Friday, January 29, 2021

Daily Grind - pandemic style

I've been wearing an envo (reusable N95) plus surgical mask since July. The envo seals around my face so not only does it give better protection but also eliminates the glasses fog. Some people looked at me weird when I first started showing up with this (especially the ones who were more concerned about matching their mask to their outfits), but now double-masking is a thing sanctioned by the top professionals. 

When I start to get overwhelmingly down about the state of the world and how stuck I feel, I try to think of the positive sides to this pandemic. There are lots, but so many come with a darker side. For example, we've saved a nice chunk of change from not sending anything to the dry cleaners for the past year. But that probably means that a lot of others did the same and that business went under.

My weight has been going up and down in direct correlation to my mood. At the start of the pandemic I gained. Toward the fall I lost enough to get back to baseline (pre-pregnancy weight). At this point I'm finding myself comfort-eating more often than not and it's showing. I feel my clothes fitting tighter and get surprised when I catch an unexpected angle in the mirror. I try to fight the "what's the point" attitude with "this isn't forever." It takes a lot of mental energy to eat mindfully and I'm not in that mindset. I want to be healthy and strong, with all the right reasons to motivate me, but with so many limits on our lives food is a reliable, easy reward during a time we can all use extra love and comfort. 

I took some time this week for personal grooming and self-care. I encourage my husband to do the same. We're deep in survival mode doing the bare minimum. After an incident left my feelings deeply wounded I needed to reset: I lovingly made a giant vat of chicken soup on Sunday. I had been saving the ingredients the week prior and finally got everything I needed in the last delivery. Since baby boy is currently transitioning from two naps to one, those nap minutes are precious and I used them to chop and clean veg to start the soup. I let it simmer for hours, and the house smelled amazing. I patted myself on a job well done and was so happy to have healthy lunch and dinner options for the next few days. The next morning I woke up literally by sitting straight up in bed: I had forgotten to put the soup in the fridge the night before and the whole pot spoiled. Between teething and the nap situation, I'd been getting less sleep and I was so tired and out of it the night before that I just forgot. I had no one to blame but myself and I was so, so upset. It put me in a funk and I needed something tangible to snap me out of it so I waxed my eyebrows and gave myself a pedicure. I gave a donation to charity to try to offset the sadness I felt by this seemingly minor incident to try to put out some good vibes into the world. [Thinking more about it I realize this was the last straw to something else too. I recently took on the challenge of watching all the Star Wars (yes, 9 movies). I didn't realize it at the time but I was feeding off of the energy of the rebellion who had something to fight for: a unifying goal that they were all working hard toward together. Excitement, adventure, hopping in a ship and taking off. All the things stuck people don't have. I'm thinking the soup was the last straw for me and it sent me down a dark path. I'm still not totally over it but at least better.] 

We've discussed the option of trying to figure out how to schedule the cleaning crew to give our house a scrub since that's something that brings us joy. But with the cold weather making outdoors not an option and no safe indoor options, we literally have nowhere to go for several hours. Something else to push to the back burner for "when this is over." 

I'm trying to think ahead and believe things will get better. There will be a time when we can hang out with friends and hang out with family and feel safe dropping our child off at school. I try not to think too far ahead because then it makes it harder to come back to the present when none of those things are an option. It's like playing the What Would I Do If I Won The Lottery - you imagine all the things you can buy with unlimited funds; how the world would be wide open for you to explore without the burden of debts or a daily job to report to... but then you need to come back to reality and realize you're still stuck to the financial ball and chain that is the daily grind. 

On top of the mental struggle is the cherry on top known as guilt. As challenging as things feel for me, everyone I speak to is going through something. Some are challenged with trying to settle the estates of loved ones who were lost to the virus; others are dealing with struggling with food insecurity and financial instability because they lost their jobs; some are dealing with the crippling anxiety that comes with isolation, loneliness, and fear of what we're all dealing with. It doesn't mean my challenges are real to me, but putting things in perspective is important too. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021


I've been needing a mental health day off work and I decided to take it on Wednesday to watch history being made. It was refreshingly nice to see good news for a change. Today is the first day of the Biden Administration and I feel hopeful. I know things won't change overnight, but I'm hoping they will get incrementally better with time. 

I had the opportunity to sign up for the covid vaccine. Part of me felt guilty because not everyone has access to it. My reasoning was that if it doesn't go to me it may end up in the trash because they don't have their act together yet and defrosted doses must be used and cannot be refrozen. As it is, supply is such that I'm not sure they have enough for second doses. I also figured that once it is widely available my arm would be one less in line to delay everyone else. This doesn't change anything for us in our daily life. Masks, social distancing, staying home when we can. I hope we get to phase 2 in Feb and phase 3 by March. 

Once I got vaccinated I stopped nursing. We were down to once a day and he didn't even notice the change. I was hormonal, weepy, and slightly uncomfortable until things started to adjust. There isn't enough data to know what effects it could cause. I believe this vaccine is safe and likely similar to the flu vaccine which is fine for breastfeeding, but again - limited data. It would be a different conversation if he was still an infant or we both wanted to continue. We made it to 15 months and comfortable with that stopping point. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021


I'm watching the news coverage: "House of Representatives evacuated as protesters enter capitol building" while the president eggs the protesters on via twitter. Unscreened protesters got into the capitol toward the house chamber - members of the house were handed gas masks and evacuated from the house floors. There's smoke coming from an undetermined source. Is this real? I thought we left this all behind in 2020. This is complete insanity. 

Unrelated (or maybe related?) my stress level reached a new height and I snapped at my husband. I had to take a webinar for work and once started needed to be completed. It was scheduled between lunch and nap I thought I'd be able to have it on in the background on low while playing on the floor with the boy. Nope. Nothing worked to distract him. He kept climbing on me to get to laptop over my shoulder. I tried distracting him with toys, I tried pointing out birds and trees outside, I tried detaching my keyboard and letting him play with that, I tried putting on a video of puppies on my phone.... nothing worked. As he kept getting rebuffed he went from playful to frustrated to crying as the webinar went on.  He's generally well mannered and doesn't hear "no" very often so he's not used to it. But I hated it. I hated splitting my attention and having to keep it from him with him not understanding at all why. Webinar was finally over and went to play in another area. My husband said he would take over at 1:45 and I was ready for a break. At 1:46 pm I asked where he was and he said, "I thought..." but I didn't let him finish. I put the boy in the crib and went to the bathroom since my bladder was about to burst. He came up a minute later and tried to explain his reasoning and I wasn't having it. I lost it. At this point I don't even remember what I yelled about specifically but the basic gist is that it's just you and me: if you're not watching him, I am. I'm juggling work and daycare and housekeeping and I just snapped. Yelling ended a few minutes later once I ran out of steam, followed by some loud clanking as I washed dishes, and some forceful throwing of laundry into a basket as I collected it for a load. I didn't even realize how wound up I was. I guess 9 months of a pandemic can do that. 

Everyone is struggling. It's not like I can call a friend or family member to complain. In their own way, everyone is going through something right now. We're on edge because the vaccine rollout is going so slowly. There's a new variant or two of the virus that spread faster and are more deadly. The president is actively ruining the country. And we're just over it. OVER. IT. 


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