Uncertain times create uncertain emotions. I crave stability, routine, and control in my life. Things that feel ripped from me. I can’t stop watching the news. I can’t get off social media. But I also can’t control my overwhelming feelings and emotions. I know social media and the news aren’t helping but I feel obsessed with getting updates and constantly knowing what may happen.
In addition to feeling overwhelmed and scared, I feel guilt and fear. Guilt because my partner and I have the opportunity to work remotely, we have food, we have resources to home-school our children, we have a safe house, and we have each other. I am so grateful to be able to support our family. I also constantly worry about those who are suffering in unimaginable ways during this time and with no end in sight. I feel paralyzed about what might be the next right thing or how to support the community.
In the first week of social distancing I started with stressing about creating a perfect working, learning, and living environment for my family. Like stressed myself into a stomach ache and fatigue. Until I took a step back and watched my kids. They wake up each morning happy to be home again with their parents, and I’m excited to be with them (though I would appreciate it if they stopped following me to the bathroom). I’ve explained the global pandemic to them in a way that is age appropriate for my kids but while not putting my fears onto them. It shockingly worked, they know why we are staying home for community health but they don’t focus on it.
So why can’t I take that same approach? I continue to obsess about not having the perfect balance of work, homeschooling, play, and family time. I’ve read many articles and online posts about mothers taking the brunt of this burden for creating a perfect family experience, how all students will regress a bit during this time, about giving ourselves grace - and I believe it. BUT it has not changed my internal dialogue and emotions… the dialogue that I should always be doing more.
I’ve tried to gain some control of my schedule and emotions. I’ve been waking up each morning to do my normal morning workout virtually (thank you Sweat PGH). I set realistic expectations for our day, a mix of learning and fun, clear work goals, and some time to just be a family. I still have an overwhelming desire to organize and clean every nook and cranny of our house (another way my need for control comes screaming into my life).
I don't share these emotions for sympathy or action. I share them because if even one other person is feeling the same way, I want them to know we're in this together. To write my emotions and share them works for me as a way to acknowledge what I'm feeling.
In the midst of all the chaos and unknown, I’ve seen some glimmers of hope. Each day I’m noticing more and more families walking by our house that we haven’t seen before. Hearing stories of neighbors reaching out to their elderly neighbors. Interacted with grocery store workers who have shared stories of kindness. Hearing giggles echo from iPads as our kids connect virtually with their friends.
An unlimited number of small businesses and entrepreneurs have been affected by the government closures. I’ve witnessed small businesses changing their entire operation to continue serving their customers.
In my attempt to have some normalcy in my life I’ve been committed to moving my small business forward. I’ve been dreaming about the Garden Party spring collection for months. This collection is the result of editing past collections, finding my creativity to make necklaces again, being inspired by color, and narrowing down the vision for my business.
It feels odd to launch a new collection during these stressful and uncertain times but it also feels right to keep moving forward. To do something that feels so familiar to me. I know every step to take to get to launch day and I can control that.
I also know that for many people, including my family, spending habits have changed. I launch this new collection and share my emotions with one purpose - to bring us closer together. Whether people visit my site to buy, browse, share on social, tell their friends, grab a gift card for later, or just to see what I’m up to - I’m so thankful. I’m thankful for the small business community, my customers and friends who give me their endless support, and mostly my family. My sweet family, the only ones I want to be quarantined with.
Be safe, be healthy, and love each other.