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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