Do you remember way back when 2019 was ending and we had the biggest dreams and aspirations for our 2020 year to come? Then we started our year and it took just a few weeks into the year to realize that when you wrote down your goals you had for yourself and your family, in reality it sorta feels like you just pissed off and challenged mother nature and mankind as a whole? Remember when you prayed for God to help strengthen your marriage, somehow help guide you to find more time to be with your daughter, and to help focus your heart and soul on the things that matter and to better you as a person? – Yeah that was me, I prayed for those things, and naivety had me thinking change would come easy. Oh silly me. –
So it’s now June 2020. Half of this year has quickly, and ever so slowly passed and is now behind me. But have I spent these last months wisely? Have I aggressively still gone after my goals and focused my heart on God and my family? In spite of a global pandemic, weeks of illness, challenges upon challenges far greater than I anticipated rising, have I let this year be my downfall? Or have I allowed the trials of this year to make me stronger? Have allowed my circumstances to change my perspective for the better? Have I taken advantage of the extra time with my daughter to be a better mom? Have I made the most of the time with my husband and worked on our marriage even though I didn’t think we needed work? Have I taken this time working from home to double down and put in as much effort as possible to be a good employee? Have I taken my extra time that I am no longer spending on my commute to cook more, start a blog, and exercise more instead of being lazy and binge watch The Office for an eleventh time?
Here is my perspective of the last 6 months, and how I have changed – For what I truly believe is for the better –
I Prayed For More Time With My Daughter
Do you know how you pray for things like Patience without realizing the way to get more patient is to be challenged with circumstances in which to practice patience? Yeah… Well at the beginning of the year I prayed for more time with my daughter. I have a full time job as an associate producer for a little production company that I love more than any other job in any other field I have ever worked. I found my dream job, by accident. (That will be a blog post one day. The story of my now boss who said “No way, I am not hiring her” to his wife and now I have worked for him for 4 years and he and his wife are seriously some of my closest friends.) Right, my daughter…more time….I wanted more time with her. Somehow. I felt guilty for working. I still do sometimes, but that feeling quickly fades into pride about what I am accomplishing as a working mom, and what I am teaching her about going after your dreams.
When we were first told by our state governor to stay home for two weeks, a part of me was terrified, but a little spark was ignited because that meant I GET two weeks of around the clock time with my mini me! I got what I was praying for, in the weirdest round about way I would never have imagined. That was months ago. I am still getting around the clock time with her and I am so thankful for every moment of it. Figuring out how to work from home while she is with me has been a little bit of a challenge. Michael works upstairs at his desk, that is in Zoe’s room, and I work downstairs at the kitchen table. Zoe takes turns going upstairs to play in her room, and coming downstairs watching movies, and playing with her toys down here.
Don’t get me wrong. This has been challenging to say the least. I am often walking away from my desk and computer to tend to her needs. Getting more snacks, reading stories, filling her water cup, getting her more snacks, turning frozen 2 on for the seventh time, etc. So working 8 hour days can take 12-16 hours some days. But I have been oddly given the gift of more time with her, that I would NOT trade for anything. She has grown and changed so much in the last six months and I have been given a front row seat to a lot of the things I would have missed if I was not home with her.
Allow yourself to grow
We are creatures of habit. We like routine. Even if your routine is messed up and a little wacky, we like them, and get a little frazzled when they are changed. Especially if the reason is, oh I don’t know, a global pandemic. I don’t thrive in stressful situations, but I am not the one running around screaming frantically. I have a tendency to look at stressful situations in a weird way, that I am learning is a survival skill brought on by trauma. When shit gets hard and life becomes suffocating I look back on my life and sorta compare my current trial to past ones. Because I have been through worse, I have survived, I have lived through trauma, unspeakable pain and loss, and fear, In a weird way I have trained for this. Not exactly Covid-19, but I have trained for the worst case scenario. When life gets hard, you have the opportunity to grow. To become stronger. To be more bad-ass than you already are mama! Don’t hide from the challenges that you are facing today, no matter how severe they are, because you were made for more than your fears to consume you.
I am not suggesting that you run into danger in the name of growth. I am challenging you to accept the trials that come into your life because they are opportunities to make you a better person. A stronger person. A person with experience that you can later share with someone who has not yet faced similar trials. Allow yourself to be knocked down, but only to evaluate how you want to pick yourself back up. Don’t live in the pit that life can throw you into. Get back up and grow!
Am I being the best employee I could be?
This one has been a question that just hovers in my head daily. Am I failing my boss, my team, our company, our audience? Is my job of being a mother screwing up my career? (I know how crazy that sounds, but that’s my head sometimes.) How can I make sure I am putting in my hours that are productive and beneficial to my to do list? How do I let my boss and his partner know that I am struggling, but also doing my very best at the same time without them thinking I don’t care?
I work around the clock. Haha. No, not glued to my computer, and no not with undivided attention, but I am doing my very best to make sure my list of things are getting done, that I am encouraging to my team with the things they are getting done, and now driving out to the studio once a week to shoot the shows I cannot shoot from my living room. We are making it work. I am getting my job done and adapting to the weird hours of working from home.
While working from home we started a new show that I wrote, shot and produced solo from my living room, then sent all of the footage to our editor. That is something I never thought I could do. I never thought I had the skills and patience to do this without my team in the same room. But, I am. Staring fear and doubt in myself dead in the eye and doing it anyway. I am not confident about being in front of a camera. I have been trained to be the one shooting, not the one being shot with a camera. So it has taken me years to not visibly shake when it’s my turn to read the teleprompter. Face your fears, and grow.
Give your marriage the attention it deserves
I have been married to my best friend, my one and only, for just over six years as of May 2020. We dated for six years before we got married, and I have known him since I was four. We only ever dated each other, and for a few years before we started dating, he was my actual best friend. We talked every single day. When we were not yet allowed to date, we would drag my little sister, and his younger brother with us on “not dates”.
We have been doing this whole marriage thing for six years, and doing it pretty well I thought. But is “pretty well” what I want to really be going for? Or do I want my marriage to be filled with Passion, Forgiveness, Communication, Respect, Fun, Growth, Adventure, and LIFE? Yeah, sign me up for that version please! So that’s what we did. We changed from passively co-existing together to passionately experiencing this journey together. Nothing happened to us that made us go stale. We just got comfortable not actively pursuing each other,and if I am being 100% honest, it was even more so me not pursuing him. Yeah, life gets busy, we both work, we are both raising the world’s sassiest human, we are tired. But those were excuses we were comfortable with using.
So we decided that was enough and we were going back to our dating life, but better! We are actively seeking out one another and focusing more on us and it’s been AMAZING. I had no idea that we had allowed our life to get “boring”? Maybe boring is not the right word, but we got complacent and that is not okay with either of us. I love that he has never given up on me. He has held my hand and carried me through trauma. He has been patient with my mental health, and has encouraged me to chase after my goals while supporting and cheering me on every step of the way. He is kind, patient, loving, caring and strong. He works harder than anyone I know. He is always looking for ways to provide for our family. Yet still takes the time to do the things he crazy wife and wild daughter want to do.
I am so lucky and beyond blessed to have the man he is next to me on life’s journey. There is no one I would ever want to share myself with, than him.
Staying Socially Distant…for my daughter. Everyone else can deal. Sorry, NOT Sorry.
Summer time for us is normally filled with family cookouts, friend trips to the zoo, late night bonfires, driving to a nearby weekend getaways, and vacations. Hah. This summer is not going to look like that for us. I am not sure which side of the scale you rest on when it comes to Covid-19 and socializing, but for us we are aggressively leaning on the side of caution, for not only the sake of others, but for our daughter. She was 4 months old the first time she was hospitalized with RSV. Over Christmas that year we spent several days watching her struggling to breathe. Waving in and out of respiratory distress. at FOUR MONTHS OLD. That was one of the hardest things I have ever lived through. Helpless watching her oxygen levels plunge into scary levels, and her breathing became labored. She couldn’t cry. She couldn’t get enough air to cry.
She couldn’t cry, besides when the had to place her IV in the ER. I held her down in the little crib touching my forehead to hers trying to reassure my baby I was right there, and the nurses were helping her. My tears poured from my eyes and landed on her cheeks as they met up with the trail of her own and fell to the crib sheet. I held her down while she screamed her FIRST audible “mom”. Even the nurse looked at me and said “Did you hear that?” as shocked as I was she asked me if she had ever said that before. No. She hadn’t. The nurse gave me the most empathetic look knowing that forever her first audible “mom” was while I was pinning her down for her own good to fight to get her to breathe.
I vowed in that moment I would do everything and anything to prevent us from ever being back in that place. We were never going back to the respiratory distress that I saw her in for those days in the hospital. My heart couldn’t take another one of those visits.
So when we have been asked to join birthday parties, outdoor family events, hanging out with a larger than 10 group of people, or going out “just to get out” with my daughter, my head goes back to her laying in the ER pleading with me to make them stop. To help her breathe. To make it stop. And my chest gets tight, and my eyes fill with tears. I have to respond with a respectful decline. I know that we may be overly cautious. We may be the crazy ones who don’t come out of the house for the rest of the year to party, or socialize. We may be the weirdos who skip her 2nd birthday party because that’s too many people we can’t control the variables with.
We are the ones who aren’t sending her back to daycare for probably the rest of this year, because I vowed to her and myself we would do EVERYTHING in our power to avoid that type of trauma, ever, again. If she gets covid-19, Yes, there is a chance she is asymptomatic, there is a chance she won’t get it, and there is a chance we are way overacting. BUT. What if we aren’t? What if she does get it? What if her already compromised lungs cannot fight off the virus? What id that couple day visit in the hospital with RSV will seem like a cakewalk compared to what Covid-19 could do to her little body? That is not a risk I am willing to take. I am not gambling with her life to see anyone. I don’t care who gets offended about this, because it’s my daughters life on the line.
Don’t wish this year away
I am thankful for the trials we have faced so far this year. They have already made me stronger, more brave, more direct, assertive, confident, empowered, and determined to keep going. I am personally accomplishing goals I had made for myself years ago. All it took was a pandemic to get y butt in gear. So I am thankful. I started standing up for myself, for my family, and for my mental health. I have pissed off some people, and lost some friendships over it too. Has that sucked? Oh my gosh yes. But am I really going to live my life based off of what someone else wants of me instead of my own goals? Hell no! Have I been empowered to find my worth, know who I am, and who I have been called to be? Yes! Am I going to lose that passion? Not if I can help it! So no, I am not wishing this year to go by faster. I am not wishing for anything bit for this new found fire in my soul to keep raging! I like this version of myself!