We are in it, friends. This is the real deal. Alongside everyone in the entire world, we are fighting the coronavirus outbreak. What a time to be alive and witness something like this first hand. In my life, I crave control whenever possible. I like things in my control, and avoid situations that feel out of my control. Not only is all of this out of my control, but it is just simply out of control in general. So this is a DOOZY. My main focus right now is regaining a feeling of control, when it feels like everything is quickly falling apart.
Where you stand personally on whether your country and neighbors are over or under reacting is your business. None of us actually know the truth, as it is somewhere between all the various sources that inundate our lives. But enjoying having control, means also feeling informed. Well-equipped to make the decisions within your control. With as much as I enjoy control, I spend a limitless numbers of hours doing research, asking opinions, and weighing outcomes when making decisions in my control. So the information war happening now does not sit well with my controlling side.
Overwhelmed and Feeling Out of Control
As a working mom of soon to be three under three, I feel the “overwhelmed and out of control” side a lot of the time. Not enough time in the day and children growing into unknown beings that depend on me to make all their decisions at the moment. A husband and family that looks to me as the breadwinner, making my career decisions not something to be taken lightly. The list of reasons for the “overwhelm” is endless. But this is different. This loss of control is felt not just by me, but by you. By your parents. By your company. Your child’s teacher. The government. This feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control, while not new to me, is bigger and different. And it takes a village to overcome it.
In an attempt to regain any control I have, I am taking small steps to feeling less out of control. To moving forward each day with the confidence and stability needed. I read a quote recently from The Budgetnista that really put things in perspective for me: “30 minutes of doing something is more valuable than 30 hours of thinking about doing something.” So that’s what I am doing. Making use of those 30 minutes to do something in regaining a feeling of control.
First things first, I took an inventory of my life to be fully present in the things I can control and appreciate all the good things in my path.
- Family- Spouse, parents, children, pregnancy
- Finances– Savings plans, retirements, budgeting
- Career– Work life balance, goals, recognition, growth
- Environment- House projects, cleaning, aesthetic surroundings
- Personal Growth– Hobbies, skills, interests, passions, self care
- Health- Habits, knowledge, plans
In all of these things, I have major successes along with short and long term goals. Those goals have not changed with this current climate. While timelines and things may have to adjust as things develop, these things are still present and still there. I went through each category to ground myself in all the goals and make adjustments as needed. This went a long way with regaining some feelings of control. The fact is, these are things I should have been doing anyways, and this gives me the push to get back in the driver’s seat. Here are some of the things from my list that I was able to prioritize and restructure:
After living in our dream house for exactly a year, there are some house projects that have been on the back burner. These things are not costly, but they are time consuming. With what looks like some unplanned time at home with the loss of several social functions, we are planning to jump into some of these for quick wins. I cannot wait to finally paint, and see what my grass looks like in my backyard! A clean house can be hard to come by these days, so I cannot wait to feel clean floors under my feet. I plan tackle all those awfully dirty places like between the couch cushions and inside the dishwasher to stay in love with being at my house.
As a working mom, I live for the weekends with my kids. I am the mom that skips lunch to beat the afternoon rush so we can enjoy some afternoon sun together. I am the mom that secretly hopes my girls skip naps on the weekends so that I can squeeze in a bit more time with them. So the idea of having more hours back in my day with no commuting and more control over my schedule is wonderful. I have bucket lists of all the activities I want to do with my girls while they are young and I also got a kick-ass camera for Christmas this year. I plan to squeeze lots of memories with them into this quarantine window. They may not think anything is that special, but it will be to me. I also pulled out some at home date night ideas for my husband and I to break up some of the togetherness.
I love to read and I have several books collecting dust for the last few months. My self care for this time will look like lots of page turning, hot showers, and maybe some sleeping in. I am knee deep in podcast episodes that have gone unplayed and some of my hobbies have been neglected lately. Even when things go awry, you are always able to regain a feeling of control when it comes to yourself. Only you control how you act during times of uncertainty.
I have big ambitions when it comes to my career and my financial goals, and hitting economic uncertainty is BRUTAL. It is hard for everyone when things take a turn or the unknown becomes greater than the known. So I am choosing to focus on the things I can. All companies are facing unknowns, which is the perfect opportunity for innovation. Creative solutions are needed when things look dismal, and now is the time to reinvest in your career and in yourself. Raise your hand at work, problem solve, and be part of the solution. These are the times that those things are needed more than ever. I am choosing to jump in, continue to learn and grow, and be ready for whatever might come my way. We also had a financial meeting in our house to prioritize. Are we on track with our budget? Should we make adjustments? If we need to reevaluate based on economic changes, what will our first changes be? Even though I hope we do not see the need for changes with our financial plans, it feels better knowing we checked in and we have plans for those worst case scenarios.
This one is obviously the one on everyone’s mind given the current climate. This is one of the big buckets that feels the most out of control. While I can’t necessarily control whether myself or my family gets this virus, I can take steps to support everyone with my habits. Practicing social distancing despite whether everyone will. Working remotely due to my own health restrictions and the safety of my co-workers. Staying home with our kids indefinitely and finding joy during this time of distance. Continuing with our already established habit of handwashing and continuing to teach our kids the same. Cooking and eating everything at home. Getting enough sleep ( a great goal for me.) Continuing to instill immune boosting foods and practices into our everyday life. Checking in on (while staying away from) my immunocompromised father. Adhering to medical advice for my own conditions including a high risk pregnancy and an autoimmune disease. I made a list of these items. This is how I regain a little bit of a feeling of control during a world of uncertainty.
Soaking It All In
But mostly, I want to take this time to soak it all in. To appreciate the world we live in for what it is, and for who is in it. Appreciation and reflection goes a SUPER long way when it comes to regaining a feeling of control. While life happens, a lot of things in our life are there because we made it so. I want to think about my marriage, and how beautiful it is even when we go days without having a chance to have more than a 5 min conversation over teeth brushing. My babies are turning into kids right in front of me, with personalities so big I cannot help but smile. I cannot wait to enjoy their laughter, new words, tantrums, and mooches during these times together. Wave hi to your neighbor walking their dog, check in on anyone that may be worse off than you, and return all those missed calls and texts from the last few weeks (err, months). I want to take big sips of ACTUAL hot coffee from a mug, and not a plastic container. I want to build virtual connections with my co-workers and see the strength of my company as they navigate this climate. When my kids wake up I will get to kiss them live in person instead of through my phone at my desk.
I even researched how to make my own sustainable toilet paper. How’s that for dealing with a feeling of being out of control?
All the best,
As a fellow control-aholic, I totally get it! I have been juggling 3 kids with 3 different grade levels to teach, only I’m not in control of even that….Ahhhhh. There is a lot to juggle and juggling is hard when you don’t have control! Then I stop…and pray! I ask myself, what really matters most? What part of that can I control?
Ahhh yes mama! 3 kids with 3 different learning paths is crazy all by itself, on top of everything else. Hang in there! You got this!
I really enjoyed your post and the honesty you shared in it. That life inventory is very useful as well. Save your energy for things you have control over, just do your part and everything will fall into place.
Thank you! Hoping we all come out of this with the positives at the forefront
Jordan Erb says
I feel you, mama! With everything going on around me I feel like I am losing control everyday! Needed some of these reminders! We’re all in this together!
We absolutely are! I am in it with you mama!