Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Weekend Open Thread and Links

Today starts week nine of quarantine or whatever you want to call it. Is it really quarantine if I go out for a walk every day? Today I even went to the gardening shop and got some stuff to plant in our window boxes this weekend. I told Drew exactly what I want for Quarantine Mother’s Day, and part of what I want is to plant the window boxes on our deck – either with the enthusiastic participation of the whole family, or, if that is not possible, then I want to be left in peace to enjoy planting by myself, preferably with a Bloody Mary. Whichever seems most doable is what I want. How are you other moms hoping to spend this strange Mother’s Day? I hope everyone has as fab of a weekend as possible under the circumstances!

Here are a few links from around the web that might interest you:

16 Women on How Motherhood Changed Their Lives

Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree.

The Pandemic Is Pushing People To Revisit Relationships That Fell Apart

Engaged in December and married by May, coronavirus shaped our relationship … and our wedding

If you’re looking for a story that trumps the horror of of what we’ve witnessed and experienced over the past few weeks, there’s this: What We Know About the Killing of Ahmaud Arbery

Work From Home Is Here to Stay (and I, personally, think that’s a good thing – for our environment and our mental health…provided the kids go back to school eventually and people have the option of working in-person with their colleagues at least part of the time). How would you feel if working from home at least part-time became a post-pandemic norm?

17 comments… add one
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    MaterialsGirl May 8, 2020, 5:25 pm

    I like WFH on occasion, but it’s not for me under the current requirements (of also taking care of a child). I find I can get a lot more “thinking” work done while at home and end up working more and not taking breaks. However, because I’m manufacturing, there is nothing that replaces the in-person, in-plant experience. Right now, I miss people and commuting a lot. I’m trying to enjoy the days I’m WFH with my daughter and there are some good moments, but there’s a good amount of Sesame Street too. Although I can hide out in my room to work while she reads stories to herself. So I guess it’s a win that she’s learning to “entertain herself.”

    I’m having a really rough go of it lately. I am trying to remind myself to be grateful, and there are really so many things I am lucky to have. The reality of a summer indoors though.. it’s getting tougher and tougher to swallow. I’m in mourning right now. I’ll suck it up and do the hard things eventually, but it has been especially tough lately. I feel like have a permanent pit in my stomach, or a lump in my throat. I’m recognizing the constant level of anxiety and realizing I need to do more to address it and keep my blood pressure down.

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    • Kate May 8, 2020, 5:37 pm

      Yeah, my anxiety levels are pretty high about work on a daily basis now, and I’m not an anxious person.

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      • Kate May 8, 2020, 6:00 pm

        And my boss is getting slammed from above, so she throws a ton of shit at me accordingly and is more critical than usual. I can take it, obviously, but I miss the old her.

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        MaterialsGirl May 8, 2020, 7:00 pm

        Yea, I had to lay off a friend/employee today. They’ve been offered a position at a different location which sucks but the position itself would be great. Still hard. And looking ahead at furloughing. Just bad news after bad news

  • Kate May 8, 2020, 5:35 pm

    WFH part time is great. That’s what I was doing before the pandemic: taking the T an easy commute into the office 2-3 days a week, and working from home the rest of the time. WFH all the time is not great, except that we stay safe.

    Being in the office, I had access to a really nice, healthy, and cheap cafeteria. I sat with my boss a lot and went to face-to-face meetings. We would leave the office by 4 and take the same train home together. It was a nice routine. The office itself is super nice.

    At home, you stare at a screen the entire time and sit in one place. It’s not broken up by walking around, room to room, different comfy seating. Your eyes hurt. Your commute time gets taken up with more work. Senior management keeps preaching at us to take breaks, take days off, but no one can really do that.

    I did this before when I worked at another huge company. I got so busy I stopped going into the office and just sat like a monkey typing at a keyboard all day, not even showering because they didn’t bother with video.

    This is not great. I’m glad not to be taking the T right now, but I miss the office.

    That said, rigid requirements of being in the office EVERY day suck too.

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    • ktfran May 8, 2020, 6:46 pm

      I’m with you @kate.

      My company cut our hours and pay by 10%. Billable people can still charge 40 it they’re billable. It’s screwing people like me, business development/overhead. I clocked 56 hours this week and am getting paid for 36. I literally sat in my guest bedroom / office for 56 hours in 5 days. I didn’t even have time to eat lunch today. My team members are also busy so there is nobody to help.

      I’m over it. It’s not helping my mood that I didn’t get a thank you when we submitted two proposals.

      Anyway, before this, I went into the office almost every day (we’re flexible, it was by choice). After, I think I’ll practice a 2 days home / 3 days in the office situation. In-person meetings are so helpful when strategizing how to win new work.

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      • Kate May 8, 2020, 7:05 pm

        That really sucks. The silver lining for me is I’m hourly. I do appreciate that right now. Even 40 hours feels crazy when you’re literally just sitting and working, I can’t imagine 56. Christ.

      • ktfran May 8, 2020, 7:45 pm

        I so wish I was hourly right now!!

        And you’re right, even 40 is a lot. It’s really hard to get out and walk around, or even down a long hallway.

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    Copa May 8, 2020, 9:41 pm

    I generally like the routine of going into an office. My company is a bit dated and we don’t have a remote work policy, though I’ve always been able to WFH when I’ve asked. My boss has never cared, but because there’s not a consistent policy across the board, I’ve tried to keep it to a minimum. I wouldn’t mind a part-time WFH situation, but would want an at-home office set up for that. I’ve mostly been at my boyfriend’s place, and I sit in the back sunroom at a wooden table on a wooden chair. It’s not comfortable… the chair, the weird angle my neck cranes at to see my screen, the table wobbles despite my best attempts to stop it. When I’m at my place, I’m on the couch. I miss my two extra screens that I have at the office that make what I do so much easier. I miss my comfortable office chair. I miss the routine and seeing my co-workers. I miss my lunch breaks downtown, eating in the plaza on nice days, reading in the atrium of a nearby building on crappy days, maybe popping into stores or meeting up with my sister or a friend. I miss swinging by the gym on the way home some evenings, it was on my way home, or grabbing an after-work drink with someone. I’d hate working remote full-time. It’s isolating, not motivating, and way too easy to sit there all day without moving.

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      Copa May 8, 2020, 9:43 pm

      All that said, I’m very grateful to still have a job. The unemployment numbers are scary. And I know people who have been laid off, or who have gone through the stress of layoffs or furloughs at their companies and they’re on edge. I graduated into the last recession and I still feel like I have some kind of, like, PTSD from that time. I am terrified of being unemployed again.

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      • Kate May 9, 2020, 5:10 am

        Yeah, me too. I was laid off in early 2017, and that company has now cut everyone by 20%, and layoffs are coming, maybe this week. The guy who told me about it says he doesn’t even know if they’ll offer severance which, when I was laid off, you could get 9-12 months if you’d been there a long time. He thinks they’ll give little or nothing and blame it on covid.

        I‘m grateful af to have this job at a fin svcs company. Safe industry right now, and contractors are generally safer there than regular employees. It’s also a private company, which helps.

        And yeah, there’s no way to be comfortable at home. My parents dropped off an ergonomic desk chair for me from their Boston apartment that they’re not using, and it helps, but then there’s staring at a small laptop screen. And just sitting in the same place and not moving around. And being really tense.

  • sally562 May 9, 2020, 1:01 am

    I forgot how to make a new post on here but my question is what to do when your mother is depressed????? Anyone???

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  • ron May 9, 2020, 5:04 pm

    I’m part of the clearly at-risk population, my wife even more so, but being retired certainly eliminates a lot of the hassles you describe. Naturally we have health fears, but at least not economic fears for ourselves. We do worry about the younger generation in our extended family, some just recently into the job market; another a year away. Such an uncertain world. It would be nice if we had something at least vaguely approaching competent leadership.

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    becboo84 May 9, 2020, 10:19 pm

    I’ve been working from home since mid-March, thankfully only part time because I’m not sure how we would be able to swing our home life with four kiddos if my husband and I were both working full-time. I only work 20 hours a week anyway but will be laid off at the end of May. I work for a hospital, and they are on their third round of layoffs since this all started (for those who don’t know, outside of the major hotspots, hospital budgets have been very hard hit due to the elimination of anything deemed “elective.”) My husband works tangentially in healthcare, and has been working 60+ ish hour weeks from home since this all started, although his company just announced furloughs last week. He supervisors a team of 15, and including himself, all but two have been furloughed to some degree 🙁

    Thankful to love in a home with a yard that is near a wonderful bike trail, and we’ve had decent weather in Central Illinois. The kids play well together, but we are definitely struggling with the fact that many in our community are not following the stay at home order, so our four end up feeling frustrated and left out when they can’t join.

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      Dear Wendy May 10, 2020, 8:18 am

      Four kids, oh, bless you.

      There are so many experiences that sound so challenging right now: being high risk and afraid to leave the house; having to be on zoom for hours and hours every day (ugh); losing work and income; being sick (!); mourning a lost loved one and/or not being able to be close with a sick loved one; and just raising kids through this. It is all so hard, and when you have any combination of any of these, like most of do, it feels so overwhelming.

      But we’re going to get through this! It will take so much longer than any of us want or are prepared for, and it will be painful for so many, but we’re going to get through it.

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  • allathian May 11, 2020, 12:18 am

    I work for the government in the Nordics and I’ve been ordered to WFH since early March. For now, we expect it to continue until the end of August. My son’s in 4th grade and remote learning, but he’s going back to school on Thursday. I just hope this isn’t going to lead to a second wave of infections where everything will continue to be shut down for the foreseeable future. My husband’s also working from home. I’m very grateful that I’m not stuck in a tiny apartment in a big city. I’m also grateful that we’re allowed to walk outside and that masks have not at least yet become mandatory. If they do, I’ll probably shut myself in completely and not go anywhere except our yard. I’m a bit claustrophobic and just the idea of wearing a mask has my pulse racing.

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  • allathian May 11, 2020, 12:25 am

    Normally I WFH a few days a month to a few days a week, it varies a lot. The first few weeks of remote learning were tough for my son, who wanted a lot of support from me, but he’s pretty much settled down. Thankfully I don’t have to sit in meetings all day, so it didn’t disturb anyone else. Still, I write for a living and it’s tough to do if I get interrupted all the time. Our house is also big enough for all of us to work in different rooms, I’m in our home office upstairs, my husband’s in our guestroom downstairs and my son’s in his room upstairs. Because I have a home office, I have a nice big screen and a comfortable chair.

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