Not “well,” as in good, but “well, as in settle down with a cup of coffee because I have some THOUGHTS.”
In our particular situation, we’ve been job-less and home together for 8 months. How is that financially possible, you ask? Are we the royal family? We are not. Eight months ago when I was working very part-time at the hospital and running our small ice cream business, writing a novel, and managing the kids (who were in school full-time), Robb was laid off from the company he worked for and was given a hefty severance. We’ve been living off of that. He had another job lined up, but (fart noise) COVID killed it. He continued to run the ice cream business right up until we decided to close/sell it, and since then (about 2 months) he’s been interviewing for jobs and just home…all. the. time. Seven months ago, school stopped, and the kids have been home all. the. time, too.
So. Now we are spending ALL of our time together, because we 1) want to 2) have nowhere to go and 3) we are kind of freaking out about everything and don’t know what to do with ourselves and 4) have no boundaries or experience with this, so it’s what we’ve defaulted to.
It’s not working.
Here’s something I uncovered after a long discussion with him last night, and a bunch of personal reflection (WHY IS THAT ALWAYS THE SOLUTION? WHY CAN’T IT EVER BE CAKE)…. In my head, I’m inventing ways that he’s screwing me over constantly. By 9am, I might already be 9 things deep into “how Robb is making my life worse” and so when he actually DOES do something annoying or dismissive at 9:01am, it’s the TENTH thing he’s done, instead of the first, and I explode all over him, leaving a flurry of furry fury all over the kitchen floor.
I’m putting things on him that he doesn’t own, because I’m feeling claustrophobic and desperate for answers and time and privacy and space.
My insecurity and uncertainty right now during all (gestures everywhere) this, is translating in my head to how he’s not holding his own, how he’s letting me down, how I can’t trust him. I’m assuming the absolute worse, least of him. And, I think, he’s doing the same of me. We both have this endless internal scream right now, and it’s leaking out on each other in unhealthy, unproductive ways because we’re both not managing our mental health well enough.
For my part, I’m unsure about my identity and purpose and value in the world and to my family right now, I’m feeling both LUCKY AS HELL and scared as fuck. In looking for a place to put all my rage and worry, GUESS WHO’S STANDING RIGHT THERE, ALL THE TIME IMMEDIATELY NEXT TO ME and is soaking it all up? When I’m feeling wobbly, I tend to start keeping aggressive score, to make sure I’m doing enough but NOT TOO MUCH, ASSHOLE. I’m very pursed-lipidly marking my score board with what we’re both doing and not doing and what we’re worth…it leaves us both with negative points and it’s not fair or right or helpful.
I need to clear my head and get my feet back underneath me. This means water, meditation, exercise, writing, and time alone. We both need to establish boundaries (or I will straight-up murder his face).
So, for now, we decided to each take half a day alone to ourselves to do our thing and the other manages the kids, the food, the house. This is how we’ll do it for now. And we’re going to try SO hard not to feel like we’re taking advantage or being taken advantage of when we’re taking time or covering time away. Once a job is acquired and home school starts back up, it will adjust…but time to ourselves, away from the other humans in the house is critical.
Boundaries, baby. Might just save us yet. I’m sure at some point we’re going to look back at this time wistfully, once we’re back into the busy-ness and business of life, but for now, GO AWAY.