April 26th, 2020

planet

the long haul: pt II

A bunch of years ago I had an mom friend who was laid off during her maternity leave. Not good, I know, but trust me she was not sad. In fact she was pretty happy. It was her third kid, she wasn't happy at work, she'd been really going back and forth on what to do but her husband really wanted her to keep the job. She said the hardest part was keeping a serious distressed-looking face when she told him about it.

The thing is, she told me, is that during maternity leave nothing happens except for the hurricane of a newborn baby. you stop showering and don't care about a routine and nobody comes over. hell, after I learned I could nurse with either breast from a side-laying position, I didn't even have to roll over.

But she said the layoff made her suddenly realize that maternity leave wasn't just a few weeks... it was now the mode of life. She looked in the mirror one day and said, I have to learn to live like this.

Last month I felt weirdly surrounded by people who talked about "the quarantine" as if it were a finite thing, just a few weeks of curve flattening and we're done with it. I thought it was weird then, I really know it's weird now. We are all slowly realizing it. We have to learn to live like this. Working from home, limited grocery trips, lack of places to go, no gatherings... we can't just keep wearing the same leggings every day. We have to admit it's not ending.

Given that, how do we take care of each other? The people who lost their healthcare because they're out of work, the people who can't pay rent. Already, one of my small business owner friends was lamenting that if she gets a grant, it goes to her employees, it goes straight to their overdue rent, it's just for that landlord, just for his bank mortgage on the property, why not just give the stimulus straight to banks? it's those kinds of questions that have no answers and make me feel like we haven't figured this out yet. we have this new screaming thing in our house, and we have no idea what we're doing, but we think it's okay because it's only six weeks.