How Our Editors Are Letting Go During the Pandemic

When I was just a kid, I would dread when my mom would hand me a pile of clothes to put away or a rag to dust surfaces around the house. I remember more than one occasion I shoved toys, books, etc. under my bed or in the closet to avoid her wrath. However, despite my hatred for chores as a kid, I’ve recently found myself yelling at my kids to put away their toys or nagging my husband about the consistent placement of his dirty socks on the floor.

I often take pride in holding myself to high standards, but for the past few months, even I have had to admit doing all the chores, cooking, and parenting while the world is on fire has not been possible (or even feasible) for me.

 

I often take pride in holding myself to high standards, but for the past few months, even I have had to admit doing all the chores, cooking, and parenting while the world is on fire has not been possible (or even feasible) for me.

 

In fact, before the pandemic, there were certain things that I just would not budge on as a parent. Our family ate mostly home-cooked meals, limited screen-time, and had a chore list we stuck to. I generally tried to avoid being on the phone in front of my kids, but due to a new job (and a lack of childcare) my phone has practically fused with my hand as I try to manage work calls and keep in touch with family during this nerve-wracking time. This year we have ordered more takeout and let the dishes pile in the sink more than I’d like to admit. My husband and I are trying to put our energy toward keeping the kids alive and happy, while doing our best to also get work done.

Still, I have to remind myself that it’s OK not to do everything. Which is what inspired me to chat with my fellow editors at The Everymom for some solidarity and see what they’re also letting go to make it through these pandemic days. Here’s what they said.

 

 

Letting Go of the Laundry Pile(s)

As I write this, there are currently three loads of clean but unfolded laundry outside of this room. One is scattered atop a chair in the family room, a second is sitting in a laundry basket getting more wrinkled by the day, and a third is still in the dryer waiting to be removed. All three have been there longer than I care to admit but not actually long enough for me to really care.

 

As I write this, there are currently three loads of clean but unfolded laundry outside of this room.

 

I think I may be onto something with this whole just selecting clean clothes every morning from one of the miscellaneous piles strewn about the house instead of actually making the climb up the stairs to my kids’ closets. Good thing we never have company anymore. 

 

 

Choosing Rest

While I wouldn’t consider myself the most organized person, I do try to keep my home somewhat tidy. My toddler is currently at the age where she’s getting into everything and the minute she steps into a room it turns into a hot mess. While I’d love to teach her to put away her toys (we’re working on it!), I’m not letting myself get too annoyed or stressed out about the constant mess around the house.

 

 

At the end of the day, part of me wants to make everything orderly, but the other part of me wants to relax on the couch. I’m letting go of striving for constant organization and am allowing myself to rest at the end of the day.

 

 

Redefining Family Dinner

During a particularly stressful workday for my husband, I told him not to worry, I would take care of dinner that night. I’d finally cashed in a gift card to a meal delivery service and was planning to prepare an easy and healthy recipe to be ready for our family by the time he hung up his final call of the day. When he came home from work—meaning he came around the corner into the kitchen from the desk we’ve set up as his at-home office—he saw countertops littered with dirty pans and heard me snap at my dog and my kids while trying to prep the “easy” recipe.

As a result of that mealtime fail, we’ve decided to let go of sitting down to family dinners every night. While I still think connecting after our work and school days is important, it doesn’t mean the four of us need to sit around the table for an elaborate dinner. After the one-millionth meal at home, some nights need to be counter-service leftovers or nuggets and fries paired with a cold cup of chocolate milk. 

 

 

Choosing Productivity Over Strict Schedules

I used to be diligent about taking showers as soon as I woke up, or to at least work out right away and then shower before the day started. I know for some, getting into work clothes and having a routine is really helpful, but once I let go of that, I started to get more done.

 

 

If I don’t judge myself for staying in sweatpants all day, I can get up at 7 a.m. and get to it, instead of feeling pressure to accomplish something before the actual tasks I have for the day. It doesn’t mean I don’t shower, but now I’m more likely to shower in the evening, or skip a day. I just throw on some deodorant and move on. 

 

 

Shifting Daily Expectations

Like so many, I lost my childcare this year. In between corralling a toddler, orchestrating remote learning, and ensuring we don’t live in a pigsty, my writing time has gone from a daytime affair to a middle-of-the-night venture. There are plenty of ‘nights’ I don’t crawl into bed until 3 a.m. And though it once felt critical to set an alarm and have everyone dressed and eating breakfast by 7:30 a.m., these days we’re finding a new, slightly messy routine: Some days we eat brunch, some days we stay in our PJ’s, and some days school begins in the afternoon.

 

Though it once felt critical to set an alarm and have everyone dressed and eating breakfast by 7:30 a.m., these days we’re finding a new, slightly messy routine: Some days we eat brunch, some days we stay in our PJ’s, and some days school begins in the afternoon.

 

In this pandemic world, my internal motto for battling parenthood perfection has become, ‘who cares?’ And truly, who does? 

 

 

Embracing the Slow Down

Before 2020, I basically lived in a constant state of overwhelm due to a jam-packed schedule and felt I had to be “on” 24/7. It was exhausting. But when I was forced to throw out my calendar (both literally and figuratively), I relished in some much-needed relaxation time. I have since learned it’s OK to just be present and let go of the “go, go, go” of our daily lives. And, I’ve stopped feeling guilty for simply doing nothing.

I definitely have moments of boredom while spending so much time at home (don’t we all?) but I’ve learned an important lesson on slowing down that, frankly, I never knew I needed. When life gets back to ‘normal’ again, I’ll appreciate moments of calm when they come so much more. 

 

Read More: How 2020 Has Helped Me Let Go of Control

 

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