Heidy George is the Program Associate for Student Diversity and Inclusion. When she manages to find spare time, she likes to take dance classes and HGTV her living room.
I am very much aware of my privilege. I also know that I have many things to be grateful for. And yet, I’m not going to lie…I am struggling. No, like, really struggling.
Before starting my position at UMBC, I was recuperating from an eleven-month stint as a stay-at-home mom. The experience was simultaneously euphoric and debilitating. For eleven months, I watched in awe: as my baby grew, hit all her milestones and explored the world around her. I held her when she cried, changed what seemed like an impossible amount of diapers and learned how to function without sleep. I am not exaggerating. I no longer know what sleep is. I hear people talk about it and wonder, what is this mystical thing people keep mentioning? It’s as elusive as TikTok.
But I digress.
I read a lot of books before becoming a mom. However, the parenting books did not prepare me for any of this. They failed to mention the horrors of projectile diarrhea when your infant is sick, how your heart skips a beat when they smile at you, or that you may be parenting a toddler during a pandemic.
I had only been working at UMBC for six months before the physical campus was closed. I was really just starting to get the hang of things when we all were informed that we would be working from home.
After going back to work, I remember sitting at my desk and thinking, “I really miss my baby. I wish I could work from home so that I could spend more time with her.” Wait, am I responsible for all of this? I now know that being a mom means you acquire super-powers. Maybe, I need to be more specific the next time I ask the universe for something. Now I am figuring out how to juggle being a working mom and a professional in a brand new Institution - my living room.
In all honesty, I’m not sure how much more of this my body can take. My back hurts from the lack of exercise (don’t you dare tell me I can exercise at home like I don’t have a seventeen month old!). My eyes hurt from all the Webex, Zoom and Google Hangout meetings. I just may need new glasses because I am pretty sure my eyesight is deteriorating more and more each day. On the upside Aldi’s now delivers in my area and my 17-month-old now knows how to open the bathroom door.
When well-meaning work folk ask, “how are you?” I honestly struggle with the answer. Is it professional to say that most of the time I don’t have a solid answer? Is it professional to admit that I don’t know if I brushed my teeth this morning before our 9am call? Is it professional to say that most days I really just want my mommy? Is this blog even professional? What is professional anymore? Have I shared too much?
Going back to work was not easy but somehow not being able to go back to work is even harder.
On the toughest days, I rely heavily on a select group of family, friends and colleagues that make me laugh and are able to hold all of my emotions. Their support helps motivate me to push through the sadness. I guess you could call them my village. I hope you have a village to help support you through whatever this is. If not, we always have room for more.