First, since I don’t really talk about it in this blog post, but because it hasn’t been said here on the website yet, Theresa and I both support the Black Lives Matter movement wholeheartedly. If I feel I can articulate something well enough for a separate post, I will make one, but in the meantime, please consider checking out the hyperlinks below to learn more and help support the movement
If you would like to learn more about the issues of police brutality, this website has lots of amazing, very legible infographics to look at, as well as a collection of scholarly articles at the bottom of the page.
This post is really geared towards what June looked like on a personal level for us. Theresa has been back in the work office full-time for just over a month now, and I wanted to write down what that’s looked like for her, me, and our routine.
First, the obvious stuff. She has way less time each day to get things done. This doesn’t just include the necessary household chores, but also some fun projects she’d started while working at home under the quarantine order. She was drawing more, and had more time to be involved with some of the ideas we’ve wanted to use for the shop. She’d also started a fun sculpting challenge that has been (temporarily, I hope) put on hold.
Time has become a very precious commodity in our household again, and so has her energy. An hour-long commute, full work day, and the stress of an ongoing pandemic really takes it out of you, as it turns out. Who’d have thought! (I mean, really it’s just common sense.)
Second, unfortunately, we’re not the only ones struggling to figure things out. While Theresa’s schedule has been fully back at the office, her supervisors are also floundering with how to manage the in-office workers vs. the remaining telecommuters. Scheduling has, according to her, been something of a mess, with some areas of her office very understaffed, and some feeling like there are too many people, and appointment bookings in disarray. It definitely hasn’t made the transition any easier for her, and of course, the more people that get called into the office, the more we need to worry about potential exposure.
As for me, I’m having to get used to being alone in the house all day, every day again. When the quarantine started, it was challenging to adjust to having someone else in the house every day, but going back to the way things used to be has also proved difficult. The routines we built while she was working from home have been obliterated, and I’m trying to pick up where I left my own routines from before the quarantine.
When she was working from home, I had a lot of help with the daily chores that I came to appreciate and rely on more than I expected in a very short amount of time. Especially because, as some of you know, I usually don’t have very much energy for a lot of the day-to-day tasks of running a house. I’m having to re-learn the systems I had in place before that helped me manage the workload on my own, and so far, I’m falling rather short.
Thankfully, we did discover some tricks during her telecommuting phase that’ve definitely helped smooth the transition back to ‘normal’. For example, we discovered that moving our kitchen table 2 feet over has done wonders for keeping the kitchen clean! Sometimes it is the strangest, simplest solutions that really make the difference, and right now I really need that difference.
It hasn’t all been bad, I suppose. She enjoys being able to leave the house, and I definitely appreciate having a little time to myself again. Her telecommuting part-time would be a glorious compromise between her need to have time at home, but still leave the house, and mine to see her, but also have some alone time. Unfortunately it’s unclear when or if that will become an option again.
Theresa's time working at home all but proved that a huge amount of her job can be performed remotely, and the benefits it had on her mental health were staggering. We hope to advocate for her to have a hybrid schedule in the future, and ideally her supervisors see the benefits of it as well. Telecommuting could have such incredible benefits for people in the workforce, and the environment with fewer people commuting. I hope it becomes a new norm.
(While I’m talking about new norms, this country needs to pay its essential service workers a living wage, damnit. Society would grind to a halt without these people. They don’t need gestures, they need money.)
So, that about wraps it up. June was a rough month, on a personal level and a national one. I didn’t really know where to start with addressing the larger issues that are shaking the country right now, and when I sat down to write, what ended up coming out was a look at our personal life. With that said, for all the challenges of our routines being upended again, I know that we have been extremely fortunate.
We live in relative peace and privilege compared to so many in this country. It’s tight sometimes, but at the end of the day Theresa still has her job, our cats are fed, we have our beautiful, dilapidated fixer-upper of a house to come home to, and we have each other.
Thanks for reading. Wear your masks and stay safe, everyone. <3