Friday, July 24, 2020

My Thoughts Are All Over The Place

[I love all of the writing I've been doing. Like, with a pen and paper. Not typed, but handwritten thoughts, stories, notes, ideas, lists, etc. The time I have to do simple things I enjoy is refreshing. I forgot the way a pen smells on the paper]

I've kept my views on the pandemic and everything that goes along with it primarily off of the blog. There's many reasons for that. One, at a time when every little thing is being politicized, I did not and do not want to add to it. I like to give people/parents ideas and inspire caregivers on ways to grow tiny human minds. However, the other reason is that my own thoughts, opinions, and feelings are a jumbled mess! They're anywhere and everywhere. It's been maddening to be me, to say the least. 

I currently have up to 20 posts began, but not finished. Some of them are knee jerk reactions to the latest breaking news of the hour. By the time I go to finish them, I've had some breathing room and time to process. All too often, my first words seem too harsh and my new thoughts too calm. A few weeks into the pandemic I began keeping a journal. This largely eliminated my need to voice my opinions and thoughts on every single thing throughout the days. It has helped keep me grounded and kept me from ticking people off daily (well, mostly).

As I read through my newsfeeds and hear from my friends (particularly my fellow parent friends), I realized I had overlooked something important. Sharing ones feelings and viewpoints often times helps others through their feelings. At the very least, it makes others not feel alone. A good part of the reason I write is so other parents don't feel alone. At this point, I've had millions of conflicts within my own head, so I can't go back and recap them all. But I should have been sharing things all along. What I can do now is share the thoughts, or a few of them, that I've had this week. My emotions are high this week as we made a decision about the school year and I write out new fall daycare pandemic policies. What better time than to start sharing than now?

I've heard parents argue that their children need the socialization that schools provide. But do those parents know what socializing during a pandemic will look like? Every single parent in America and beyond are making difficult choices right now. Why can't we all support each other? And even better, be honest about things? Everyone will be making choices based on their needs and what works for them. What works for us likely won't work for the next family. Respect that, find support, and move on. 

My heart sinks every time I hear a parent say, "my kid has to go to school five days a week. They won't learn anything otherwise." Listen up to why my heart sinks in hearing this: it isn't just about your kid. It's about every other kid plus your kid, plus teachers, staff, families, and your own community. Nothing is ideal right now. It's important to realize and understand that every single kid is going through this pandemic too. Some will have an easier time with things, others it will be difficult. But the thinking that what your child needs is most important, needs to stop. Now. No child will be learning as much as they would have under normal circumstances. I would have soooo much more respect for you if you said, "my kid needs to go to school five days a week because I have to work/I'm a single parent and can't make it work otherwise/I need help/my employer isn't flexible/I don't want to be flexible/I don't want to be the one in charge of my child's education/I can't stand my kid anymore/I need a break." I would give you a hug if you told me your child was an asshole and that's why you wanted them to go to school. Anything else just makes you seem selfish and closed minded. I get the importance of school and how it's a definite need for some. I also get that this is a pandemic that isn't going to magically go away, even with a vaccine. This isn't a normal school year and we need to stop treating it as though it will be. Buckle yourselves up and hang tight because this year is going to be hell. For you and me, but let's look out for each other and help each other, 'kay?

I get upset when I hop on group chats or whatever and see other moms bashing each other's opinions so badly that the conversation has to be stopped. Not only do I get irritated because I want to read that shitty drama, but I value other's opinions. Even when they're different than mine. Especially when they're different than mine. It's at that time when I start thinking and my own viewpoints can be challenged. Doesn't everyone do this? This is how I keep an open mind about life I guess. Constructive conversations can go a long way. 

I have to make choices for myself, my family, my daycare, and their families. Will I be respected when I have to put into place tighter restrictions at the end of summer? No daycare family has ever given me trouble to where I should be worried about this, but I am. Will I lose business? Will I have kids up to my eyeballs? I guess I already do, so I really shouldn't worry about it. The uncertainty gets to me every so often. I hate that I have so many ever-changing guidelines that create more work for me.

I'm so tired. Is it the every day stress? Or is it having a puppy, that's exactly like having a baby? No matter what, I'm exhausted.

Sure the politicizing of every little thing is taking its toll, but the "what I believe is the only right thing" mentality is frustrating. It will get us nowhere. Good ol' America at it's finest. I miss constructive conversations. Change is a good thing. From equal rights to realizing I wasn't teaching my children the best way I could. Change is needed to grow. So, can we please start growing??

How much coffee is acceptable? Same question with alcohol? I drank an absurd amount of alcohol the first four weeks of quarantine, switched to a more than one cup of coffee a day regimen from May - June, and now I'm on a two cups of coffee and having the first drink when the last daycare kid leaves. I did stop drinking soda, so that counts for something. Right??

While I'm on the subject of vices, how much online shopping is too much? I fully realize I went a little extreme when I bought a puppy and a car, but I also realize that being on a first name basis with your delivery drivers might also be extreme. I figured this out when the Fed Ex driver asked how I liked my new blanket basket as he dropped another home decor package. My neighbor overheard and asked about it. Apparently not the norm.

If I have to hear about Pokemon or their damages (I may not have used this term correctly, much to the dismay of my children), I may scream. I don't understand it nor do I want to understand it. All I know is my twelve year old had to text his friends about a card he had. And here I thought they'd be texting each other about girls this summer.

We have had so many unbelievably hard discussions with our children. Last night, after puppy kindergarten,  I had planned to discuss with them the events happening in Portland and other cities. I figured I'd start with a light overview of Hitler and WW2, followed by a reading of The Diary of Anne Frank, then authoritarianship. My kids asked to go play outside instead. I let them have a sliver of normalcy before we have another talk I can't believe we have to have.

I like to think my jokes help break up the hard stuff. Sometimes it just makes others uncomfortable. Sometimes I think this is funny and just do it because I need the refresher in my day.

Why isn't there a pandemic guidebook? And why don't people like science? I seem to suddenly know a lot of epidemiologists, scientists, specialists....they must have this guidebook I didn't know exsisted. Why don't I know these same things? Am I missing something?? I have uttered those words trillions of times in the last four year. A million times in the last four months. I'm over it. I'm going to go read memes of Facebook to teach myself all of these things because that's where everyone else has gone to school too.

I have never been more thankful for technology. It has kept us connected, my kids learning, and provided activities and entertainment. Our quarantine wouldn't have been as productive if we didn't have this at our fingertips. 

I miss normal. I question every day if normal will ever return. I'm beginning to realize it will now be pre-Covid and post-Covid life. Once we actually get past Covid that is. That realization makes me both uneasy and hopeful.

Owning a business right now sucks. Especially one that deals with children. As much as I want to get into it, I don't. Just know that it's stressful and keeping up with guidelines and policies takes me away from doing my actual job. It's a juggling act. How I'm going to add in virtual learning in a month is beyond me, but I'll do it. It will be far from perfect, but we'll make it through. I keep giving myself pep talks and have read The Little Engine That Could once or twice for a positive outlook. 

I miss traveling. I didn't have issues missing trips to Texas, Seattle, or the Black Hills, yet I feel I'm missing something as I'm not currently planning our fall break vacay. It makes no sense. With all of the travel restrictions for Iowa residence going to other states (no one likes us, but can you really blame them??), I won't even get to go to Chicago to see one of my best friend's baby when he's born. I won't get to show my kids Chicago at Christmas time. I can't stop myself from hoping things turn around between now and then.

Is this all a nightmare? Not like horror film nightmare, but psychological thriller type nightmare. I'm ready to wake up.

Oh my gosh, I have an idea! Oh wait, no I don't because we can't. There's things we can't and shouldn't do. The pandemic isn't a hoax, it's not getting better, we don't have the best numbers ever in the world. Why can't people understand this??

I'm not sure how to feel about the upcoming school year. I'm all the things. Happy my kids will be with me this school year--I get more irreplaceable time with them. I'm also very ready for a break. I usually treat myself to two "me days" the first days of the school year. I won't be sipping mimosas at 8:45 a.m. at a trendy brunch spot this year because I'll be learning the ins and outs of virtual school. I won't have to deal with the back-to-school blues I typically get two weeks into the school year and I start missing the crazy days of summer. My house won't be quiet and will continue being crazy for a long time.

Nothing about a pandemic is ideal, but the kids and I have been pretty damn happy since mid-March. I can totally dig this no obligation, very few things on my To Do plate lifestyle. If we can keep some of that post-pandemic that would be fantastic.

I love all of the writing I've been doing. Like, with a pen and paper. Not typed, but handwritten thoughts, stories, notes, ideas, lists, etc. The time I have to do simple things I enjoy is refreshing. I forgot the way a pen smells on the paper, the sense of accomplishment I feel when I realize I've filled pages and pages of notebooks effortlessly. It's odd to not bring the ideas I write to life, but they're there. Waiting for a time when I can put these ideas into action.

I didn't think it was possible to have my mind race anymore than it always does. So many thoughts and feelings at all times. This has been pandemic life for me. As I've ended many texts, letters, and musings: #2020whatayear #isitoveryet