Daring myself to push harder and how life changed in 2020, but somewhere along the way I have the faith it will all work itself out.
My word of the year for 2020 was dare.
I promised to put myself out there more, take more risks and try new things. I wanted to show you a bit more of myself and more importantly, love myself a little bit more.
I dared myself to be a bit more patient with my kids. Have the courage to be a better wife. And try harder to get more paid work as a blogger.
I like to keep myself focused (which was last year’s word), but the world turned upside down and somewhere along the way, I lost that drive.
I didn’t have time to drum up the courage to do more, because I was surviving.
I didn’t have the motivation to push harder, because I felt like I didn’t have anything left to give.
Life has looked very different for us the past 153 days. In fact, everything looks different. For everyone.
Working from home
I’m used to working from home a few days a week, so I actually don’t mind it. I have my own office space set up and I can focus on what needs to get done for my day job. I actually started a newly expanded roll, taking on more responsibility weeks before Covid threw everything upside down. So “meeting” new people through video conferencing became the new norm. I closed my door, took call after call and worked my way through this new world at work.
And somewhere along the way I have found my footing.
The kids are thankfully old enough to entertain themselves, and know not to knock on my office door if it’s closed. But in between meetings, I get to hear them playing, and they share with me their favourite parts of a book, or show me the artwork they create – which is a LOT! And it’s been nice to have lunch as a family every day.
School from home
Then they introduced distance learning. That was a challenge, to say the least. In fact, it was actually horrible, if I can be totally honest. The kids didn’t care and quite frankly, their teachers’ didn’t seem to either. It was hard to motivate them when they didn’t receive any feedback, encouragement or interaction from their teachers. It was hard to keep them engaged when work seemed to be thrown together, and they didn’t have any interaction with their classmates. In fact, for weeks there were no class meets, and both my girls felt isolated and alone.
But somewhere along the way, we got into a groove.
We figured out a schedule, that worked in between my work meetings, and we got their assignments done. I will fully admit that they relied on me too much, but I felt like they needed me, so I let them lean in. And I tried my best to hold them up.
The toll of that is still to be determined. I see (and feel) the mood swings, and the emotions they both have about navigating a new world, and everything that comes along with that now. But I don’t regret any of it. I did what I had to do.
In this together
My husband and I have been working on projects around the house. And while we stay separated throughout the day for the most part (me in my office, and him at the kitchen table), we sneak some time here and there. I am grateful that he doesn’t have as many meetings as I do, so he can take care of the little fires that take place throughout the day. But I love the time we can spend together. Dinnertime fluctuates, depending on our work schedules and our moods, but there still seems to be extra time thanks to no commuting.
Because somewhere along the way, we figured out how to make this work for us. Because we were in this together.
We have yet to venture too far from home, no patio dinners or visits to the beach yet for us. But we’ve made use of the backyard more than ever. And even though the kids hate bugs, and we literally have to force them to go outside, we’ve still figured out a way to take some family walks, spend time catching up with some family during backyard visits and not feel so stressed like we did day-to-day pre-Covid.
During all of this, there was plenty that fell to the wayside – mainly that had to do with my blog, my health and myself.
I still struggle to figure out if what I’m sharing is something people want to see. I had no desire to read, or write. My energy was expelled working and keeping everyone entertained. I’ve tried to readjust my expectations and thankfully, it seems like my audience was good with that. I don’t care to pitch anymore, and just want to share my stories. I like sharing my experiences and my opinions, my reviews and my viewpoint on heavy topics. So while I may not dare to put myself out there and pitch companies for paid gigs, I will dare to put myself out there and share my opinions on race, education, mental health and body positivity more.
And somewhere along the way, I will find a balance again.
In the kitchen
This time has been challenging. And we jumped on-board the baking bandwagon. I especially loved that the kids wanted to get into the kitchen, with the Little Mouse wanting to bake cakes and sweets, and the Little Bird helping with dinner more. They have learned some valuable skills and can successfully load and unload the dishwasher, measure ingredients for a recipe, wash the dishes, cut vegetables and make their own breakfast (and lunch).
But all that time in the kitchen, especially the baking portion, has led to me gaining more than a few pounds. I feel worse about myself. The funny part is, time didn’t make a difference in me getting myself into better shape. Well, it’s not funny. It made me realize that the chronic pain I feel in my hips plays a huge role in how I can get myself into better shape. It’s only proven that time isn’t the issue. I have chronic pain issues that I need to address before I can figure out a plan that works for me.
Somewhere along the way, I figured out that things need to change.
Pre-Covid I had signed up for aqua fit and really enjoyed exercising along with the older men and women. It was nice. I kept to myself, did the exercise, showered and went home. Of course, I haven’t been able to do that since March, and while we have gone on walks, the pain in my feet and hips afterwards doesn’t feel good. So I’ve stopped baking, and while my kids don’t like it, my husband is very appreciative. And so is my waistline.
And now the decision looms for back-to-school. And while I would usually be discussing lunches, or back-to-school shopping at this time; instead I’m here trying to decide if I’m sending my kids back to school or keep them home to start this whole thing all over again. And I wish I had the answer. I have tons of questions on how things will really work and what it means for my kids if they go – or if they stay home? I keep myself up at night wondering, no matter which way I lean, if it will be the right decision.
And yet, somewhere along the way, I know that no matter what it will be the right decision for my family.
I know that 2020 is going to end up as the year that was – was hard, challenging, scary, overwhelming, emotional…. Frankly it was all of the above.
But my hope is that I can still dare myself. To push harder. To challenge myself. To ask more of myself. To allow myself more grace. To take care of my family better. To focus on self-care. To take care of my health. To write more. To speak up against hate. To push back when things feel wrong. To be kinder to myself. To trust my gut. To push through. To ask for help. To keep going.
Because I know, if 2020 has proved anything, it’s that somewhere along the way, things will work itself out.
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