A Few Pandemic Life Lessons
Living through a global pandemic was never on my bucket list. In fact, it had really never crossed my mind as something I should even consider happening in my lifetime. So, now that we are over a year into this, I thought I’d share some of my life lessons thus far:
First, don’t randomly start reading a book about a global pandemic that kills women and children right at the same time a global pandemic is starting. It will not help with one’s mental health. (The Book of the unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison may have been a good read at any other point in my life, but I really did not enjoy the unintentional fearmongering that it stirred in me at in February/March 2020).
Second, going from working 6-7 days a week to being basically unemployed overnight and becoming a full-time stay at home mom was not an easy transition for me. I felt like I lost my identity. On my worst days I even equated my self worth to my previous income vs my near zero new income. Mr. MPB was still working and he focused on work as much as possible as we needed to ensure our family had some income (you know, paying the mortgage and buying food was still fairly important). So, by default my new role became full-time care of our child. Thankfully we could afford to live without my income for those few months. Thankfully, because I was not working, I could take on the role of full-time parenting, because 4 year Little MPB needed parental supervision. yet, even though there were many things to be thankful for, I can honestly say I did not handle the initial transition with grace at every moment.
Thirdly, building on the previous point, after the last year, I think I can do almost anything in life, except become a full-time stay at home mom for 89 days without childcare, while not being allowed to visit with anyone outside of our immediately family and having all indoor spaces and even playgrounds and parks close. Oh, and enduring a new type of stress and constant fears at the same time. During those early days (March-May 2020) when I was struggling with my new found role in life, I frequently asked my friends who were stay at home moms by choice how they did it, and their response was always something along the lines of this isn’t normal, you’ve had to enter this world at the hardest time imaginable. We usually had playdates and scheduled activities, now we don’t. This is hard for me too. Cut yourself some slack. I probably should have listened to their advice a bit more at the time and actually cut myself some slack.
Fourth, I started running in March 2020, and I swear running has been the key to me retaining any sanity through all the stress of the last year. I started running for two reasons. First, I chose running because the crazy dog needs lots of exercise and we pulled her out of doggy daycare to save money. Second, running was escape from my family – I was literally running away from them – running became the only time I had to myself. There were days when I was about to go for a run that Little MPB would stand at the door crying for me not to go, as his primary caregiver in those early days of covid, I had become his person and he was stuck to me like glue. I was used to having alone time due to being away for work a few days/night a week, transitioning to being a full-time stay at home mom was hard for me. So, I ran anyways (of course Mr. MPB was there, I never left my child unattended). I am still running, usually 20-25km per week now. (It’s become a bit of an addiction, more on that another day, maybe, I still have no idea if I’m going to start writing regularly again).
Fifth, I have a new found appreciation for all the comforts in my life. We live in a single-family home, we have a backyard space with a playset (family friends gave us a playset that their kids had outgrown in April 2020), we can drive to the mountains to spend time socially distant in nature, we could afford to pay our bills at a time when many people could not, we could even afford to purchase toys and games to help pass the time at home with our kid. We are fortunate. Sure, our live wasn’t what we were used to – there were no trips, no visits with family or friends, etc. But, amongst all the things we’ve lost in the last year, we truly have so many things to be thankful for.
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It’s so great to see a post from you after a long time! I am sorry to hear that the pandemic has been difficult for you, and I can certainly relate in a lot of ways.
Here’s hoping that things get back to some kind of normal soon.
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Hello!! How are you?? In many ways it hasn’t been difficult, there have been many good moments too. Maybe I should write about the good things next. 🙂
It’s great to hear from you! My covid life has been … interesting. I should follow your lead and write about it!
Hello!!! I can’t tell you how delighted I was to see your name (handle?) pop up in my feed! So glad to see this update and to hear about how you’ve weathered the pandemic so far. There’s so much news in here that it’s hard to know what to say… I’m glad Mr. MPB was able to keep his job, although I can’t imagine the stress of going through unemployment and an involuntary transition to full-time parenting right at the start of the pandemic. Glad that you’re keeping the crazy dog’s energy under control while taking care of your mental health, and glad that Little MPB has had you to be his person during this year of madness. Here’s hoping that life looks a little brighter these days! ❤
Friend! Yes, I read Parable of the Sower in January 2020…do not recommend before an impending pandemic. And yes, with my husband and I fully vaccinated and the vaccine just around the corner for my kid, I’m looking at signing up for all the childcare things. The pandemic taught me that I’m not meant to be the sole caretaker of a child, that a village is more my speed and I’m here. for. it!
Also, I sprained my ankle, got a polyp on my uterus that resulted in surgery, had weird chest pains that lasted a full three weeks, and was told I was never going to run again…so I bike, but yes, that time working out kept my sanity when there was none left to get!
Hey MPB! Always so good to hear from you! The pandemic was rough–I struggled mightily as a SAHM by choice. But we came out just fine, and I echo your gratitude–that we had our house, our yard, our playset, our basement playroom (in winter), money to buy things to entertain the kids and make holidays extra special despite the isolation, and also God bless instacart (grocery delivery), amazon, and and doordash (take out delivery). And after neglecting myself through the pandemic I finally found myself in health crisis in September 2020 and stepped up and started taking better care of myself. I’m much happier now. Good for you on the running addiction! XOXO
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I haven’t checked WordPress for ages but so glad I saw you pop up when I did! I became a SAHM for all of 2020… even in Australia where things weren’t too bad, I am still dealing with some things from that time. I started 2020 with a newborn and a 3yr old 😬 and then towards the end of 2020 my husband was away on training for 3 months. It was hard. We were so lucky but it was still so hard!!
With you on the running thing! (Mine was walking/hiking but am looking at getting into running too). We still have the book and socks you sent us for my now 4.5yr old!! Our 2nd son has used them too ❤
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