Written by Guest Contributor, Kim Grabina-Como
I love what I do. In fact, I think I’m pretty good at it – scratch that, I know I’m pretty good at it.
However, the pandemic changed everything! It changed how I do my job, where I do my job, when I do my job — which ultimately changed ME.
I’m extremely blessed. I work for an organization that appreciates its employees and puts their safety above all else. So, when the pandemic hit, we quickly shifted to working remotely, a.k.a WFH (working from home).
Whatever balance I thought I once had went flying out the door when the shift happened. This once professional mom of two who took pride in her appearance had traded in her heels and handbags for leggings and loungewear.
I had been known to sport a headband, bandanna, or baseball hat on a Zoom video call, struggling most days to put on earrings. Earrings you say, who cares about earrings? But to me, that was like forgetting to put on a bra in public! I had always felt naked without earrings, no pun intended. I wouldn’t even leave the house to go get the mail until they were on.
But ahh, those days were over. Now I was just happy if I wore pants to get the mail. I can tell you my neighbors were happy, too! I often looked in the mirror and asked, “Who are you?”
I said something to a friend the other day, and yes if you want to know the truth, I said it out loud. I said: “I feel like I’m on maternity leave again, but at least with that there was an end date!”
Not to scare all of you new moms out there or to talk about something not all of us do, but I didn’t enjoy my maternity leave. Yes, I loved the time with each of my babies, but I found it very lonely and isolating. Be it an office setting, in retail, or a teaching job, one minute you’re surrounded by people, and then BAM you’re alone. So you can understand the comparison to WFH.
I’m almost TWO years into WFH with a scheduled return date to our office of March 2022. If you add it all up, I could’ve had another two kids and been wrapping up my second maternity leave! (BITE YOUR TONGUE!)
I know, many of you are thinking, boy does she sound ungrateful! She has a job, gets to work from home, and is healthy! But the truth is, I’m lost. I have no idea who I am. I miss who I was. Twenty plus years of getting dressed and out the door and heading somewhere to a place where people respect you – it makes you respect yourself more, too. I am learning to embrace the new me, but damn, do I miss the old me.
And as more dust gathers on those cute snakeskin pumps I so desperately miss, I’ll settle into my slippers (YES, I even wear them in public —no judgment please), welcome the yoga pants, and work really hard at finding value in this new WFH me.