I’m just going to say it – it’s OK to feel overwhelmed and be unproductive.
You don’t have to have it together all the time. Do you remember that little homeschool schedule that was floating around the internet a week or so ago – if it didn’t work in your house, it doesn’t mean you are a failure or any less of a Mom.
You want to know a secret?
I didn’t even try it.
And, that’s odd for me. Before this pandemic, I was self-declared #MomGoals. Full-Time working single Mom. Attended all the school things. Made sure she next leveled all the school projects. Went ham on all the themed birthday parties (my daughter had a petting zoo at her second birthday….she turned TWO……she would have believed a donkey was a horse – it was totally unnecessary). The best part – it was all on a very rigid schedule, packaged tightly, and sealed with a perfectly tied bow. It’s the OCD in me. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Whoa – suddenly, Bob Marley barges in over the loudspeaker in my brain and my life is a theme song!
Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin’, this is my message to you……
Expect the Unexpected
That schedule. Those boundaries. All the checked boxes…..it’s all great. The sense of accomplishment – great. But, where does the unexpected fit into that model? How did I handle it when where we go and what we do is out of the grips of my control?
I had what’s called a 2 / 10 reaction. Meaning, I should have responded at a level two, but instead intensity, I nearly busted at the seams and fired off a level ten. I mean, at one point, on a scale of 1 to Charlie Sheen, my neighbors probably thought I was an itty bit crazy. But, I digress. The point is, don’t beat yourself up if you veer off the beaten path. The reason the transition took me by surprise is because nowhere in that routine did I allow for the unexpected.
Destined for Change
Truth be told, if you don’t leave room for flexibility, you’re going to feel overwhelmed when those curveballs come, and “conquering it all” won’t make you wonder woman – you’re just going to be a worn-out woman. When you’re depleted, you quickly feel defeated. Here’s the deal……it’s OK to feel unproductive.
I initially felt inspired by the grit and enthusiasm displayed over the last two weeks. Together, we are making the most of our situation. Then came the reality of a whole new expectation – now that so many of us are confined to our homes, we have to do important, fun, or creative things!
F A N – F R E A K I N G – T A S T I C
So now, I’m not just a single working Mom who does all the things. I’m a single working Mom who does all the things and is also a homeschool teacher, the cafeteria manager, a principal, a duty teacher, and the list goes on. Oh, and then there’s still myself that I have to deal with (heaven help us all). We can use the extra time to take courses! Create works of art! Write books! Redecorate! We shouldn’t waste a moment of the gift of confinement. We must make the most of it all! Ideally, it should all be delightfully “Instagrammable,” too.
Well, let me tell you. Next time I get that school supply list, I. Will. Not. Complain.
You want black markers? Oh, sis, let me get you the obnoxiously huge Sharpie variety pack. You need tissue? Ok, Kleenex extra soft with Vicks vapors on the way. I’ll make sure it’s laced in gold. Colorful pens? Rose Art 42,826 count is coming your way. Are you sure you don’t need a bottle of wine? I’ll donate 50! That cafeteria lady, you know, the one who gets to school at 4 AM to bake the biscuits and gets very little respect or even a mere “thank you.” Well, that precious creation of Jesus is getting an all-expense-paid trip to an island somewhere so she can Cabo til she wobbles……but not until, like, 2023 because #Rona. Still, the point is – I have a newfound respect for these people since having to become all of them in one person.
I’ve always had to focus on being just one thing at a time. And, what feels like overnight, I’ve become everything and that can creep up on you making you feel like you’re not good at anything. Like, you’re unproductive. Well, sister, I’m here to tell you – THAT’S OK.
It’s OK to BE Perfectly Imperfect – Just BE
I believe that, in addition to celebrating the gritty human drive to rise above our circumstances, we need to give each other permission to grieve. To be afraid. To sit with our emotions. To slow down. To slow way down, if we need to (and are able to). There’s nothing wrong with being productive or creative. It can be a helpful, constructive way to cope. But we must also allow ourselves space to not be “amazing.” Our world has not faced anything like this in over a century. It’s big. It’s ok, and even appropriate, to not be ok.
If you’re tapping into fresh reservoirs of strength and inspiration, celebrate that. You can use your energy to help others, too. But if you’re really struggling as you watch it all unfold, feeling fear as this thing marches closer, or mourning your own real losses, that’s a normal reaction. I prefer to be a “hero,” one who rises above circumstances to encourage and help others. We need our heroes, that’s for sure. But sometimes we must simply allow ourselves to be humbled by a situation. To grieve what’s happening, to not know what to do next. To be messy. To handle things imperfectly.
If you’re feeling like all of this is too much—it’s because it is.
But, there’s good news on the horizon. WE WILL SURVIVE THIS.
We will overcome the setbacks. They are just setups for the comeback.
We will thrive. I truly believe God will make a way, where there seems to be no way.
We will be stronger for all of this. And, when the dust settles, I hope that we all realize how very little we actually need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection.
Until then, I pray that you find peace in your current position, that you embrace the imperfections, and know that in the end……every little thing gonna be alright.