A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was annoyed/amused that everyone was complaining about being forced to live my life (I only got to go to the grocery store!! Wahhhhh!). But with Mother’s Day on the horizon, I’m actually finding this to be more and more true. People are grumpy, unhappy, short-tempered and depressed. It is exactly as though they’ve been forced into motherhood without the benefit of having a baby! They have no idea what is going on, the changes seem daily, someone always seems to be yelling about something, wearing a face mask seems like kind of a good idea, and there is no end in sight, except for possibly 18 years in the future. Who knew that motherhood would prepare me for a pandemic?
So, in honor of Mother’s Day, here is what I’ve learned from motherhood that will help you through this:
Your memory is now dead. Don’t feel bad. Just accept it and move on to writing everything down.
You feel strangely stuck in a loop and yet wildly out of control. That’s OK. Start building routines. Set the alarm clock. Get up. Get dressed like an (comfy) adult. And then schedule a time to do something you enjoy – like reading a book or trying something new. Routine helps maintain the feeling that you have some control. Control the things that you can, and try to let everything else go.
Someone always wants something and they all seem to want it at the same damn time. That is some sort cosmic law. However, you cannot do all the things all at once. Which, sadly, is also a cosmic law. So take a breath, pick one thing and do it. You will have to accept that you may always feel like you picked the wrong thing. That’s OK. Just do the one thing and then you can pick the next thing and do it. Later you can point and say, “Look, I did the thing.” and you will feel good about it.
Work out. It sounds like some sort of lame advice from the TV doctor, but it’s still true. Your brain is working over time, but you’re going to have a hard time sleeping if your body isn’t also tired. So give it something to do – go for a walk, do an online class, whatever. You’ll feel like you did a thing (see above) and you’ll feel better.
Other people annoy the shit out of you, which if you’re me was always true, but now you have less patience than ever. That’s normal. You’re like cable internet and someone added three extra devices. Your bandwidth has now been exceeded, you have no more room to put new stress and new thoughts. So, start turning off other devices. Say no to that other Zoom meeting. Say no to whatever sounds the most tiring (except working out, do that anyway) and give yourself some headspace.
Good luck in your personal pandemic zone. Take care of yourself. Remember to breath. And of course, remember to read a book. This week, I’m recommending Shotgun Honey Volume 4: Recoil, an anthology of lean, mean crime fiction featuring my short story Johnny Stills Goes to Atlantic City (or Suzy Makes Cupcakes).