Team JugglingNormal Q&A: How are you doing?

We decided to try something new this week – a quick rundown from a few of us on one simple question: How are you doing? We are all dealing with a paradigm shift, and no matter how well we’re handling it all, it is hard. So, just know we are all doing it at our homes too.

“How are you?”  – Sara

Sara

How many of us have asked this of our friends, family, colleagues in the last few weeks? How many of you have been asked this? Probably most. It’s important to feel that connection. We answer back with “good,” “ok,” “hanging in there,” or possibly with some funny meme of a whole bottle of wine being poured into a giant glass. Or maybe that’s just me.

But how am I really dealing with this whole social distancing thing and stay at home orders? I’ll be honest – shitty. I feel a bit manic actually; one minute I’m all positive about spending all this happy wonderful together time, and the next I’m biting the heads off kittens.

On a good day, pre-COVID, I don’t really do any of my jobs well. I work full time as a pre-tenured university professor, with anywhere between 50 and 100 students every semester. I am also mom to a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old. I am room parent for my daughter’s kindergarten classroom (or was, I guess); I stay home with my 3-year-old every Friday. Therefore, I spend about 25 hours per week on my job, where it should be about 40-50 hours. I also constantly feel like I’m neglecting my job as a parent. See, not well on a good day. Now, I feel like I am barely staying afloat. I took my 50 students online in a week, while also getting things set up for my daughter to do distance learning. Today for 2 hours, I barely breathed between keeping her going with her online learning, while also making sure the whiney 3-year-old did NOT draw on the carpet with marker (I failed). I told my husband we may have to rethink how we handle the distance learning supervision portion. Yesterday, he didn’t check on her for 2 hours while I taught my class via Zoom and he was with the 3-year-old. She finished one subject. Out of 4. In two hours. So I spent my “work” time that afternoon helping her finish. Cue the fun spousal argument.

So how am I handling? Well, I drink more. I know, this is so cliché. But I do. Two glasses of wine won’t kill me. Hopefully. And that pina colada my husband made me last night was delicious. I ventured out of the house two weeks ago to buy a case of wine at Costco (Costco prosecco is honestly amazing). And 4 kinds of cheese. And chocolate covered almonds. Speaking of chocolate, I keep secret Trader Joe’s milk chocolate with hazelnuts in my closet. For late night illicit snacking while I finish Tiger King. That’s how I’m handling this.

I’m also handling it through hugs. I give both babies huge hugs very first thing in the morning, before they can annoy me. Like long-lasting rib crushers. Along with hugs, I probably yell more. I am more agitated – like this morning when I was on with my university’s IT department for an hour; everyone got yelled at (and then everyone received an apology), poor things. To deal with that, I’m actually going on more solo walks and even working out in the basement for quick 20-minute ventures. I try to take a shower, at least on days I teach my classes via Zoom. I even shaved my legs. Last week. I am not here to tell you “try this!” “Do that!” “Be happy and embrace the experience.” That is not me, and I have no business telling people what to do and how to live right now. I’ll be honest. I hate this. Just like you do. Let’s not pretend it’s a great opportunity to spend all this family time and get some scrapbooking done. It’s hard. It’s messy. And it’s what we have to do.

How are things? – Jaime

Jaime

I’ve been checking in on my siblings and friends every few days, and my parents and in-laws pretty much daily. I am not working much for now (thankfully) and have the time to help my kids with all of the new technology that has been thrown at them. My middle (2nd grader) started last week needing almost constant help with school stuff online. By Friday, we were down to every 10-20 minutes of him asking me for help with something. Progress.

Do you have your kids all doing school in the same room? I’ve seen all kinds of pictures of friends doing this – and I think they’re all crazy. My kids range from preschool to high school, and I have separated all of them. The oldest is working at her desk in her room for the most part, but I mandated that any video calls need to be done from downstairs, and she has taken over my office during those times. The middle started working from the dining room table, but we found a desk for him over the weekend, knowing that we have another month of this or possibly more. And the little is floating around the house, coloring and writing at the kitchen table, playing in her room or the family room and joining in on PE and other activities when she can.

I have now been home with my kids for three weeks, and we have a month more (at a minimum) to go. I love my kids – and I’m tired. It is hard! I am getting plenty of sleep and keeping up with all the things, but cooking and putting all the meals together every day is exhausting! That said, as much as my kids still miss their friends, they are able to video chat and work on assignments together and that helps immensely. It’s not the same as playing in person – but it is better than no contact at all! I have also done a couple of Zoom happy hours with friends, and it is amazing how much one hour on a group video chat lifts your spirits. My friends are scattered all over the country – we should have started doing this years ago! So, how are things? I can’t complain – my kids are figuring out new technology, playing together and fighting (just like normal) and while we’re all struggling with this “new normal” we know that eventually it will end. And hopefully I’ll still have a weekly video chat happy hour with friends. It’s the best!

How are you? – Kristi

Kristi

Kristi writes for JugglingNormal.com and Medium. This article first appeared in full here, and is republished in part below.

I wake up fired up, motivated, and crush it. I have a zillion Zoom calls and do what I can do every day to make the world a better place.

I make all the kid’s meals as healthy as can be, work out with the family, walk the dog, schedule time to see sunrises and sunsets, and check on friends, family, colleagues, and clients.

There are a lot of haters out there calling it productivity porn, actively despising the fixers.

I coach all day, on business, life, motherhood, and happiness, in between homeschooling and face masks. I’m trying to do all the things, not because I’m trying to prove something, but because under stress, I like to see tangible progress. I prefer to inspire others and stay in motion.

I also drink half a bottle of red a couple (or few) nights a week, but that’s the beauty of being an adult. We can find our path forward, and we don’t have to justify it to anyone.

The opportunity is to love on your family a little more, to re-evaluate what’s working in your life or not, to decide what you want and move towards it, to press reset and consider your family’s consumption, habits, and mindset and ask “is it still working or are we on cruise control?”

We’ve been home for more than three weeks with three kids, two jobs, and a dog, and it’s hard. It’s hard because of all the obvious reasons and because we are typically a family on the go. We’ve been traveling for the entirety of our marriage. Experiences are our splurges, and not having a trip on the books is hugely disconcerting.

But, it also gives us time to ask important questions and be still. So that’s where we are, balancing what we have with what we must postpone, contemplating life in the meantime.

I posted this on FB and I wasn’t trying to be a jerk or a role model, I was simply sharing our approach. What I didn’t say was we also are drinking too much wine, contemplating “corona cuts” (buzz cut for the boys), and are yelling more often. That’s implied, isn’t it? Aren’t we all?

#familygoals lately

The Big 3 = sunrises, sunsets, dog walks

Now or Never = potty-training, puppy-training, sleep-training

Might as Well = paint touchup, yard prep, garage organization, closet cleanout, pantry system

Biz Mgmt = editorial calendar, onboarding system, client appreciation, bonus value, cash flow

Budget = credit cards, savings, mortgage, spending, investments

Quality of Life = health, wellness, communication, self-care, sleep, fun, anticipation, nutrition, calm, grace

Now is also a time to be tender-hearted and accept others for who they are and deliver what they need. It’s a time to shelter in place and surrender to your humanity. And, if you are a fixer, like me, you’ve got to stay in motion. You’ve got to help and save and coach and fix and give. That doesn’t mean you are running from something, avoiding stillness, or faking it. It just means you have your way of dealing with things too.

All of us are dealing with this in our own way. Some of us are working out like crazy; some of us are eating our face off. Some of us are taking care of everyone; some of us are isolating. I’m soaking up as much of the good stuff as I can. Can’t get enough good stuff.

How are you? – Kelly

Kelly is a wife and mom of 2 who writes in her spare time at jugglingnormal.com and realbestlife.com

I am making it through each day.

If you’re making it through right now you should just throw yourself a little end-of-day party. A little dance, 5 minutes of quiet appreciation, that tv show you want to watch, a glass of wine, some yummy herb tea – anything to remind yourself that you deserve a treat. Because you made it. Go you. Proud of you.

Check out other Team JugglingNormal Group Q&A topics, on our Group Q&A Page!

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