I say this to my kids so often and while it may apply to what colour jelly bean you get, it definitely doesn’t apply to major life changes.
Here’s a little life update to let you know why I am actually upset with what I got, or WAS upset as is the case.
Embracing new opportunities
Last year I started working with a very good friend of mine, managing social media accounts for corporates. I did it for fun at first as a way to help her with the workload but as I got into it, I really enjoyed what I was doing and we worked SO well together. Towards the end of last year we decided to formalise our arrangement and so she re-branded her existing company and we called our new baby Context. We did a brand shoot, started advertising our business and really threw ourselves into things. It felt AMAZING! And here’s why, for the first time in YEARS, I was working again. Proper working with clients and deadlines and work that required me to think creatively on a regular basis. It was mentally stimulating, personally gratifying and financially rewarding. I loved it!
Finding my feet
2020 started off wonderfully. For the first time, my girls were on the same term schedule which meant that from 8am-1pm from Mon – Fri, my time was my own. I started going to the gym in the mornings, getting my grocery shopping out of the way then coming home to get some work in. Some days I met friends for coffee, some days I watched Netflix until it was time to fetch the girls. My time was my own, and I had found a balance between working and still being an available and present mum to my kids. Life was good. Our business was flourishing and we had new clients signing on every month.
Perhaps most importantly, for the first time in 7 years, I was contributing financially to our family on a monthly basis. This is one of those things that you sacrifice when you become a stay at home mum. Even though you are contributing greatly in non-monetary ways, having that money coming in just added to my feeling of self worth even though my husband has never for a second made me feel as if I need to contribute financially in any way. It was my own hang up and I loved that I had a steady paycheck now.
Then Covid-19 happened
No-one could have predicted a global pandemic. How is this even our real life and not a movie script? The coronavirus has had devastating and far reaching effects. The way it affected me personally is that I suddenly didn’t have the mornings to work anymore. The kids were home and we had school lessons to go through. Our helper no longer came in to clean twice a week which meant time had to be allocated to those chores. I was cooking every day because take-out was no longer safe or even available. Life happened and it happened so fast that my head was spinning. It got to the point where I had to accept that I just could not work on weekdays. By the time the girls went to bed I was too tired to think creatively and create content for clients so instead I started working on weekends.
From 9am-9pm I worked. Every weekend. This meant that there was no day when we were together as a family. Either I was on parenting duty or Jarrod was.
The resentment set in
I was angry. I was angry that I had FINALLY started working again and found some semblance of independence only to have the rug ripped out from under me. I was angry that I had to become a teacher overnight when I’m not the most patient person. I was angry that I had to now also be a full time cleaner and cook. I was angry that my year had started off so full of possibility and now life was knocking me back into the role of full time stay at home mum. I was angry and I had nowhere to direct that anger and no-one to blame. Who do you blame for a killer virus? How can you complain about washing dishes when people are losing their family members? Then our clients started feeling the strain of a prolonged lockdown and our business started taking hits.
The last straw was when we decided to keep the girls at home indefinitely and homeschool them. Well, WE decided but I would be the one in charge of teaching them. Again another sacrifice that I was forced to make. I fell into a well of self pity.
A change in perspective
I am generally a positive person so even though I feel sad and angry like everyone else, these feelings rarely stay for long. Slowly I started to focus on the good things instead of the bad. My girls were home and safe with me every day. We didn’t have to wake up early and sit in traffic for an hour. I got to see which subjects they excelled at and which needed more attention. My girls play together from morning to night and I get to watch them become the best of friends. Another much treasured gift is that I get to see my husband throughout the day and have coffee dates outside in the garden every now and then.
My standards in terms of cleaning took a knock but in turn I had more time to read novels and build puzzles. I found joy in the new normal and that changed my resentment into acceptance and gratitude. Nothing had changed in my actual life except my own perspective on things.
A change in direction
Unfortunately, I have had to step down as a co-owner of our little business. It wasn’t fair for me to stay on as a partner because I was just not carrying my weight in terms of finding new clients and boosting the business. I only have so much to give and right now, my family needs most of that. So my wonderfully talented friend is now running the business on her own and doing a stellar job of it. This has lifted an incredible weight off my shoulders just by having one less thing that requires my attention.
Yes, I will miss working, Yes, I will miss getting paid for that hard work and Yes, I will miss feeling like a more rounded person. But I am now excited for this new direction my life has taken on. I’m looking forward to homeschooling our girls and shaping their curriculum around their interests and strengths. I cant wait for the day when it is safe to travel again so that we can take advantage of the freedom we have without school terms tying us down.
So no, you get what you get and you can ABSOLUTELY get upset. But then you need to get past that and see the positives in your situation so that you can make the best of it. Life happens and there’s no point in dwelling on the negative. Instead, see the gifts that you have been given and shape your life around that instead.