During this global pandemic, people are finding ways to “make things work.” But many of us are still under the same roof with our families all day. And it is a LOT.
Before COVID-19, I was able to find some personal space (despite my hectic schedule). It may have been in the makeup chair before co-hosting “Morning Joe” or quietly sitting on a plane traveling to an event. I could at least depend on a few minutes with my own thoughts.
Now, I’m co-hosting “Morning Joe” from my house with my husband, managing the needs of our seven kids, handling all of our pets, taking care of my 88-year-old mother and more. I’m constantly surrounded by folks who always need a piece of me, and it can feel like my home life and work life are constantly bleeding into each other.
Still, I’m very lucky, and I know it. My family is healthy and we’re getting time together. I have a job that I love amidst a catastrophic recession that has thrown tens of millions of Americans out of work. But the idea of personal space? It seems like a joke. But it’s so very important.
Carving out personal space is particularly hard for women, because so much is falling on us during this uncertain time. But we all need to commit to reworking our plans and our ad-hoc routines to make sure we get at least a few minutes of space each day. Time to ourselves allows us to recharge so we can give our best to the people around us.
In my own life, I’ve gotten back into running and recommitting to daily meditation in a quiet room by myself. It’s helped a lot.
Moms of young children may find that it’s particularly hard to find personal space as they juggle working from home while having their kids under the same roof. That includes on-air MSNBC moms Katy Tur and Kasie Hunt. I recently chatted with them to find out how they’re finding time just for themselves.
Katy’s basement is not only a television studio for herself, but also for husband Tony Dokoupil, co-host of “CBS This Morning.” And the couple is also raising their son Teddy, 1, in between reading the news, preparing for their shows, getting made up, printing off scripts and more.
“I wish I knew what the words ‘quiet moment’ meant,” Katy told Know Your Value. “There are no lines between home and work. It used to be that even if I had a crazy day, I could sneak away with a colleague for coffee, or at least do a crossword on the train—now it’s all feeding, cleaning, reading, writing, reporting, feeding, bathing, reading, cleaning, sleeping.”
“Not to say that I don’t love all the extra time with Teddy. I just wish I had a moment!” Katy added.
Still, she tries to find personal space for herself and urges others to do the same. “Find a quiet corner, whether it’s your bedroom, your basement, or your bathroom, and close the door. Buy a noise machine, if you have to," Katy said. "But close the door and get some space.”
Remember: It doesn’t make you a bad mom, daughter or person to want a little bit of space. It doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the silver linings of getting more time with family right now.
It just makes you human.
You may have to work out the logistics with your partner. Maybe it's scheduling in a late-night walk. Or, it might just be a call with a friend where you go into a room and close the door and have a safe place to vent.
Like Katy, Kasie is also working full-time from home with her husband Matt Rivera, a senior digital producer for “Meet The Press.” In between work and taking care of their 1-year-old son, Mars, Kasie is trying to add a few minutes of yoga or meditation to her exercise routine—even though it isn’t always easy.
“The reality is even making sure that routine stays on track feels like a huge lift some days,” Kasie says. “But it makes a huge difference when I do it.”
Are you struggling to get personal space right now? How are you finding a moment to yourself, mentally and physically, during the pandemic? Send your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.