I asked my husband, Anthony, if our kids could have extra screen time today: “Is 6 p.m. OK? I’d like to write a post.”
“Sure,” Anthony said, before returning to playing his video game.
Having gotten that okay to write a post, I suddenly found that … nothing I wanted to write could possibly fit into so small a time.
I decided not to write. Instead, I made my sons whipped cream; for such a simple treat, they rejoice every single time I make it (?!?!).
But when I was done, I realized I had a veritable ocean of minutes left between then and end of tonight’s-new-screentime-end. So: I decided to read blogs, for the first time in many days.
Why not spend a dozen minutes simply stating exactly where I am right now?
Where I am:
The month since my sons began school has been harder than I could possibly explain. I thought last Spring’s willy-nilly, on-the-fly virtual instruction would have prepared me for more structured Fall virtual classes, but, wow, was I wrong.
This became clear when, one day a couple of weeks ago, I found myself struggling to explain to my older son how to answer a math problem. I was so damn tired, I literally couldn’t access the memory to understand–let alone explain–something that has been bone-deep knowledge for me since I was my son’s age.
After a lifetime of telling myself I Can Do Anything, Always, Period,
I went to my car and sobbed for several minutes before, knowing I could not possibly keep going as-was, I wondered what I could change and–still deep into bouts of sobbing–contacted my work team to say I could not sustain working eight hours daily right now … at least not without hurting myself and my family.
Fantastic news: They understood! All pretty much instantly replied that I ought take care of myself, and my family, so that …
I wondered: How did this not occur to me sooner?
How did it not occur to me to tap out?
Why, apart from ever-loud societal expectations (including those non-verbally communicated to me oft by my own intellectually-believed-otherwise mom) that women should work themselves to the bone and then dig even deeper into the bone, had it not occurred to me to just say: “I cannot sustain this in these circumstances”?!
Regardless of what held me back before that tear-filled moment,
I’m glad those sobs brought me clarity:
I cannot sustain this.
So, not yet two weeks into my new-er normal, I am so relieved to have confronted the fact I could not continue as-was.
While I can’t speak for next week, or next month, it seems quite probable, now, that I could continue as-is for some time–
with “as-is” being a combination of time, encouragement, and support,
as well as the bliss of
having having made a few moments, every day,
to stare at the ceiling
with nothing more,