In September when I gave my latest Life Update my last sentence was “So, while we are doing well with our current routine right now, it might all be blown back apart in a few weeks…”
Consider my life blown back apart.
I really wish that fear would not have come true, but here we are. I was asked to return to the office two days a week at the beginning of this month. However, Jack’s school also went to a hybrid model in mid-October. Easy-peasy, right?
After much discussion, we decided NOT to send Jack to school for the hybrid model, which would have had him in school on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. Instead, due to a large variety of reasons we decided to keep him on the 100% virtual schooling model. Which means that on the two days a week I go into the Baltimore office… we needed to do something with Jack.
We decided that Travis would take off work on Tuesdays to stay home and oversee virtual learning. Then, on Thursdays I’d drop Jack at my parent’s house so my mom could serve as home-base for the day while Jack is in his online classes.
I knew this would be hard. But I hadn’t anticipated how much extra stress this would put on me.
Extra Stress #1: After my second day in the office I was exposed to someone whose daughter had just tested positive for COVID. STRESS SPIKE. I returned back home and my coworker quarantined at home and tested (the first one came back as negative and the second one should be coming in soon). This just opens my eyes yet again HOW EASY it is to be exposed to someone who may be sick. So, every single meeting I have, I’m worried. Especially when meeting with someone who pulls down their mask to their chin and keeps talking. Add that to the fact that COVID numbers are spiking again and yup… there goes my stress.
Extra Stress #2: SO MUCH MORE PLANNING. In order for me to leave Jack in the hands of someone else, there is a billion more moving parts to deal with. Everything from planning to cook double-dinners on Mondays and Wednesday so we can have an easy dinner on night’s that I get home late. To laying out every possible notebook or item that Jack may need to put his hands on throughout the day (oh wait, you need that art project from 3 weeks ago… yup, that’s RIGHT here!). To making sure Jack’s backpack has every possible thing in it he may need at my parent’s house. To my own prep and packing to go back and forth to the office when I had everything perfectly set up in my home office. It is a forever changing list of stuff I have to remember that lives in my head.
Extra Stress #3: Jack is not doing well working with other grownups in my absence. We have our routine down for getting classwork done and it just simply is not working when daddy or Mimi is in charge. This causes me even more stress with a fun guilt + stress + frustration combo. This also means that at the end of the day after driving an hour to work, working all day, driving an hour home… we still have the majority of the classwork to review and complete in the evening when we are both exhausted.
Extra Stress #4: Money. Since I’m not taking the metro, I’m paying to park in the building garage two days a week. Add onto that the fact that Travis is taking off work on Tuesdays and losing an entire day of work (he’s a self-employed truck driver and gets paid by the job he completes), it’s making a financial dent. Which gives me something else fun to worry about.
I’m a problem solver though. And I know that the way to solve this problem is to tell my boss that I can’t do it. I can not work full time + oversee virtual schooling full time + come back into the office 2 days a week + deal with the constant stress of getting COVID when both me and my son are high risk + EVERYTHING ELSE.
And I know that he will understand. And I hope that the other partners would also understand.
But here’s the thing – I’m an overachiever. I love my job. I love being a working mom. I love ‘doing it all’ and I feel like if I say I CAN’T DO IT ALL then I’m failing.
So, I’m holding off. And the stress bubble is just growing larger and larger. And I know this is not sustainable. And I KNOW that I will have a sense of relief if I just say I can’t do it anymore.
But dang it, it is also so hard to give up.