I’m no stranger to mood swings.
I’ve got 18 months of pregnancy hormonal mood swings under my belt, plus decades of PMS, plus menopause. And I’m married to a Gemini.
I thought I had this shit down.
But honestly, the speed at which I am cycling through Corona moods is giving me whiplash.
Any given day usually starts with…
Guilt, Part I
We have space. We have jobs. We have online schooling. We have food and take-out and a coastline to walk and we’re living in a country which–fingers crossed–seems to have avoided getting hard hit by this thing. We’re on the Diet Sprite of lockdown plans.
So what is wrong with me??
Think about all those others who are facing so much worse…I should be ashamed of myself. Go say some Hail Marys and think about what you’ve done.
This often leads to…
Those closets aren’t going to organize themselves are they? A drawer a day, a room a week. This is doable! Just think about the minimalist beauty of a dresser full of Kondo drawers and a closet where the hangers slide effortlessly onto the rod, rather than having to shove everything in there. Why I’ll bet I’ll discover at least five things I bought on sale with the tags still on them. Now is the time! You can write a novel in six weeks, can’t you? Of course. Now, get folding!
Which is inevitably followed by…
Another day in Bumper Book of Quarantine. Another mark on the chalkboard which hangs on
the laundry door–four short lines and a slash for every fifth, tally marks scratching track of endless days. Another meal, another load of laundry, another closet organized. Another challenge to keep the kids organized, another conversation to keep them on track, another dead end. Hours of my life I will never get back. All that’s left is the agreed upon mandatory hour of family television.
Which leads to…
Who are these magical children who are finding joy in their simpler lives? My kids’ normal lives couldn’t get any simpler. They’ve got so much down time they’re practically underground. I keep reading about kids rediscovering their love of nature, of baking, of cooking meals and spackling walls. Who are these children??? Those are not my children. My children only go outside when we turn off the WiFi in a fit of angst. Unless they are explicitly told not to, they will stare at their computers all day long. Left to their own devices they are left to their own devices. I do not understand who these magical, extraordinary children are. Where do I find them?
Which sometimes leads to….
The three males are happy as Larry, Mo, and Curly. And why wouldn’t they be? Their schedules are lighter. They can sleep later. There are hot lunches some days instead of ones that stay warmish in a Thermos. They don’t have to shower until noon. They don’t even have to get dressed from the waist down if they don’t want to. Remote learning schedules are relaxed. There is no commute.
Of course they’re happy. It’s the same reason why I’m so happy in normal times…
But I am the only thing standing between them and a life of complete and utter disrepair.
Who skulks around, springing into the makeshift school room making sure games are not being played during lesson time? Moi. Who loiters in the kitchen making sure vegetables are eaten? Me. Who begs, pleads, and tries to come up with “fun” things? Who has to stop what she’s doing mid-sentence to play Bananagrams in the middle of the day? Me, me, me.
Which invariably leads to…
I can’t think of another thing to do with these kids. It’s 10 am and I’ve already baked a batch of cupcakes and played a game of Scrabble and am now contemplating making homemade pasta dough just for something to do. The idea of coming up with a whole weekend full of things to keep us alive, let alone busy and entertained, is exhausting. Is it even worth the arguments, the eye rolls, the gargantuan sighs???
Which oft brings me to…
Guilt, Part II
Gosh, we’re so lucky, really. All things considered, they’re such good kids, despite all the other stuff. And it is nice all snuggled up on the sofa together watching Survivor. But, ugh, I feel bad even thinking these things when people are dying. Maybe we should hide our little moments of joy, when so many other people are losing family members and jobs. I should be ashamed of myself. Go say an Act of Contrition and think about what you’ve done.
Which almost always leads to…
What a sucky way to live our lives. I mean, it’s bad enough for me and I’m o.l.d. The future’s not bright and no one needs shades. Who knows what’s going to happen? I mean, not even WHO knows what’s going to happen. Maybe it will be like Mad Max or Waterworld. None of us are getting any younger, you know. God, I miss eating out at restaurants. I miss seeing friends and going out for coffee. I miss kicking my kids out to go and play football with their friends. Christ amighty, I even miss standing on the sidelines in the pissing down rain for weekend games. This sucks.
Usually this is followed by…
This is life now, for the foreseeable future, right? I mean there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s out of my hands. If the kids’ asses meld into their desk chairs because they spend so much time playing Minecraft, I tried my best, right? Surely everyone can see that. Surely I can’t be expected to do any more. If they find me with my head buried in a bag of chips surrounded by empty rosé bottles, surely they’ll know I tried my best. Surely I should change my name to Shirley.
And just to round it out there’s…
Guilt, Part III
I feel so bad for my kids and all the things they’re missing. Graduations and class trips and sports trips and all the other stuff. Those poor seniors. Ugh, but what about all those people with bigger issues, like not being able to pay rent? Pull yourself together! Missing out on those class trips is nothing compared to not being able to pay your rent. Go say a Lord’s Prayer and think about what you’ve done.
Scratch another line on the chalkboard, call it a day, and start again.