It’s been over a year. It was Friday, March 6, 2020. I booked a babysitter and told Jeff we were going to happy hour. We had just found out that our sons were out of school for a few weeks, and I wanted to get out. Jeff suggested that we wait a week, saying we may need it more after a week with all of us at home.
I shot that idea down, thinking, “mama needs happy hour today!” That was our last outing for months—everything shut down the following Monday.
We scrambled, trying to figure out how to manage work and kids. I was about to start a new job, and I even reached out to my new boss to ask if I would still start my new role.
As I started, I dove in, thinking, “I’ve got this. It’s only a few weeks. We will be fine.”
HAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, so we all thought.
Suddenly, life turned into “before COVID” and “new normal.” People began to get sick, and they began to die. “New normal.” We’ve heard that term so many times. I use it frequently myself. But none of this is normal. It’s wearing on all of us. Strike that—we are worn.
I’ve been incredibly thankful through the pandemic. I have a home, a job. We are a lucky family. But I’ve also been incredibly tired. I feel guilty even saying that out loud.
I am tired.
I work alongside other parents who have been facilitating online learning while working full-time. We all apologize profusely when our child interrupts our team call for the third time, needing yet more assistance with the screen we’ve thrown at them while we attempt to focus.
Then there’s marriage. I don’t know about all of you, but I am a much better wife when I’m not with my husband 24. Hours. A. Day. I’ve worked from home for years, and that time alone in the house helps me recharge. And enjoy the silence. Suddenly there are people in my quiet space, and I don’t remember what it feels like to be alone.
All of this stress is surrounded by my privilege. I have a job, a home. I’m not on the front lines. I’m thankful as hell for those who are. I get my “COVID privilege,” and I recognize it. But I’m also human, and I have limits. And am I doing my best? I don’t even know what that means anymore. Many days it just seems to suggest I feel like I’m crap at most everything I’m trying to tackle.
How much longer can we function this way?
I wish I had the answers. All I know is that I’ve hit the “OMG, how much longer can this go on?” stage of COVID. And I know I’m not alone. We are all struggling. Survival mode is not meant to last for a year. The bubble of safety and sanity has burst, only to be replaced by anxiety and exhaustion.
So, I’ve got nothing. Nothing but—come over to my house. I will share wine or give you a fist bump (cuz no hugs!), and we shall commiserate. I can’t provide solutions or anything wise. But I can provide community. We all can. We have so little left to lean on—every single one of us—slight or pandemic-punch-in-the-face-style has had our world flipped around. We have to rely on each other.
Friends, we are all tapped out. From multi-tasking. From protecting our families. From fear. From working from home. From parenting. From being a spouse. From being a frontline worker. From just…being.
We believed we could. And for a bit of time, we did. But now we’re just plain exhausted. And it’s OK.