Breakdowns in Lockdown. Thursday past was my day. Seems like everyone is having their turn and last week, my number was up. I was a solid mess. Like, on the floor in a heap ugly crying. It took me by surprise. I knew this was going to be hard- this lockdown – it was never intended to be easy. That was never the point of it all. But I thought I was doing fine despite the inordinate task that’s been set for us all.
We all know that what is being asked of us right now, is simply impossible: cooking,cleaning, work, feeding,teaching, nappies, bottles, meetings, teething babies, growth spurts, middle of the night wakeups. It’s a list that just won’t quit, and you just never get to it all. And yet many of us still are finding ourselves dead on the floor trying to do just that. Often this is not of our volution, because, for some, there’s still this invisible pressure from management that wants to completely negate the reality that many are sitting with at home. Or the complete lack of any empathy or indication of understanding it. Like the reality of 4 kids, 2 very busy babies, with nappies and bottles and who need you to be all in, all the time. I mean there is a reason why one pays top dollar to have dedicated childcare structures in place in order for you to be a parent AND still a valuable and contributing employee. Both are full time jobs (thats if you have a full time job. But even so, part-time working parents have their struggles too.) And now to be expected to still be all that or even moderately productive, and pretend that we don’t have kids, would be sheer insanity.
However, two weeks ago when I chatted to some of you working moms in my Instagram community, when I was looking for sounding boards from other moms in a similar work siutation to me, my heart was encouraged that many of you sit with such great and gentle leadership at work, who understand the realities of what homelife is like with kids. And that there’s difference in demand between kids, and small kids and babies; Who get that now is not the time to crack the whip on productivity. Nor the time to leave your people in the dark i.t.o expectations by not acknowledging their personal state. Because we each have it hard, but we also, each as a houselhold, have very unique situations to consider.
There’s someone I love, but wont mention their name, as they’d kill me for saying this…But I am in such admiration for the way this person is with their team. Providing clarity and direction each week, and always checking in with each n every member of their team to see how they’re doing. I mean, having that is GOLD! Having that kind of understanding can make a massive difference in one’s mental health in this uncertain time. Especially when one feels every inch of the obligation to work,but cannot fulfill it under these crazy circumstances. It really just puts you in such a torn place – because, you also know what you need to get through this time, but you also just need the acknowledgment thereof. Because of the anture of employment, sometimes you just need to hear the words.
These are not normal circumstances, therefore, normal output cannot be expected – especially when there are children involved. And the fact that ones mental health and that of one’s family is a vital component in a time where staying healthy is crucial.
But sadly, such empathy and understanding is not always a given. (which also came trough in chatting with a few other women) And if you wait for it, you may be in for huge disappointment.
Much like where I was that fateful Thursday, trying fruitlessly to find words for what was throbbing through my head,desperately trying to find an outlet for the waves of complex and mixed emotions that drove me to breaking point. I felt so stuck, so trapped in an impossible place with no sign of relent…
So if this where you find yourself, then this is a little reminder for you,that another mama shared with me..i know It can all be truly overwhelming. I mean this is a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, for goodness sakes!This is a world public health issue, not a time to see how hard we can keep working! Each of us are all dealing and trying to find our way. So if our places of work aren’t offering us grace, kindness and understanding, then we need to take it and offer it to OURSELVES ! ❤
And please, don’t just say the words, I mean honestly do this with intention. Do whatever it takes for you to mentally accept that self kindness and grace, till it settles in your bones and quells that raging fire of anxiety that pulses through your being. And then, finally, grant it even to those who don’t give it to you – they may need it most.
It’s uncharted territory for all. Everyone’s normal has been shook. But we’ll get through this.🙌💕
Side note: Granting grace unto yourself seems so simple,but I sure needed that reminder myself. I know I’ve handed this out to others like soul candy recently, but somehow for some odd reason I didn’t heed myself in a real way…Until, that is, on the kitchen floor that day,when my son came to tug at my hair to see my face and smiled at me (he had obviously witnessed my breakdown and quietly came over)…it forced my sobs to finally slow and deepen to eventual stuttered breaths and mirror his expression. (babies are magic) Through swollen eyes, I saw his bright face, followed by warm arms of three more little beasts quietly wrapping themselves around my limbs. Warm tears from my one girl dripped onto my cheeks…slipping into the tracks of my own tears. With my husband eventually enveloping us all with his strong arms. Its not quite how I thought this would go. I may have been even a bit naive to how much pressure was boiling inside of me trying to deal with it all, when my tank was already so low going in (long story). But that little cocoon of family love that day on the cold, toy strewn kitchen floor may certainly what I needed to remind myself of the restorative powers of grace and kindness.
No matter who you are, or your work situation – stay at home, fulltime, parttime, double job: Take care of yourselves, my friends. We all need that extra bit of kindness now more than ever.X