Yesterday I was 24 years old with a budding career, new marriage and quite the social life. But this morning I woke up in my mid-thirties with three rambunctious kids, backpacks full of papers awaiting my signature and filthy kitchen floors.
The past decade has quite honestly felt like a blur. Like 10 years of survival mode. In those 10 years we’ve lived in 5 houses in 3 states, welcomed 3 kids and worked our way up to multiple career promotions. We witnessed countless loved ones say, “I do”, taken memorable trips, said goodbye to dear grandparents and endured a once-in-a-century pandemic. There was so much life lived and loved and lost. And I think I was there for it but now that I’m coming out of the fog of sleeplessness, diapers, bottles and toddler-chasing all I can think is,
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
WHO AM I?
HOW DID I GET HERE?
I have simply been putting in my best effort day in and day out without looking at the future for an entire decade. I’ve neglected myself and my marriage probably most of all because they’ll survive…right? At the end of the day if I gave everyone else who relied on me everything they needed, I did it in the name of love and called it good.
When the pandemic hit almost two years ago I was in my young thirties with 2, 4 and 7 year olds. I was still in survival mode. I used Target and the playground as escapes to get out of the house and then suddenly…we were trapped. Nowhere safe to go, no one safe to see and no way to break up our days. In fact, when I read my past blog post about how hard it was to manage snow days while working and handling kids, it is now laughable. A few days a year with your kids home while you work from home? “HA! Try THIS!” said the universe inserting a global pandemic.
That’s why I haven’t written in over a year. What I thought was survival mode turned into WE MIGHT NOT SURVIVE mode. And now the fog is lifting. All eligible members of our family are vaccinated. We have so much more knowledge about Covid-19 and how to treat it. We have returned to nearly-normal activity and school schedules. I no longer have anyone in diapers. I sleep through the night 75% of the time. The intensely compounded fog of my first decade of motherhood and the pandemic are lifting for the first time and I don’t recognize anything around me.
I am trying to put one foot in front of the other. Find a moment to soak in each day. To be present in whatever I’m doing. But I, like the rest of the world, am scrambling to remember where it is I was going with that. I’m not sure if being in your mid-thirties is super hard or if it’s whatever age you are when your last child gets out of diapers that’s super hard, but you kind of wake up one day, rested wondering what to do next.
Now that my people shower themselves, occasionally feed themselves, go to regular kid school and can be dropped off at activities and picked up after, I have found myself with more physical hours in my day. The mental exhaustion is still there but without the physical exhaustion of waking, feeding, changing, brushing, bathing, etc.. an entire human (or 3), I am coming back to…me. Whoever that is anymore.
Kind of like this post, I don’t really know what that means or where I’m going with it. But in case you’re feeling all icky and uncomfortable and unsure all the time right now too, know you’re not alone. I hope to start writing more as a start.