On Living in a Pandemic with an Almost-Toddler

The world has changed since I last wrote. Right now, we are two months into quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic and I don’t think any of us could’ve imagined our lives going this way just a few short months ago.

So, uh… let’s catch up?!

In January, I returned to work full-time, Maya started going to daycare, our family adjusted to our “new normal,” and I could not stop stressing about the work/life balance: how was I ever going to be a good mom when I was spending so much of my day focused on work? And was I bad person because I liked my job?

I had barely let myself settle into those feelings before our “new normal” become something entirely new when on March 13, 2020, my employer announced it would be going remote.

I was one of the lucky ones, able to shift to working from home relatively “early” in the process and fully able to do my job from home. That week, Maya was out of daycare because she was sick, for which I was secretly grateful because Bill and I didn’t have to make the tough decision regarding whether we should send her in. Days later, her daycare closed, too, and Bill’s job went remote, and suddenly we were all three home again and our dog, Obi, was like, “THIS IS THE GREATEST EVER.”

Two months, many stresses, a few meltdowns (from me and from Maya, let’s be real), and soooo many bottles of wine later and here we are: surviving. Obviously I am tremendously lucky, and I know this. I’m not sick, none of my immediate family members are sick, I still have a job, I am able to care for my baby, I’m even working on an abbreviated schedule right now (10 hour days, M-F, though I do still work my two weekends per month as well). My husband is working with me. Our dog is living the freaking life. We have food and clothes and shelter and water.

Buuuut this is an emotional time, a scary time, a stressful time, a trying time, and I’m not immune to that. Like everyone else, I miss my life. I miss my family and friends. I miss going out to dinner with my husband. I miss exploring. I miss buying overpriced iced coffees. I miss not being angry at a society that prioritizes profits over people and its members who won’t wear a mask or stay home because it’s “annoying” or “boring.”

And this whole raising an almost-toddler while my husband and I are working full-time, too? Not easy! Some might say this is why things like daycare exist. Crazy. Most days I am just happy to collapse on the couch by 8 p.m., wine glass in hand, and recognize that my heart is still beating. Another day done. CHECK. Glug. Rinse. Repeat.

And, yes, I said almost-toddler, because that’s the other thing—Maya is suddenly on the brink of toddlerdom and I’m not happy about it! When did that happen?! And where did my tiny little baby go?! At 10 months old, Maya is a daring adventurer who loves to eat dirt (literally) and climb and fight naps and steal your food. She is FAR from being a baby. Where is the complain department? Time went by way too fast.

So, in that way, it can be kind of nice sometimes. Not the pandemic thing, obviously.

But if we’re talking silver linings, looking for things for which to be grateful? I’ve got to say, getting to watch my kid grow every single day is pretty incredible. Sneaking in extra snuggles is delicious. Playing extra games of peek-a-boo and pretending to eat her little hands and chasing her around the house are all things I’m so grateful I’ve gotten to do. Plus, date nights with my husband, extra belly rubs for my dog, not having to wear a bra. All great.

The world may be pretty bad right now.

But right here, in this house, with my little family, it’s pretty good.

I hope you can say the same and I hope you’re all surviving okay. (And if you’re struggling, please know that’s okay, too.)

xo.

Published by Crystal Maldonado

Writer and lover of pretty things.

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