At the end of February of this year, my husband, our daughter, our cat and I moved out of our apartment to camp out at my parents’ home in upstate New York for what we thought would be two to three weeks as we prepared to move into a new apartment in Brooklyn. We had one of those unraveling days of movers and cleaning and leaving things on our old stoop in hopes that passersby would find some treasures. We finally made our last trip down the stairs, drove the hour north and cozied around the dining table. My dad said, “Well, here’s to it,” and raised his glass. I said, “Here’s to always being able to come home,” and made a nod of gratitude mixed with a smirky self-awareness of what a “millennial” thing I was doing.
The timing of our move was fortuitous, as we all know the next couple of weeks unfolded in a way that hardly anyone anticipated. Chiefly, we didn’t risk my parents’ health to come be with them. At first, we were all bumping against one another, but we’ve now been here long enough to settle into a schedule of work and baby care and taking time for ourselves. I am never excelling at all three of these things at the same time, but occasionally I feel like I’m in a flow state. So, I’m sharing a few things that are working for me (and some things that are definitely NOT working for me).
- Per a friend’s suggestion, My husband and I split our day with my parents around our daughter’s nap time. I’ve found that I more or less get a full day of work in and when I’m on with my daughter I can really try (not always succeeding) to be off my phone and present with her. Phone guilt weighs heavily on me.
- Admittedly, I have not found a great way to fit exercise into this day. It’s been very weather driven, so I expect it to improve when we finally get a stretch of sunny days. I have been trying to be outside as much as possible since we’re much closer to nature here (very lucky!) and that always elevates my mood. When I do exercise, I’ve been making up my own tabatas and doing Dancebody sculpt videos.
- I’m trying to get to bed earlier, OK?
- We’ve been switching off dinner responsibilities and, while I’m not really skilled in the kitchen, I have enjoyed making and eating this chicken and cauliflower sheet pan dish. It’s bright, has depth, and you probably already have everything you need spice-wise. I’ve been enjoying lots of ice cream and cookies after dinner. With so much existential questioning lurking around every corner, sweets have found a guiltless home here.
(Social) Media Consumption
- I’ve been spending a lot less time on Instagram. I feel like IG went from FOMO to the “dread of feeling like I could be doing more.” I was watching people getting outside with their kids and saying to myself, “Shit! I need to get outside with my kid,” and fully discounting the hike I had done the day before. So, I traded it in favor of a little more Twitter, for actual news consumption, and Tik Tok, which is providing great escapist entertainment. For anyone older than Gen Z - you don’t have to create an account to discover videos on Tik Tok!
- I have been spending more time reading and less time watching TV. I realized it’s because I can be alone reading, while TV usually involves other people. I love my family, but we certainly have spent more time together in the past several weeks than anyone was prepared to, so books won. Check out “The Fourth Turning,” by William Strauss and Neil Howe if you’re interested in history and the waxing and waning of economies.
- I’ve even done a few NYT crossword puzzles (just a brag).
- All of my clothes are in storage, so I've worn the same thing day in and day out. The only things I've really purchased while we've been in quarantine have been things to entertain my daughter (she's 18 months old - I'm taking any/all suggestions).
- I have purchased some skincare items from Follain. I love their new line and some of my standby favs from brands like Pai and Naturopathica. My hair is starved for moisture. Maybe I will finally get a natural haircare program going?
We raised our first bit of institutional capital just before COVID-19 set in. So, I’ve also been spending time talking to other entrepreneurs, investors and customers on how they are making heads or tails of this market and what is to come. Setting aside the gravity and the risks to everyone’s health, safety and ability to make ends meet, I’m fascinated by the current state of retail and writing the future of it.
I started Rebecca Allen to help women move through their work world effortlessly, but I am driven by a commitment to the advancement of women, particularly women of color, at all levels and stages of work. As women, we’re finding ourselves disproportionately affected by this economy, but I believe that we will emerge with new opportunities that will lead to more flexibility and ultimately more, and better, paths toward financial freedom.
Click here for a little peek at how we’re working to solidify this future. I want to give a special shout to my friend Meg Stacker for shooting me and my squirrely girly on FaceTime - Meg's work is amazing and fun, and she's working on a beautiful series of mamas living, loving and making it through quarantine.
I hope you and yours are safe and sound. I'd love to know what you're doing to make this time work for you - so hit me at rebecca [at] rebecca-allen.com.
Standing up (in sweats),