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In This Pandemic Parent Life, You Do You

It’s nearing 5:00am on Thanksgiving morning, I’ve just sat down to draft my next post. I’m in my downstairs office but I’m thinking about what’s left to do upstairs. I decided to do takeout from Duck Inn for our meal, pie from Hooiser Mama, and even ordered a tablescape and an arrangement from Flowers for Dreams. I’m actually at my computer to write our Thanksgiving intentions, a prayer for this year that I decided would be a nice thing to incorporate into a holiday I stopped celebrating five or so years ago, but am celebrating this year for my Dad.

Seeing the table set so nicely for more than our immediate family has me ever so slightly anxious about sharing online. Are we superspreaders? We’re not, I don’t think. For the last twelve weeks, I’ve homeschooled Archie, while his school continues to meet in person, for moments just like this. There’s a peace of mind I have knowing that my parents will be ok today. We’ll stay safe and we’ll be together.

Today’s blog is for tomorrow’s newsletter, where I’ll do my last push on a holiday offering specific to folks living near me. I’m confident both will get lost in the Black Friday shuffle but I’m ok with that. This has been my attitude for most of 2020 and it’s helped me. I don’t have to stand out this year, I don’t have to do more than I want, and I don’t have to worry about anything being perfect before it’s shared.

However, I did have a goal for this article, which I’ll get to sharing now. We’re eight months into a global pandemic and I want to document how I’m getting by and how I’m carrying my family through this. Since this site doesn’t get an immense amount of traffic, I’m putting these notes here.

 

Here are my realities this year:

  • I’m an enneagram 6w5 but have 8 tendencies when I’m anxious or on edge. My tendencies saved me at the top of the pandemic, but I found myself in a different place, five or six months in. I’m back and better than ever, but I did need a moment to regroup and rethink how to proceed.
  • My first business, which is heading into its ninth year, is just a fraction of the size it was at the top of 2020. The team is 50% smaller and we’re doing just 30% of the business we once did.
  • My second business, this one, turned one in November and it’s been a hard one to feel a lot of passion for in the midst of COVID. In September, I decided that that’s ok and that I can do whatever I want with it, whenever I want.
  • Homeschooling Archie has been an indescribable privilege that has helped me grow in my relationship to my oldest in a way I never imagined. While it all started with a way to keep my Dad safe, it was the best decision I made in 2020.

In my search to find all the answers to solve all the household problems my target client feels, I’ve come across approximately one million articles with a similar theme. They go this way:

  1. Pandemic Parenting is super hard and no one is thriving. You’re shit out of luck, but hey, we get you.

I’ve gotten to the place where I just rapid-scroll to the bottom to see if there are actual solutions to thriving while I parent during a pandemic and I haven’t found much that wasn’t said in the last article I just finished. 

All l I have to say or rather, “My professional advice for you today,” is: you gotta figure this out for you and then do what’s best for your family. You can’t mimic what others do because that’s pointless. It doesn’t work.

I tried this. It created a lot of feelings, none of them great. And I wish I had more to say on that, but I know you understand because I know you tried to do what she was doing because she looked happy. Because it looked like her family was thriving.

So here’s me. Here’s how I’m hanging in there.

First image please…

That’s what a typical Monday, Tuesday, or Friday looks like for us.

Wednesdays and Thursdays are different. I’m not around the house on Wednesdays and on Thursday’s we start the day at forest school so our sitter doesn’t check in until later in the day, around 2.

If you closely dive into that timeline, you’ll catch how broken up my workday is. I work in sprints, quick and fast moving hours, never exceeding 25 hours a week between both jobs. One of my biggest gratitudes for this entire year, is that flexibility to come and go as I please.

Here’s how I timeblock:

I use a time tracking software with several job codes that I punch in and out of throughout my days, seven days a week. I work a little every day (see first paragraph, for example). My job codes represent the tasks I highlight on the table. But I also track the time I give to homeschooling because, in lots of ways, it’s a third job of mine. 

Mentioned earlier, but to follow up there was a point in the pandemic I began reevaluating it all. Things those particular weeks were for sure a lot harder for me and in my way, I wholeheartedly focused on how to survive, again.

Here’s how I’m holding it together for my family, my employees, and my customers:

It’s working. It’s not cheap, but it’s working.

Here’s where I need to call out my privilege: I have a partner that works hard to support us. I have children that don’t require special services. I have a very good understanding of my mental health and know what I need to stay grounded. And I’m decisive. I don’t struggle in this area of life and that’s really served me this year.

There’s part of me that cannot wait to reflect back on this time. As I age, my memories of stuff get fuzzier, so I’m happy I wrote this and I plan to hold on to it like people who keep time capsules.

I look around me and I see other blessings. I see families and friends changing and evolving and coping. It’s actually really beautiful. I am thankful today. I may not like this holiday, but I sure am grateful. 

After the holidays, I’m offering short, quick sessions to help people prioritize and problem solve life stuff. I send out more details soon but there’s a waitlist you can join in the meantime.

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Hi, I'm Julia

Founder of Thanks, Julia​

I’m here to assure you that when you invest in your own support system, you add priceless value to your family life, your career, your social time, your passion projects, and your overall quality of life.

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Before you go...

Grab Your Pandemic Practices Cheat Sheets. 🙌

Life during COVID has given you more hats to wear and more important decisions to make. With so much on our shoulders, I would love to share this downloadable resource to make life a little easier right now.