If you are a Seinfeld fan like me, you may recall and appreciate the freakout of  character George Costanza’s freak out character when his friends would connect with his fiancé and vice versa. In his bubble of safety, these worlds should be on two different planets. Well, this is how I have managed my work and home life throughout the last five wonderful and busy years in nonprofit leadership.  

work hard and stay 100% focused during my workday, and then make sure that I am just as focused on highquality time my kids and husband when I am home at night. While I did often miss them while at work, we had the comfort of structure and consistency.  

Fastforward to a global pandemic and day 35 at home with twin four-yearolds and a two-year-old and my work and life boundaries are smudged and I have tiny co-workers either nearby on conference calls or crying and banging on the office door to “give me one more kiss. I love my people dearly, but I am missing the boundaries of my oncesimplified work and home lives. 
 
Brief Log of Everyday Occurrences:  

  • – Sometimes a marker gets “lost and ends up drawn on the arm of the couch. 
  • – A child shouts from the bathroom while you are on a call that they need help wiping. You hope that you were on mute, but you’re not sure. 
  • – In addition to meals, everyone needs 95 snacks a day, which are different for each kid. You can judge me, but what would you do to keep a kiddo quiet during a conference call?  
  • – After constant interruption, real work happens late at night in the quietand the associated lack of sleep leads to a lack of patience with the whole circus the next day. 

I am fortunate to have my incredible family, and am blessed to be employed, have food to eat, and have a supportive home and work environment. As I acknowledge and practice gratitude every day, I am writing this blog to give myself, and every other parent out there, permission to feel – maybe even scream a little if needed. As the famous researcher and author Brené Brown put it, there is no comparative sufferingAs humans who are surviving this together, we need to be okay with not comparing our suffering. People working at home without kids or elders are also suffering and grieving. How can we support these neighbors too? 

These are things that have helped me recently: 

  • – Say no to meetings if possible (you can probably cancel them in an email) 
  • – It’s okay to not be okay  
  • – Take timeout (go to your car and cry, scream, take deep breaths, phone a friend) 
  • – Go outside (the vitamin D helps!) 
  • – Go for a walk or do something that makes you sweat (gardening, playing with kids, walking/jogging) 
  • Give yourself permission to feel (a great Brené Brown podcast with Dr. Marc Brackett, and a book that is at the top of my list to read next) 
  • – Support other caregivers (colleague from another nonprofit sent me a supportive note after my kids interrupted a large group Zoom meeting and I felt connected and supported. These small actions make a big difference!) 
  • – DONATE. Give to the Food Bank for the Heartland, Family Housing Advisory Servicesor any of our local emergency shelters. They are truly on the front lines and are making a big impact to support our neighbors. 
  • – Last but not least, call a friend and laugh. 

Please know that you are not alone, and that there are people all around you who need human connection just as much as you do. I know that I do, and Zoom meetings don’t really cut itReach out and connect. It‘s so much easier to survive uncertainty when we do it together.