Covid Blues

Because I’ve struggled with depression in the past, I tend to not let myself feel my negative feelings.

As soon as something like sadness creeps into my mind, I run it through a bunch of mental filters until it skims itself right out.

One of the most effective ‘don’t let yourself feel’ filters that I use is the relativity filter.

If someone else has it comparatively worse off than me, then I am not allowed to feel my own sadness.

So far with this whole Covid situation, I’ve not let myself feel sorry for my place in it.

There are people who have lost their loved ones due to Covid. I cannot even imagine that reality.

And then there are all the amazing women I know, who are keeping their heads up and trying not to drown under the weight of their new Covid realities.

I know Moms with four very active children under 11 at home during these times. I know a working Mom with two children who now works a full-time job from her kitchen table, day in and day out, with the kids under her care as well. At night and on weekends, she pursues her Master’s degree.

I know a Mom with two school-aged kids who works at a grocery store and has been juggling childcare for her children while putting herself on the frontline every day. When she’s not making sure people in her community have food to eat, she’s homeschooling her two children. At the end of a busy week of grocery store shifts, her over-washed hand skin literally falls off in sheets.

I know a Mom at home with two kids who is teaching her kids their homeschool programs, running her own company by day, and attending post secondary classes online at night once the kids have gone to bed.

I salute all of these women. I have no idea how they do it.

Because of realities like the ones above, I have not let myself feel my own sadness, and today I just feel like it’s been two bloody months of being resilient and cheery and I can’t fuckkng do it anymore.

To clarify- I Can do everything I Have been doing and I will continue to do so until I can get a job and then life will change all over again- but I just can’t keep pretending Covid hasn’t affected me either.

Here’s my reality.

I have a beautiful 13-month old toddler.

I have a husband that loves me.

I have a home that I’m very happy to have.

My husband was working from home with us for the first three weeks of Covid.

It was awesome.

Then he got called away to a job north of Edmonton, from Monday mornings-Thursday evenings.

That’s when the logistics of my new situation started getting tough.

My mat leave up until Covid had been pretty awesome.

I had joined the gym in Airdrie and had Sadie in childcare three days a week for 1-2 hours at a time.

I was accomplishing new fitness goals, feeling good about myself and most importantly, getting some time to be an adult away from my child.

I had a network of mom friends that I could visit throughout the week.

If the weather was crappy, we would stroll around CrossIron mall, or head to Walmart or Costco for a shop.

My mat leave was up on April 13th, and I had started applying to prospective employers on February 28th.

Then Covid19 happened.

Gone was the gym. The mall. The friend visits. The ability to walk nonchalantly into Walmart with my child.

With Ryan gone for most of the week, I’m alone. A Lot. In a small town where I know no one. In a house with a busy and emotional toddler who was supposed to start dayhome March 16th, but couldn’t because of Covid.

Little things like running out of groceries mid-week become big things. If it’s Tuesday and I haven’t bought enough meat for the week, I’m reheating frozen fish sticks in the microwave and eating them with old tomato soup I found in the fridge. If I want to make muffins to curb some boredom on Monday, I have to wait until Ryan gets home on Friday so that I can leave Sadie safely at home with him and go to the store.

My one big excitement is to go to the grocery store, and I always think it will be great, but then there’s all the directional arrows, security guards and unsmiling people who dart past you suspiciously and it just drains me. But it’s the only time I get to myself all week.

If I’m having a shit mental health day and it’s bad weather, we’re stuck at home now.

I spend her nap times applying for jobs.

I’ve applied for over 100 jobs and have heard Nothing back. Nothing.

I’m applying for jobs during a pandemic, and it’s the worst state our economy has been in in decades. I know this. But it’s still hard some days to not feel rejected. To just keep pumping out resumes and crossing my fingers despite the zero response rate.

I’m lucky to be receiving CERB, but it’s starting to weigh on me that I haven’t been a ‘productive member of society’ since Sadie was 32 weeks in my belly and I went on mat leave.

That’s 15 months of being at home, the last 2 of them being during Covid times on top of it.

My home is a lovely home, and lately I feel like a very isolated prisoner stuck within it.

I know my problems are smaller than most people’s, and I know that I’m very lucky for all the things that I do have.

I also know that’s it okay to not be okay, and that’s why I’m posting this today.

If you’re also feeling like shit during these times, I hear you. I’m with you.

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I Woke Up To a Toddler Today

I had always wondered how that worked.

How long was a baby a baby? When did it become a toddler? What was that process like? Was it gradual- a long, drawn-out affair? Or did it pounce on you like a lion from tall grass?

Well, this morning, I woke up to a toddler.

I had seen the signs coming for weeks. It has teeth now, 7 of them in fact, and they’re all garishly large and disorderly.

It has a pot belly where it used to have a flat tummy, and its fingers are of the chubbiest quality that Hansel and Gretel’s witch could only dream of.

It says a few words here and there, or iterations of words that its parents can understand, such as ‘Buh’ for bird. ‘Ah Duh’ for all done. ‘Daddo’, fairly self-explanatory. It even does an adorable fake cry when it’s angry sometimes.

I have seen all the parts coming along, but today Sadie become the whole.

The whole toddler package, in all of its glory.

She woke up at 8:30, and I was exhausted by 11:00 am.

It started with the back deck.

Babies can wait. When you have a nice little baby, and you need to pressure wash the bird poo off the deck after the winter, and finally take down your Christmas lights adorning the deck rails, and put up a baby gate so the baby doesn’t fall down the deck stairs, and patch up that one rotten board on the deck that broke last summer that can now fit a size 10 shoe through it… the baby has no goddamn idea these things exist, and when it naps, you can fix them.

This morning, Sadie saw sun, and the dog, on the deck, and she wanted to be there too.

Baby Sadie would have been content to sit at the glass door and watch the deck from inside.

Toddler Sadie stood up and banged on the door repeatedly, and being 100% bored of my house’s interior, I acquiesced.

How bad could it be?

First, she dragged her cute little jeans all over the bird poo/dust on the deck and dirtied ’em up real good.

Then, she made a beeline for the size-10-shoe-sized-death-trap-full-of-jagged-wood-splinters hole in the deck boards.

I lovingly steered her towards her water table on the opposite side of the porch, where she splashed around for 6 minutes and thoroughly soaked her cute little shirt.

As soon as I glanced down at my phone, she made a beeline for the death trap again.

And again, and again, and again, until I dragged her water table over it and covered it.

Then she discovered the baby-gate-less stairs down to the yard.

So we practiced her going up and down the stairs about 14 times (there are 10 stairs).

Every time I tried to lovingly redirect her away from the puddles of mud at the bottom of said stairs, I got one of those adorable fake cries I thought were so cute, before today.

Finally got her back on the deck, dragged our patio furniture storage trunk across the top of the stairs and blocked them. Makeshift baby gate, and a perfect fit! Voila!

Then I turn around.

See that toddler Sadie is busily unpinning all of the Christmas lights on the porch railings one by one and wearing the string of lights as a giant necklace. Creative- and helping Ryan and I with our outdoor to-do list! Nice!

After some more crying, she had a nap and it was time for snacks and a walk.

I’ve always said there’s a certain way I’m Never going to dress my child, and I’m Always going to use washable Norwex cloths to wipe her face and hands after she eats, Never with diaper wipes.

And then I fed angry toddler Sadie an open-face peanut butter on bread and tried to wipe her face after with a Norwex cloth. Much squallering. I gave up. Came at it later with a diaper wipe when it was crusted over and she was happy so I got a quick chance.

For the walk, it was very sunny, so I put Sadie in an SPF 50 long-sleeved shirt from Walmart and the only sunhat she won’t rip off her head.

Somewhere along the walk, I turned around to look at my baby girl in her sunscreen-stained hideous pink train conductor hat with peanut butter smeared all over her face, her little potbelly jutting out of her brightly colored hideous Walmart shirt that says ‘Purr-maid’ on it with a cat dressed up as a mermaid, her dirt-stained jeans, and her hand-me-down ripped up sneakers- and I thought ‘this is it.’

She is officially a toddler, and I am officially a toddler Mom.