There is No New Normal.
2020 has been full. Full of change. Full of heartache. Full of slowing down. Full of reclamation.
At times it’s been hard to bear. At times it’s been too much. At times it has been overwhelming.
As a small business owner, a mother of 10 year old soon to be 5th graders with a husband who is gone for days at his work as an emergency responder, we’ve had to spend some time riding the wave of figuring out a new normal.
In ways, my little family has gotten to know each other much more deeply. Since March of 2020, the anxiety and pressure of school is gone. My little powerful twin boys are not as anxious, or over stimulated. We have slept in without guilt. I’ve figured out how to fit my work around my family. The internal stress inside my house has been shifted. We aren’t so busy. We focus on good sleep, walks in the neighborhood and quiet time with books. We talk about where we’ll travel next, when all of this is over. That trip will be epic.
Before March, when COVID 19 hit my area of the country, my life was spinning too fast. It felt overwhelming. It was stress-full. My internal pressure to succeed, to have a gorgeous body, to be 10 years younger, to move quickly, to have it all figured out, to cart the boys to swimming and soccer, to get to the gym 4 times a week, to be perfectly everything to everyone was too much. Funny enough, I had no idea I was even experiencing all of those things. It took a massive slow down for me to examine if my “normal” was even worth saving.
The answer came suddenly. No. That normal wasn’t worth saving at all.
We decided early on during the COVID 19 “experience” to set boundaries around the external stress. We talk about it often… the politics, the happenings, the opinions, the numbers, what to do about school, what to do about safety… but we decided to allow ourselves the grace to not be inside the wave all the time. My husband set strong boundaries with social media, I limited my time on my news apps. We talk a lot about how things would look different if the boys were still toddlers. Our lives wouldn’t have been so in flow, we know.
The new normal for us looks different than the new normal of my friends, or even of a younger version of us. Our new normal is consistently melding to new criteria, new expectations, new rules, new ways. The wave we’ve been riding has brought up examining everything in our lives.
There isn’t a right way or a wrong way to do this. The new normal isn’t so normal. It changes daily. It consistently creates new ways of thinking, new ways of being and new ways of doing. We’ve considered options that include dis-enrolling the boys from school and homeschooling (we decided to try the online option our county is providing this semester). We’ve thought about hiring more virtual help for my business so that I can be present to the twins. My husband and I have talked about what our parental duties will look like, and how we will both juggle the responsibilities. Some days you might find me working from my parents living room, who live 10 minutes away, while he manages the online school day. Meals will be simple and easy to make during the week.
For me to survive and thrive, and for my little family to survive and thrive really, I know that it comes back to feeling grounded, rested, and on purpose. The old normal didn’t feel that way at all. That isn’t an option any longer.
When it comes to feeling grounded, rested and on purpose, I have criteria for myself. I know in order to thrive, I will continue to set boundaries with the outside world, connect back into my power and purpose multiple times a day, eat healthy and whole foods that feel good in my body, and nurture my soul.
Even the best plans can be thwarted, though. I am predicting it will take quite a while to get used to online schooling and the new normal. I’m predicting a couple meltdowns for everyone in my house. And that’s really alright. Meltdowns are part of getting used to a new routine.
The new normal isn’t so normal. The new normal won’t be normal forever. The new normal maybe doesn’t exist. All I know is, the new normal in my world has to look and feel vastly different than any one else’s new normal. Our lives are too unique to meld into a certain “way” anymore. So, here’s to figuring it out day by day, and honoring ourselves in the process.