We Can’t. We Are.
Many years ago, we bought a four bedroom house planning on two kids and then twins happened and so we do not have a guest bedroom or a home office or an unused closet because the guest bedroom that was also a home office became the bedroom for the neat and tidy twin when he could no longer handle sharing a room with his Messy Marvin brother. When the bottom fell out a few weeks ago, we brought a table into our bedroom and my husband set up a computer station and he works full-time from our bedroom now, which means he spends 7-8 hours sleeping in there, 8-9-10 hours working in there. He’s become like my 4th teen/tween, just emerges for food and laying on the couch and then goes back in. I work in the midst of the chaos at our living room desk area, where I can be available but not on top of the kids so I can pitch in to help when necessary. It now takes me 7 hours to complete 3 hours of work. I can’t.
The kids are everywhere. LIKE EVERYWHERE. On the couch, taking over the basement, used hand towels, indicators that someone enjoyed a bowl of cereal while watching TV in that there are empty cereal bowls with spoons all over our house. They have unapologetically finished my Fresca which is really hard to find these days. I have given birth to three of them but they have multiplied in some fashion because the mess indicates that at least a dozen of them live here. They are hungry all the time, but at different times. No one drinks enough water. They all need a little bit of help with some assignment or connection or link or other, but never at the same time. I literally cannot.
Every 8 or 9 days I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE and I mask up and go to Acme for a stressful 50 minutes of supermarket sweep where I try to touch as little as possible, follow the arrows while looking at my list, now arranged by aisle so I can just cross off and go as quickly as I can. Then, because grocery shopping isn’t already the bane of my existence, when I get home we move into decontamination mode and I set up a card table in the driveway and we scrub down all the perishables. All the non-perishables sit in the garage for three days and the get a cursory wipe down. I cannot even.
I can’t I can’t I can’t. I can’t homeschool these kids, read all the emails from schools and teachers (three middle schoolers means six teachers each which means something like 400 emails), keep this house clean-ish, maintain my sanity, serve as the school counselor and school nurse and social director and game coordinator and chef, do my (thank god part-time) job. I literally cannot even.
And yet, I am.
I am and you are and that’s the end of that. I allow myself roughly 10 minutes a day of self-pity and then after that I just regroup and move on because we are building the plane as we are flying it and doing a damn good job. All of us are doing this. The SAHMs with toddlers and infants who can’t go to the park or a museum or on errands any more. The teachers that are supporting their own kids while they try to guide ours. The nurses and respiratory therapists and phlebotomists and intake workers and EMS and custodial staff and every other hospital and medical personnel who shows up, day in and day out, to care for the sickest among us. The amazon delivery people and the high school kids whose after-school job at Walgreens has turned them into Essential Personnel basically overnight. The people sewing masks. All of us - figuring it out as we go, with little more than a flashlight and google to help us out.
We never thought we’d live like this. But we’re doing it. You know the saying: when you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING.
We’ve got this.