The start of a new year typically brings up a lot of reflection and goal setting. Most years I have either started a diet (ugh), looked into a side hustle, or jumped into a new hobby or something else related to filling my “extra” time.
I am a business owner and working mom of 3, so I am not sure why I thought this “extra” time needed to be filled. During the pandemic, I leaned into this side of myself — always doing and filling.
BUT as 2022 approached and then began, my entire body and brain told me that the only pledge I needed to make was to do LESS.
And here is why:
Parenting during a pandemic has been a constant state of unknowns.
Every time we have a routine down, we are presented with another challenge to conquer. Assess your child for any sign of illness, get a test appointment, get a booster appointment, get the right masks, hunt down home tests. All of this is both mentally and logistically time consuming. I noticed that without any wiggle room in my schedule, I was drowning in all the tasks being presented each day. I realized I needed to proactively build in time for what was to come day to day, week to week.
There are A LOT of symptoms to watch out for in our kids.
A slight runny nose — aka all of winter — is now a reason for an at-home COVID test. A cough, stemming from that slight runny nose, is now a reason your kid has to be out of school — and you need a PCR. There is also the constant looming threat of potential exposures. Every day we are able to work is a blessing, and every day our kids go to school is a jackpot! I do not take one moment of this for granted AND I prepare myself mentally for the call to come pick a child up. (This also means that any time not filled with work can not be filled with other responsibilities because we never know when the children will be home!)
Fatigue is real, my friends. Mental and physical fatigue are both at play, of course, but this time of life has really brought out the mental fatigue. We have been in a hyperaroused, hypervigilant state since March 2020. We are TIRED. We have energy for only what is absolutely necessary. Right now, my list includes my kids, my work, my husband, my family, and myself. (I do very much include myself!) HOWEVER, I cannot use my valuable mental energy and brain power on anything extra right now. Right now, that well is only so deep and it is running out, so I need to preserve every last drop.
So, for all of these reasons, and probably more I cannot even remember, I am going to hold off on fulfilling all my potential.
I am going to just be right here, sludging through it the best that I can. Every moment of “extra” time is going to be spent watching Bravo or baking cookies or even just staring at a wall.
Our Guest Writer
Robyn is a therapist, a business owner, a tie-dye enthusiast, and a mom of three beautiful children. She resides in Needham with her family. In her work, Robyn encourages her clients to identify strengths and turn them into resilience. In her parenting, she utilizes humor and benign neglect.