Just one cup of coffee. That’s all I want. I just want to finish one cup of coffee. Then, I would love to sit down and write, write, write.
But here we are… working from home, schooling from home. Reheating and drinking the same cup of coffee a hundred times. It’s nearly impossible to do anything “as usual.” Teaching, research, and service look different now.
On top of that, we are helping our son, Anthony, learn while at home. He isn’t old enough to go to school, but he does miss his former activities. Instead of swimming class or trips to the library, we take walks and look for birds, squirrels, ants, and rollie pollies. We listen to the birds chirp, dogs bark, and planes fly overhead. The texture of a tree’s bark and the shape of a rock are now topics of conversation.
We also use cooking and cleaning time to focus on numbers and counting. We have made banana bread, deviled eggs, guacamole, fruit salad, all the things. I’ve found it’s easier to include Anthony in the cooking process, than to ask him to leave the kitchen…repeatedly. Instead, I have him pull up his step stool, and we talk through the steps as we make something delicious to eat.
In between all of this (and helping Anthony with more than a few lessons on ABC Mouse), I prep for and hold class, attend meetings, read dissertation proposals, serve on committees, and write. My husband and I tag team between Zoom meetings and conference calls. I also try to set reasonable goals and put less pressure on myself. When I feel like I can’t focus, I take a break. I have to remind myself – and I’m here to remind you – that we are all going through this difficult time together.
With a global pandemic, the reality is school and work look very different these days. Almost everything about our daily lives is different. Hang in there, mamis! We’re all just trying to do our best.
The clothes are winning. The dust is omnipresent. Tears happen daily. I cook dinner while writing or answering emails, and having a tasty adult beverage… my girls asking why I’m still working when they see the computer in front of me at night. Some days are hard. Some harder.
Isabel (6, kindergartener) is homeschooling while I work my VP job and Alejandro his Director job. Both of us managing many people and projects. The work day starts and I am on a marathon of meetings for about 80% of my day and 80% of my work week. Isabel has questions and also prefers I read the instructions rather than hearing the audio recorded instructions. I can’t always stop to help her. This week she told me I don’t care about her after I asked her to wait because I was in the middle of a meeting. Broke.my.heart.
Olivia, God bless my 4 y/o princess. She celebrated her birthday during this quarantine and trying to make her day special was so stressful. She thanked us for her gifts, cupcakes and drive-thru nuggets. As if knowing this was taking it out of me while working my 8 hour day and helping her sister with homework. She tells me she loves me multiple times an hour sometimes. Helping to validate my effort and to also affirm my work… “you’re doing ok, Mami” is all I hear in her I love yous. I hope I don’t ruin her brain with tablets and unstructured days.
And then I was watching 60 Minutes on Sunday and heard women are being most impacted by the COVID economy, specifically those making $40K or less. Shut up, Mayra. You’re fine! But then Brené Brown reminds me my pain is mine and real. The COVID working from home stress is real. Grant yourself grace. This is hard.