Comparison and Kindness During COVID

Kindness During COVID
MARIN AND I ON A VERY IMPORTANT WORK CALL

Comparison and Kindness During COVID

We are all going through an experience right now that’s testing us in ways we may have never thought possible. I would say it’s safe to assume most of us never anticipated we would go through a global pandemic in our lifetime. This is unchartered territory. I still struggle to wrap my brain around it. In some ways it has brought out the good in people, in other ways it’s brought out an ugliness. In recent weeks I’ve noticed a nastiness and an anger directed at one another that seems more often than usual. And in some ways I understand. There’s a lot of fear and isolation happening right now, and that can manifest in ugly ways. I know that when a person treats you poorly it says more about them than it does about you, but sometimes it still stings.

As I adjust to what my life looks like now as a mom I sometimes struggle with the feeling of not doing enough. I didn’t know what to expect from motherhood. It has surprised me in so many beautiful ways. I love it. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I sometimes feel a wave of anxiety about not being able to do what I once was. As someone that has been in the business of blogging and social media for almost 6 years now, I’ve gotten really good at letting criticism roll off my back. For the most part I don’t worry about the small minority that has something nasty to say to me. I know not to fall into the comparison trap because what you see on social media is just a fraction of reality. And yet lately I sometimes find myself doing that.

I open Instagram to see how someone has done 7 days of workouts and I haven’t done any. How someone has cleaned and organized their entire house and mine is chaos. How someone is cranking out new content everyday when I haven’t found time to write a new post in a week. Some days I feel paralyzed. When I do find a free hour I don’t even know what to do with it. Do I shower? Do I clean? Do I work? Do I fold laundry? Do I sit outside and just do nothing? And then I feel bad for feeling bad. I am so lucky, I am so blessed, I am truly grateful, I am privileged. And I have nothing to complain about. I have everything I need during a time when so many are losing so much.

I love my life and I am so deeply grateful for this time with my baby. And I feel like she’s changing every day and it’s magical to witness. I had no idea I could get so excited over a baby squealing or discovering her hands, haha. I didn’t have a ton of expectations for what I would and could do when I had a baby, and yet I sometimes find myself still feeling disappointed in what I haven’t done. This is my livelihood and I’m lucky enough to say I love what I do for work. It has been hard at times to accept that sometimes I need to slow down, to accept this pace of life right now.

The truth is, I find pleasure in the simple things. My dogs, gardening , a walk on the trail behind our house to see the horses, trying a new recipe. My life is different with a baby but in many ways it’s actually very much the same. So my point is, if you’re struggling, it’s ok. We are all figuring this out as we go. It’s ok if you haven’t worked out. It’s ok if you haven’t baked a beautiful loaf of bread. (Who can even find flour these days?). It’s ok if there’s a pile of unfolded laundry. And it’s ok if you can’t get as much work done. It’s ok if you just feel uninspired sometimes. It’s ok if some days you realize it’s 3pm and you never got dressed. I’m choosing to focus on all the good, and spreading a little kindness wherever I can. After all, kindness is free. I hope you’re doing ok. I love you all. Thanks for being here.

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35 Comments

  1. Allison wrote:

    Thank you for your consistent honesty and transparency. I am not a mom, so I can only imagine how challenging it is to balance all of your roles and responsibilities, especially amidst a pandemic. Just know that you are doing AMAZING and you are enough. I love following along for this new part of your life. Have a good day!

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      That’s so kind Allison. I really appreciate it and thank you for being here! xx JEss

      5.12.20 | Reply
  2. Melissa wrote:

    So much love to you too Jess! Motherhood is hard at all stages. We here are entering preteen drama! But I can vividly remember the baby stage like it was yesterday. It is very much survival mode and doing your best not to melt down with your baby everyday. I for one do and have loved your content from my first click on follow. You are real life and to see that play out on a phone screen from miles away is very comforting. We are all navigating through our own personal shit but that doesn’t mean it is okay to dump it on someone absentmindedly. You say it best kindness is free!! ♥️♥️♥️

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Haha I’m sorry I can’t help but laugh at “preteen drama” because I’m remembering how I tortured my parents like it was yesterday. Thank you for the kindness Melissa I appreciate you being here. xx Jess

      5.12.20 | Reply
  3. Ailsa wrote:

    Yay to no bashing. Some days I feel on top of the world and am super productive, other days I’m a slug. I allow myself plenty of grace, because in the end it’s all I can control.

    5.12.20 | Reply
  4. Noel wrote:

    Hi Jess,

    Wanted to take a second I hardly ever dm or comment on posts but wanted to let you know what this article meant to me. Life is so tricky right now and you really put it into perspective in this article we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves and others right now.

    I was heartbroken to read the nasty comment that you posted on stories this week that someone said you were boring them. I absolutely love your account. I did a big unfollow of bloggers about 6 months ago and I’m just following people that give me a feeling of authenticity. You are the gold standard for this! I love how real you are! I know try to buy more sustainable fashion and home products because of you! Keep doing what you are doing, you are putting great content love your family and seeing it grow has been so lovely.

    Big time fan!

    Noel

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Hi Noel. That’s so kind of you to say. I really appreciate it and I’m so thankful you’re here. xx Jess

      5.12.20 | Reply
  5. Lynnbcroland wrote:

    I really loved reading this post Jess. I can only relate to blogging and getting nasty comments by being so very open on Facebook. I wrote as a hobby, that’s all and so I’m very open and I will say what I think and express what I’m going through to friends and the nice people I have met on FB through old friends that I grew up with . Some have lost adult children as I have and it’s very supportive for me. Some are not at all. I follow you because I was a lot like you when I was younger . I lived in NE too on a farm close to the Vermont area you both love. You are so honest and kind and have the home I dream of having again . I’m so very happy for you . I’m very isolated here now in Florida and my days are filled with a less joyful busy. I’m doing medical cancer tests and memory tests with my husband. My only daughter left is bi polar and I’m trying to find her safe housing. Not easy here. Every day I expect to accomplish more and I seem not to. Every day I drink my coffee and steal an hour to read your blog , look at your pictures and maybe can’t imagine who I was before long ago when my kids were young and I had this lovely farm and baked bread and had this wonderful garden. There was no pandemic and I had my animals and a partner right near the Vermont you love. But now I never know what each day will bring now and I need to find that extra hour with my coffee cup and feel I can relate to exactly what and how you feel. You have a beautiful life Jess . Yes, it’s a terrible time. I never saw such things like this and I’m scared to go out . I wish I could sit outside. Don’t worry about me. I find time to buy a lot of things you recommend. I got the pink striped Rails shirt too. I’m so very proud of you! You did it my girl❤️

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Amy wrote:

      Jess- I love your values, your realness and your authenticity. You keep doing you, with all the ups and downs, all the tough times and joys, that entails. You are captivating! Love following you.

      5.13.20 | Reply
  6. Melinda wrote:

    Wonderful message. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    5.12.20 | Reply
  7. Alicia wrote:

    Thank you for this Jess. During these uncertain time I often find myself using the mantra from Amy Poehler, “Good for her, not for me” as I look at Instagram, read blogs or participate in zoom catch-ups. It helps to keep me/ stop me from comparing myself to others.
    Thank you for always being true to yourself. I have loved following along on your journey of life.

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thanks Alicia. That’s a great mantra. Appreciate you xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  8. Hilary wrote:

    Thank you for putting this out into the world! I’m so sorry that one person had something so negative to say to you. Human nature can be difficult because it makes you ruminate on the bad, but please know that SO many more of us absolutely love your content. You are my favorite person to follow simply because you are so real and your life feels attainable when so many bloggers post things that are out of reach for me. I relate so much to and aspire to have the life of beautiful simplicity that you have carved out for yourself and your family. Please keep doing what you’re doing. There are a lot of us who love coming along for the ride!

    5.12.20 | Reply
  9. Kelsey wrote:

    I just want to echo what people have already said about your authenticity. I love your content and especially your reflections. Also, whenever I see Nora or Fuji or Hunter appear as I’m watching stories, I feel my shoulder relax and a smile form on my face. I realized it’s a beam of sunshine that breaks through almost daily.

    Wishing only good things for you!

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      That’s really kind. Thank you Kelsey. Appreciate you being here xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  10. Serene wrote:

    Oh my gosh, thank you for writing this! I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear it all until I was reading it. Such a good reminder to find the good and be kind and patient with each other and ourselves. Totally resonate with the working out 🤣 love you and your honesty! 💕

    5.12.20 | Reply
  11. Hayley wrote:

    I remember those new baby days like they were yesterday and they were rough! Add a global pandemic on top and I can’t even imagine. Whatever your body is telling you to do in the moment is right and fine. I mentally punished myself horrendously for not being ‘enough’ when I had a newborn and I don’t ever want anyone else to go through that. I only found this blog recently but it has been a great inspiration to me as I look to simplify my own life! So thank you for that and I look forward to reading more. x

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you for saying that Hayley. I’m sorry you went through that. Appreciate you being here. xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  12. Rita wrote:

    I am loving this post – I started this stay at home order thinking I’d be so productive and get so much done. I thought I’d be whipping up new content for my blog, and doing tons of house projects, and gearing up for the welcoming of our baby. But the reality is, I’m not feeling inspired to work on my blog, and some days I’m just beat, and part of that is pregnancy, but part of it is also just the emotional trauma of this whole thing. Being OK and kind to ourselves during this time is clearly most important. Thank you for this raw and real post.

    5.12.20 | Reply
  13. Faye wrote:

    Good for you for writing this, Jess. I can’t understand anyone who would put hate or negativity out into the world right now. And as for not doing enough… My two children are 4 years old, and 5 months (so like you I too have a quarantine baby at home). The greatest gift they ever gave me is the gift of slowing down and appreciating the little things. I’d always been that way inside I think but the world heaps on the pressure sometimes and it was like they gave me permission to follow my heart and my healthiest pace. I still have days when I wish I could fit more in, but I have way more moments of simple delight (or perhaps I’m more likely to be moving slowly enough to notice them?). Like many people I’d imagine, i follow you for your thoughts and insight as much as anything else. So it really doesn’t matter so much how you’re choosing to pass your time!

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you Faye so kind of you. And congrats on the baby, hope you are all fairing well. xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  14. Katie wrote:

    You are amazing for all that you continue to accomplish—and now with a baby at home! Thank you for bringing out the good in people and focusing on the important lessons in life.

    5.12.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you Katie xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  15. Karen Craven Yetra wrote:

    Thank you for writing this post – it is soooo important. We are all struggling in this new world…. some are just more honest in sharing their struggles than others. But the need for compassion and empathy is critical in how we will navigate this pandemic as a community. Keep showing us how life is lived with grace and humor and your “contribution “ will be larger than you can ever imagine. Big hugs from Cape Cod!

    5.13.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      So true Karen. Thanks for being here. Hope you’re doing ok. Appreciate you. xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  16. Jen wrote:

    The first year is hard, period. My daughter is nearly five now and it goes by so fast, you will get more you time in coming years. What you are doing is amazing and I love your content, as you say just do what you can and leave the rest…a pile of laundry is not going anywhere, you don’t get that first smile or footstep again.

    5.13.20 | Reply
  17. Jackie wrote:

    Thank you for being honest and sharing your thoughts and feelings. I think it’s easy to forget even for me that other people might feel that exact same way. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one. Between Instagram, our own expectations, and our comparison with others it gets overwhelming. You keep doing you! You’re doing better than you know!

    5.13.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thanks Jackie. Same to you. Hang in there. Appreciate you xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  18. Gabrielle wrote:

    Brava Jess!! Always something to glean from you and your blog. Enjoy the time with Craig, Marin, Fuji, Nora and Hunter. Look forward to warmer weather!! You do you.

    5.13.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      Thank you! Appreciate you xx

      5.13.20 | Reply
  19. You’re the first blogger I’ve ever followed and I thoroughly enjoy everything you post.
    You are strong
    You are beautiful
    You are enough
    Carry on 💕💕💕

    5.13.20 | Reply
    • Jess wrote:

      That’s so sweet. Thank you Catherine. Appreciate you xx

      5.14.20 | Reply
  20. Chloe wrote:

    Jess –
    Thanks for writing this. It’s been nice watching your transition to motherhood and the new direction your life is taking. I’m sorry that someone told you it is boring, especially if this was in regards to becoming a mother. I think every woman truly feels some guilt and insecurity during such a big life transition, and mourns the loss of her prior life so you are not alone!
    I will say, I hope you continue to severely scrutinize your partnerships, however. Lately, it does seems as though this is something you are straying from. I understand it is a sign of the times, and that we are all struggling economically, but just something to think about. This is definitely a change that I have noticed in your content.

    5.15.20 | Reply
  21. grannydebs_ wrote:

    Very nicely said. You can always bake that bread next month, next year, or buy it at the store. You are fortunate to have figured all this out at such a young age. You will have many, many years of happiness ahead!

    5.17.20 | Reply
  22. Sarah wrote:

    Oh goodness, this was exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you so much for sharing! I truly couldn’t agree on what you wrote. I’m lucky enough to still be working but I find days where it’s just struggle city and I can’t seem to do much of anything. I start to feel bad that I’m not really “working” when I should be since I do have a job, but I need to remember that this isn’t a normal situation. It’s okay to not be okay and to continue to have the feelings I’m having. I just need to do a better job of sharing that with those around me.

    5.18.20 | Reply