Feel like a failure? Try this…
For the second time this month, I switched all my clients to telehealth, battled with my husband for time to work, canceled 10 days worth of commitments to friends, family, and random offices, and headlocked my 7 year old while he endured a brain-poking COVID19 test. I’ve felt like a bad counselor, a bad wife, a bad friend, and a bad mom. Days and days of quarantine and somehow my home is still messy and we are eating chicken nuggets and mac and cheese for dinner.
As I look around and assess the seeming chaos in my quarantined home and daily routine, it’s easy for me to conclude that I AM A FAILURE. I’m falling very short of my ongoing desires and goals for my life. I am unable to be physically present for my clients who feel most comfortable in the reprieve of my office. I do not feel like a kind, generous, gracious wife. I am unable to host family for dinner and meet up with friends. I cannot attend and check appointments off our list. And I definitely do not feel like a fun, loving, healthy-food-cooking mom of two well-behaved boys.
On days when I rest in the feeling of overwhelm and let the shame wash over me, I feel helpless, angry, and frustrated with myself. And when I feel this way, I disappear into my phone or my task list and my interactions with the world around me are filled with annoyance, bitterness, and impatience. Things get worse, not better.
Instead, today, I am going to do something I encourage my clients to do in difficult seasons.
CHANGE THE REPORT CARD.
Today, this week, until we can re-enter school and our “normal” routine, it’ll be best for me, my family, and my clients if I set aside the way I typically measure “success.” My report card for the foreseeable future has been edited as follows:
- Feed family
two-ish healthy meals/day.
physicallyand emotionally present for clients. Create a warm, welcoming home environment.Keep the house from imploding.
- Show love for husband and kids
through intentional time, energy, and focusby adjusting expectations of myself and them.
And, we’ll add a few as I attempt to adjust how I am viewing myself and those around me.
- See my kids as grieving, bored kids whose life was also just turned upside down.
- See my husband as a partner who is also trying to adjust as well as he can.
- Recognize that I am doing the best I can in this season. And I am enough, right here.
Today, as you read this, I invite you to join me. Whether you’re enduring quarantine, surviving through seasonal depression, grieving the loss of someone or something, or just feeling exhausted by all the broken, hard parts of life, take a minute to assess the report card you’re currently measuring yourself by. Spend some time reflecting on the season you are in and what expectations you are holding for yourself and those around you that aren’t currently serving you well. Where might it be beneficial to delete, edit, or add some goals? And then, take a step back, and give yourself credit for the ways you are showing up. Recognize how hard you are working and rest in the fact that you are enough, even today when your goals look a little different than you’d like.
Kelsey Rondeau, MA, LLC