One year ago I bought a dozen or so games for my PS4 in anticipation of needing to stay home, lay low, only do essential things, and keep immunocompromised folks and the high-risk groups safe while a vaccine is developed.
Some of those games are still in cellophane.
What I didn't realize is that when the airlock doors came down, I would be the only nanny my clients could bring into their pods, and that my days of working a couple of hours four or five days a week while I wrote full time would soon be eclipsed by twenty, thirty, and sometimes longer weeks—all before I'd written a word. As many hours as I could handle (and more than a few I couldn't). Trying to keep up with a blog on top of that was all I could handle. And temporal luxuries like video games simply languished in the "soon" pile.
For over a year.
If you've been paying attention long enough, you know these aren't kids I would just say "Smell you later" to while I just demand my clients not burden me with extra hours. And there are circumstances (like past chemotherapy) that make immunocompromised clients need everyone podding with them to proceed with greater caution than most of the world. So for a year and change, I've been working (twice as much as I could handle and half as much as they needed) to pedal a non-aerodynamic flying machine as fast as I could to try to stay in the air. I knew it was not sustainable. I knew it couldn't "fly." I knew it would crash eventually. But if I pedaled as fast as I could, maybe we could stay up just a little longer and beat out the pandemic before I hit the ground. Other than a couple of weeks off while I quarantined after a dentist or doctor appointment or a rare moment when someone shifted into our pod for a few weeks and could watch the kids, I have just been in an ongoing state of overwhelmed.
It has wrecked my social life (even some online version). It has impacted my mental health. It is devastating my other hobbies like photography, cooking, and video games. I barely even have time to WATCH the latest Netflix or Disney+ show. (I can put something on I've seen before while I make dinner or clean the house, but the time to just sit and watch something new has clocked in at little more than an hour or two a week.) But perhaps the most noticeable effect was how hard all those extra work hours slammed into my writing schedule. I've gotten a little better from my 10 post months early on, but I'm still struggling to put up two "meaty" pats a week.
For over a year.
California's vaccine distribution is coming along PRETTY well, but I recently learned that the "childcare" category that I thought was just for daycares or teachers includes homecare employees. Like nannies.
Now this is great for me. I'm glad to get the vaccine. Especially since there are a couple of people who might like to kiss me on my face once that happens.
But what's REALLY cool is that this means the other nanny can start tagging in.
THE. OTHER. NANNY. CAN. START. TAGGING. IN.
It's a week until their appointment, and two more until their second dose. And two more past that until full efficacy, but….I'm about five to six weeks out from getting my full-time writing schedule back. It almost doesn't feel real to actually have an end in sight. While I always knew I would return, I can actually finally tell you all WHEN.
So many of you have been so patient through jazz hands and reduced posting. Including no small number of folks who keep the lights on around here. I just wanted to share with all of you right away that the end of this dry spell is in sight.
And when I finally get those extra 20 to 30 hours a week of my writing life back….
Thank you for your candor about the impact that caring for kids has had on your productivity. You've helped me see myself through a much softer lens. I may not have been writing, but I was juggling multiple crisis of my own and others for DECADES. And now that I've about processed the trauma and my kids are grown, maybe it's time to get back to giving myself permission to be a creator. You are really good for my mental health and I appreciate it.ReplyDelete