I’ll start by saying I consider myself very fortunate to be in a good spot, all things considered, with all the madness that COVID-19 has caused. Definitely a nerve wracking time to move cross country but we’re employed, insured and healthy.
More than anything, the time at home has been a test of my patience, something I’ve never had much of. Being Julian’s full-time entertainer, caregiver and personal chef while Ray is locked in our home office 9am-6pm has been more challenging than I’d expected.
I thought it would be like maternity leave, snuggle with Julian all day, read books, go for walks, watch some movies, but I wasn’t taking into account that he’s now a wild toddler not a sleepy infant!
So, while the house is constantly filled with noise, activity and littered with toys, I’ve found ways to conjure patience! Any and all free time has been spent reading and working on DIY home improvements.
Reading - I started reading for fun again. For those who know me, they’ll ask that I clarify what I mean by “reading.” I’m a listener, I use Audible and have for years. I consume books and enjoy listening to them thoroughly. This likely stems from taking 15 hour road trips with my family as a kid (pre-car TVs) with reading books aloud being our only source of entertainment. Pretty sure we got through 5 Animorphs books on that trip.
Anyways, on maternity leave I read 13 books. Excessive? Nope! Not when you’re trying to entertain yourself every 3 hours while you wake up to nurse! So, I’m quarantined, I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading and it’s quite honestly the only activity that shuts up my brain from constant chatter. I posted my audible book list in case you’re looking for some new reads. Be forewarned, I’m a bit of a nerd and rom-com junkie.
DIY - We bought a townhouse in St. Charles having only been to Illinois twice. A bit of a rushed decision but it’s a great space in a nice area, it just needs some updates! So, I decided to take them on. My parents are super handy and passed along some of those genes. They also used manual labor as a punishment instead of grounding me as a teen so I’ve painted many a wall and helped tile some floors. I wasn’t the easiest kid.
Luckily, that’s come in super handy since the move and during Julian’s naps and at night I’ve demoed two bathrooms, one half bath and one full, and rebuilt them from the studs. You can see some of the BTS below and on my personal IG page @monigerbini. I’m someone that thrives off of seeing progress and immediate results and while deconstructing fueled that motivation, reconstructing was a reality check.
They say measure twice cut once. I measure eight times and still screw up the cuts! BUT that’s all to say that it’s made me move slower and more deliberately. When working with cement, there is no editing or quick fix. Once dry, it's done.
So, I’ve found peace in moving like molasses through the two projects and it feels really good having a project with lots of components to sink my teeth into. Disclaimer- if seeing my before and afters makes you want to do some DIY projects, please do not follow the techniques I used. There are some awesome YouTube channels with people that actually know what they're doing.
This is all to say that the most effective way for me to be patient is to get out of my own head, which I’ve successfully done by pouring myself into two activities that require my full attention. If you’re like me, with a mind that’s constantly humming, a good book or DIY project may be therapeutic. If you take the DIY suggestion, start small or you may end up in over your head and very upset that you listened to me.