Here I am, back into blogging. All it took was a global pandemic, having a child, and a reduction in my free time. Not in that exact order. Pardon the typos and less-than-refined writing—these posts will be unedited and unplanned (and uncensored…*gasp*).
Right now, I could be doing the dishes that my toddler won’t let me do when he’s awake because he wants to take things out of the dishwasher and then they break on the floor. I’ve finally discovered which chores can actually be done with a toddler-baby, and which might result in trips to the ER. I could also be picking up toys off the floor or preparing food so I don’t have to do it half-assed while trying to make sure my child hasn’t climbed a counter top or choked on something.
But I’m not, I’m writing.
I realize that I probably still have more free time than some other folks. Anyone who somehow has to work and parent at the same time. Anyone with multiple kids (although, hey, I guess they can at least play with each other? Sort of?). I’ve got it better than anyone who has lost a job and isn’t sure how they’ll buy food or pay rent. And then there are those who’ve lost family members to COVID-19. There are millions of people in extremely tough situations right now.
Still, it’s a struggle for me sometimes. I’ve been doing better health-wise than I have in a few years, which is nothing short of a miracle given the current circumstances—me as the primary care provider to an intense and very active toddler. For those who don’t know me well, or subscribed to my blog for other reasons: I’ve had a chronic illness for over 5 years now. What is it? Possibly Chronic Fatigue Syndrome stemming from complications with Epstein-Barr Virus, or possibly a combination of lots of things. I have migraines that are a multi-day affair, including prodrome and sometimes several days of postdrome that include fatigue, difficulty thinking, mood changes, and difficulty exerting myself. I have interstitial cystitis, allergies, increasingly bad sinus problems, and some forms of chronic pain.
BUT, after several different interventions, my ability to walk, do mild exercises, and exert myself for short periods of time has improved over the past six months. I get less fatigue and brain fog. The migraines still happen, and I still have many of my old symptoms, but at least I’m able to do more and my brain functions on a nearly-normal level most of the time (okay, more of the time).
This is important, because my husband, son, and I (plus doggo) are our own little island now. No more half-day school for my son. No more grandparents to babysit and play with him. I don’t know what other chronically-ill parents are doing. It’s gotta be hard. It is hard. The little things I still do that might seem like a luxury to others—10 minutes of meditation in the morning—were literally prescribed to me by doctors as ways to cope with or reduce my symptoms. I’m glad I can actually still do some of them. Maybe that’s why I chose to write today instead of do chores.
Sometimes I wish I was 25 and childless, so I could binge-watch TV and do my work in my PJs and play online games with friends and embark on other “quarantine projects.” Or that my child was older, so we could watch a Disney movie or color for half an hour or that he could sit and read a book for a while. Or just play in the yard by himself.
But, that’s not the case. In the end, having to just survive with a toddler day-to-day might keep me from falling into some shapeless lack of a daily schedule or purpose. I’m now shaving away anything that might have been distracting, anything that might have been “biting off” more than I could chew, anything too tangential or obsessive.
I also wish I could do more to help others right now, but obviously that’s a tough one. What I can do is share some amazing resources, like the Western Mass Mutual Community Aid Network, which connects people who need assistance with those who can give it.
Perhaps you can help, or find help here.
What’s going on in your life? How has it changed during the pandemic? What do you wish people knew, but haven’t been able to tell them? Feel free to leave a comment here.