In the beginning, working from home was novel – no more commuting, parking wasn’t a problem anymore and no more parking tickets. My husband has been working from home for 26 years and it suited him well. This was going to be great. Easy-peasy.
Add to the mix two high school students who were now schooling from home and our house went from cozy to crowded.
Strategically, I promoted myself from mom to commanding officer. There were rules – wear only pants with zippers, keep to a schedule, and break only for lunch. Share the band-width please – no video games during business hours!
It was working and we were all thriving. Having daylight flood through the windows into our “offices” and “classrooms” helped lift our morale.
My husband and I had a system, which made it easier. And the boys both leveled up in their scholastic careers, now a college freshman and a high school junior. The absence of dorm life and homecoming dances seemed to be okay with them. I moved my office into the master bedroom to gain some privacy and would often brag that my commute was a mere 5 seconds.
But as March turned into May, and May into October, well . . . it got harder, and darker.
A team that Zooms together supports each other
Feeling isolated from friends, family and the Trustees team, I found myself in a funk. Having spent the past 31 winters in Alaska, I knew this was different from the normal winter doldrums.
As the winter months taunted me with their cold and darkness, my good rules fell by the wayside and bad habitats won over, like binge watching Netflix, staying up too late, not getting outside for fresh air and exercise, and yes, wearing pajamas all day.
Being an extrovert, I recharge my energies by being with others, and boy were my batteries low.
Because the Trustees team is super supportive of one another, I was able to open up and share my struggles without judgement. Things started to turn around when I gave myself permission to take better care of my whole self.
The family that gets a cat actually needs two
For me, this meant socially distant walking meetings (wearing a mask, of course), calling friends, taking a few virtual cooking classes and incorporating personal fitness goals into my workplan. I learned that being good to myself is good for those around me.
My husband and kids are still working and schooling at home – and the best thing is that we are also living a more harmonious life together under one roof. My family has grown, too, and includes the people that I work with – and a new cat.
Now that vaccines are more readily available to more Alaskans, I am looking forward to first getting my jabs. Once inoculated, I want to host a gathering in my backyard this summer so my two families can gather safely. How lucky I am to have two caring families in my life. P.S. Adopting a kitten also helped a lot.