Despite my employer being very flexible and forthcoming to parents, I experienced the first lockdown as rather stressful. It was unclear how long it was going to last. For a while it was unclear what the company policy was. But even when a clear policy was in place, I felt I wasn’t available enough to my coworkers and not to my family either. To compensate both, I gave myself less attention. Which would have been okay for a week or two, but it’s not sustainable for months—I had stopped doing things that truly relaxed me.
By the end of summer, work was relatively relaxed, daycare was open again and everything seemed perfect. But I just felt down, exhausted and desperate. I was disappointed in humanity and couldn’t see how we’re going to fix our problems. I realized I was slipping into (sidenote: I avoided this word before. I think it’s used carelessly, ignoring that it’s a clinical condition that needs treatment. I did several tests though, including one with a healthcare professional. I didn’t want to admit it as a real possibility. ) and couldn’t explain why. Why couldn’t I be happy when my situation was so much better than before? I still really don’t understand what happened and why it happened. But I had been on a downward spiral for months. It was more than a mood and it wasn’t going away by itself. So I took all the measures I could think of. Things got better again. In fact, things were going so well, that I didn’t even do the evaluation I planned: I was happy and excited to do new things instead of working on myself.
So last year I didn’t handle things too well: the combination of working, taking care of the children and doing other household stuff. Because we didn’t want to travel anyway, I saved up vacation days in case another strict lockdown was coming and we couldn’t bring the children to daycare. In summer, I was pretty sure we’d get a strict lockdown in the flu season, end of autumn.
I ended up with almost two weeks of carry-over vacation that will expire in March. A vacation in early spring would have been nice, but I’m about to join a project that I’m rather excited about. It’s not starting before mid February, but will likely run well past March. When I found out about this, I requested vacation as soon as possible. The day HR confirmed my vacation request, the city announced stricter lockdown measures. Daycare will close again for everyone but the children of those in critical professions. Starting tomorrow, when I’m off for two weeks.
It’s a lucky coincidence, but I feel like I’m finally getting on top of the situation.