with a wink and a prayer just to make a 5 minute phone call.

Garrett’s job, on the other hand, is a different kind of stress. We are on week two of our own self imposed lockdown. We are not leaving the house unless absolutely necessary, and really only seeing my mom. The challenge here is that he works in Transportation Finance, and the Governor is calling Transportation work “essential” at this time. No easy telecommuting is possible, mostly because they don’t have laptops despite their primary mode of completing work being is email and excel.

Luckily his department did a little managing upward, and they have been able to enact a modified work from home schedule, so sometimes he gets to work from home, and they have planned their meetings accordingly. It adds an addition scary layer to me though, because his going to the office a couple days a week expands the variables we are trying to manage in order to not contract or spread Covid-19.

So far, my mom is safe and healthy (and isolating, except for seeing us) and she has been a saint by coming over as much is humanly possible to play with Holden and help out. If I had my way, because she is 66, I would have her totally isolating. But I know that would be difficult for her emotionally, and honestly I literally couldn’t work without her help. Having her be here 40 hours a week isn’t reasonable or expected, so for now we are just doing our best and grateful she is a nearby resource.

ALSO – did I mention that I am about 45 days into a new job? Strange, strange times to be training/learning/new when you are basically confined to your house.

I’ve also, in the past two weeks, become accutely aware that 3.5 years olds are in an odd stage of transitional independence. Holden can do many things by himself, and can very clearly communicate what he needs. But he doesn’t have the capacity to understand nuance – like why we can run around outside, but not go to the park playground.

He is also not the type of kid who likes to sit down and watch tv, for better or worse. He is high energy, sometimes a little impulsive, and isn’t quite at a stage where I feel like I can safely leave him unsupervised for even short periods of time, so to put it mildly — we are juggling all of these things, in order to just stay home.

It is absolutely worth it, all of this. And I’m so incredibly grateful we have the flexibility that we have right now. I am happy to stay home and juggle all of this in order to potentially make things better for those who can not stay home during this time. But man, it sure does feel like a lot of work to just to get to work.

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2018: In Review

  1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Took Holden on his first weekend trip. Hmmmm I think that might be it. This didn’t really feel like a year of a lot of new things, but motherhood sometimes feels like everything is new all the time. It’s a strange feeling. Mostly it felt like I was getting better at old things? I can’t decide if that is good or bad.

  1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any goals for 2018, and HELL TO THE YES do I plan to make new goals for 2019. This is the first time in over two years I have felt like I have capacity to think aspirationally.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

We added another adorable baby boy in my extended family.

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

No. But this year, more than any other, I felt like I kept seeing reminders on Facebook of friends of mine who have now passed away. It’s a weird and sad experience.

  1. Where did you travel?

We took a weekender to Napa in February with friends, which was a blast. We also went up to Trinidad for my 40th birthday as a family and it was beautiful and rejuvenating and a wonderful family trip.

  1. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

A consistent workout routine. A regular babysitter.  Another baby. 🙂 #TotallyNotPregnant #butIsortawishIwas

  1. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

We took an early morning walk during our Napa weekender, just Garrett, Holden and I. We were staying at a beautiful property and literally the scenery was out of a postcard. I was there with my two favorite boys, it was crisp and gorgeous, and I just looked around and had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my life and my family. Motherhood has been a hard adjustment for me in many ways. But I have also accessed some of my deepest moments of joy. That morning and that walk was one of them.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Continuing to be resilient through a number of personal and professional changes. Also, I turned 40. Man that sounds like a REAL ADULT to me. hahahahahaha

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Bickering with my husband about things that don’t matter in the big scheme of things. Still struggling with perfectionism, defensiveness and my inability to relinquish control.

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

For the most part, no. Though my body and its capabilities are still very different after having a baby.

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

Ceiling storage racks for our garage. Blackout curtains for Holden’s room during the summer. A new car for Garrett. Wild and Crazy, eh? 🙂

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, fo sho! Also to paying off our Costco Visa off every month. That sucker has the best cash back EVER so we basically put EVERYTHING ON IT!

  1. What did you get really excited about?

All the fun things that happen in our neighborhood. Holden talking SO MUCH! Getting a cool new position at my company.

  1. What song will always remind you of 2018?

This one: Jason Aldean – You Make It Easy (Lyric Video)

 

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier

– thinner or fatter? The same actually. Probably even less muscle. Ugh

– richer or poorer? Richer.

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

More date nights with my husband.

 

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Controlling things. I have a tendency to get very controlling when I’m anxious. It doesn’t help me, my family, or really anyone around me. I need to practice letting things flow a little more.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

A day of family and extended family. Eating a little too much. Enjoying each other’s company.

  1. What was your favorite TV program?

I watched So. Little. TV. This year. It was kind of sad actually. I am very happy that we are ending the year with a new season of Vanderpump Rules though.

  1. What were your favorite books of the year?

I actually read quite a few good books this year.  https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/399174-holly?shelf=2018-reads

  1. What was your favorite music this year?

Still on a country streak. I even got Garrett to take me to see Jason Aldean (and he loved it! 🙂

  1. What were your favorite films of the year?

I get an F in Entertainment.

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 40 and we took an awesome family vacation. We stayed at a house on the coast with a hot tub on the front porch. Every night after we put Holden down we would head out there with wine and soak while listening to waves crash. It the most relaxing relaxation of all relaxation. Hahahaha

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If my paycheck still arrived every two weeks but I never had to leave my house or family to go to work. LOL

  1. What was the political issue you that stirred you?

Too many to list.

  1. What kept you sane?

My husband. My mom. My cousins who are some of my best text message threads. Good friends in the same season of life. The ability to be slightly spontaneous again. The innocence of my sweet baby boy. Wine. Coffee.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Continuous Improvement > Perfection

Done > Perfect

The days are definitely long, but indeed the years are WAY TOO SHORT. I feel like I will be learning that over and over again.

 



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