Not a hot mess; A spicy disaster

by Jessica Delaney, Principal, Engagement + Communications

I recently read this title on a serving spoon and laughed out loud.

Right now, with where we are in this pandemic, I know I can feel like a hot mess and others do too. Parents are now professionals and teachers and the kids are always home! People who live alone – I have heard from at least one – are having very deep conversations with birds and experiencing an unfamiliar loneliness. I am in week six of social distancing and keeping very close to my bubble. Now when we go for a walk the kids literally run to the other side of the pond if there’s someone else there. All strangers are now dangers.

What I am taking from a mantra of being a spicy disaster is that we are all doing our best, learning and re-learning what works and what doesn’t, and that we need to practice some self-kindness. Whether you are an engagement practitioner, facilitator, into community relations or another public-facing profession, you have likely tried to bring in a self-reflection or a component of  evaluation to the work. Sometimes this is as simple as asking: “what worked well?“ and “what would we change?”. Sometimes there is a more formal evaluation framework.

In this new reality, I have found the need for reflection to be important on the home/personal front. I journal random things every day, but here are a few highlights.

What has worked well for us so far?

  • Doing meal planning for the week as a family on Sunday. Makes doing a grocery list easier and means fewer discussions about what’s for dinner.
  • Having a formal start and end to the “school day”. My husband rings the bell every morning and they come running.
  • Using stuff up. This goes for everything from random hand cream to dried spices in the back of the cupboard. The kids are getting into it too… the craft supply bin is getting lighter!

What hasn’t worked well?

  • Going for a drive just for fun. I wanted to vomit. It was not fun and felt pointless.
  • Ordering stamps in the mail – ok this was mom, but I thought it was too funny… they haven’t yet arrived!
  • Online shopping when you can’t return things to the store.

So, whether you are climbing the walls with the kids, lonely as stink, or just wanting to curl up and cry… know that we are all there too, in different ways and on different days. When you think – I am a hot mess, remember you are not, you are a freaking spicy disaster and so is everyone else.