“Today, I saw a very poignant post from a mom I know that said something along the lines of, ‘I woke up today, smiling at the sunshine coming through my window, ready for a fun, productive day…for a few fleeting seconds. Then, I remembered. I got back in bed, because what’s the point?’
That sentiment hit me hard because I feel the exact same way. And I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who feels like they are living in a nightmare they can’t wake up from.
My name is Amelia, which means ‘industrious and striving.’
I have always been hard-working, always doing something, striving for something, working on some kind of project. When this started, and the reality of it hadn’t really set into my brain yet, I was a little excited.
‘Finally,’ I thought, ‘I’m going to get SO MUCH DONE!’
So much writing, home repair, gardening — anything and everything that my busy 40-hour workweek and full-time mom position had prevented me from doing.
I dove right in. I went up and emptied our storage garage, I went to my aunt’s and helped haul off things she didn’t need anymore, then set about digging out a garden and beautifying my house, while editing the book I’m working on.
At first, I was happy enough.
When someone asked how I was doing, I’d say, ‘Well, I’m getting paid, and I have so many projects to work on. I don’t know what these people are saying about being bored at home during quarantine.’
And I worked. I worked and worked and worked, and I cooked and cleaned, and homeschooled my daughter.
And then, I burnt out, and I burnt out HARD.
I started snapping at my family and avoiding the few social Zoom meetings I was invited to because I thought I was ‘too busy.’ I was gripped every day by a threatening cloud of anxiety that accused me of ‘not getting enough done’ and ‘not taking advantage of this time off.’ I resented anything and anyone that got in my way of ‘progress.’
Then, at last, my husband sat me down on the couch with a glass of wine and made a space for me to talk about what was going on with me. I talked myself through it with him and realized what I was doing. I was running from my feelings and fears about the current situation, running away from my disappointment and my sadness, denying my anguish. I attempted to patch up the dam of emotion with lots of hard work and accomplishments.
Well, the dam broke.
And I’m actually glad it did.
Now, I take each day as it comes. I do my best to sit down and just play with my daughter or linger over a cup of coffee. I video chat with friends and go on walks. If I feel like working on something, I work on it, but I don’t make it a priority or hold myself to some rigid, unattainable standard of the industry.
We have to be gentle with ourselves. If keeping busy truly, truly makes you happy, go for it. For me, I have found I need a mix of idle enjoyment and usefulness. Volunteering once a week at the community center to pack food bank orders does wonders for my mood and soul.
Please, I’m begging you.
Learn from my mistake and make self-care your number one priority. You may see posts online saying things like, ‘If you don’t emerge from quarantine with a new skill, you wasted your time’ and that is so not true. The most productive thing you can do is right now is take care of yourself and your loved ones. And if that means you can’t bake bread or tackle DIY home projects, it’s worth it. You’re worth it, and the idea of being productive right now is a myth.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amelia Kibbie. The story originally appeared on Mom.com. Follow Amelia’s journey on Facebook and her website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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