This past week, my family had to rearrange our schedule that we’d worked hard to establish for the last month (you can read about it here). My husband is a high school teacher and they’re requiring a lot more meetings and live classes. I see the importance of this, but it’s also put more pressure on our family. We’re extremely grateful to be able to work from home, but it means we’re in a continual state of busyness—something I’ve tried not to have in our family dynamic. I like strong boundaries between work time and family time. When you are doing it all at the same time, people get edgy and resentful (at least this is the case in my home). I keep reminding myself this is a crisis and it’s temporary, but the longer this goes on, it’s apparent that it’s going to be a long process. One that I’m going to have to continue to work on and tweak so that our family doesn’t feel too strained.
We are going to make a temporarily office space in our bedroom because there is a door with a lock on it. That way, the parent who needs to work can hide out in there. For now, we don’t have that and I’m trying to work in my office that’s in our landing space. It’s not ideal. Everyone is shuffling past me, I can hear the entire house. It’s hard to focus. I’ve been wearing my AirPods the entire time, listening to music and podcasts to help drown out the noise. It’s not perfect but it’s getting me by.
Here’s what has gotten me by this past week:
- How To Fail: “Alain De Botton on Embracing Vulnerability in the Age of Coronavirus”: I love writer and philosopher Alain De Botton. He brings me such comfort and perspective. I’m currently reading his novel, “The Course of Love” and really enjoying it. His take on the times we’re in made me feel better about the various thoughts and emotions I’ve been experiencing. I also loved his talk, “The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships” on On Being.
- NPR’s Life Kit “This Is A Good Time To Start A Garden. Here’s How”: In the previously mentioned podcast, Alain De Botton talks about why older people tend to like gardening. He says it’s often that they have been through tough times, and tough times help us to stop and appreciate nature. I’ve been drawn to gardening right now and I found this episode helpful for newbies like me. Also, I’ve been implementing a tip from my dad: take a morning walk in your garden space. Make it a habit. That’s how you will become familiar with your plants, the sun, the bugs, etc. Sometimes my dad and I will walk through my little yard together on FaceTime, and it’s kind of my favorite thing.
- “Light of Love” by Florence + The Machine: There’s just something about Florence that feels like a warm hug. Her music and poetry are some of my favorites. She recently released a new song that didn’t make it on to her album that is like an anthem for the times. If you’re not following her book club, Between Two Books, I highly recommend that, too.
“Well, the feeling was always too much for me
It always came too strong
I wanted to get it right so badly that I always got it wrong
So you keep pushing on
You hope it won’t be long
‘Til you can find the child you were
And find a way to get along”
- “Hold On” by John Lennon: When I feel down in the dumps, I rely on John Lennon’s music and words to help lift me up. This song has been on repeat this week. Its message is resonating deeply.
And there’s no one else
You just have yourself
And you tell yourself
Just to hold on
World hold on, it’s gonna be alright
You’re gonna see the light”
- “Friends” by Francis and the Lights feat. Bon Iver: I’ve been going for aimless car drives where I roll down all the windows and blast music. The feeling of the wind and sound blowing past me is therapy. This song is perfect for it.
- My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh: I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now and I decided to do the audiobook because it’s narrated by Julia Whelan (I loved her reading of Educated). This book was complicated for me. It’s very dark humor and depressing. The characters aren’t very likable. However, I liked it all the same. Julia has the perfect voice for the main character.