Post Pandemic: Extending Grace and Reclaiming My Joy

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As we approach post pandemic times, how do we prepare?

 

I truly didn’t realize how much of myself I had lost until I started to get myself back. I recognize that this year was a year of challenges. Of ups and downs. Of a lot of questioning and some anxiety. A year of missing. Missing the little things and the big things and yet continuing to go on.

 

I continued to entertain my kids and make the best of the situation. I kept texting and Zooming with my friends during the sustained absences. I went the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing my closest friend from childhood, and I longed for the time we could laugh together again in the same room.

 

during the pandemic, a laptop open with a Zoom meeting of friends, and a cup of coffee sits near the laptop

 

Yet, I just kept on.
And this year just kept going.

 

I realized some days I was really short with my kids. Some days I did not have much energy or affection to put into my relationship with my husband. Some days I was looking at the hours, just waiting for the long day to be over so I could go to bed. And, somehow, it all seemed normal.

 

As we came upon our pandemic anniversary, I recognized something. I recognized that during the last year, I had been a different version of myself. I have never struggled with clinical or diagnosed depression, but this was the closest I have ever felt to feeling depressed. I did not feel low every day, but as I look back on my year, I see many days and actions that showed how truly trying this year was.

 

I feel myself coming back alive now that I am vaccinated and the world seems to be opening up a little more. I feel a joy that was gone. I feel a life renewed. A more patient mom is found. A loving wife brought back.

 

There are times I have felt shame for my feelings this year. There are days I wished I had the desire to stay up and hang out with my husband. There are nights I went to bed deeply regretful for losing my patience with my kids. There were times I felt guilty for not having the desire to attend a Zoom meet-up with some of my favorite people.

 

a mom wincing as she holds a sign that says #best mom
But, I have decided to put these feelings of shame and self-loathing aside and to extend some grace. If you feel guilty, sad, or remorseful for your actions over the last year, might I suggest you extend some grace to yourself as well? While we may not have all seen the best versions of ourselves, we were also not handed the best version of life. We were survivors through trial. We were soldiers at war. We were moms in crisis. While I am still somewhat sad for who I was this past year, I am also grateful for who I am now. I have come out on the other side. I have extended myself grace.

 

Do you need to extend yourself some grace as well?
I promise you are worth it. We should all be proud rather than ashamed, for we just survived a very challenging time in World History.

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Katie is a Des Peres mom of two young boys, Trace (2014) and Henry (2016). Katie stays home with her boys most of the time but also spends a bit of time away as a high school lacrosse coach. Katie enjoys connecting with other moms to run, meet at parks, explore new restaurants, listen to live music and discuss books. Katie and her boys can be found enjoying many activities around St. Louis including the Science Center, Zoo, Magic House, Museum of Transportation, Urban Fort and Frisco Train Store, but what they enjoy most is just being outdoors. They have tried many of the parks around St. Louis City and county and also love hiking trails at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Powder Valley and Shaw Nature Reserve. Katie and her family love all that St. Louis has to offer for families of young children and can most often be found taking advantage of all of the many opportunities.