After the Global Shutdown + a toddler

Maggie Campbell
3 min readNov 13, 2022

Everyone has a pandemic story. Here’s mine.

My last publication was October of 2020. Ellie was born August 2020. This is not a coincidence. Ellie stayed home with me while I worked from home full-time with a newborn, then an infant, then a toddler, and now she’s a tiny human. There is not a single person who hasn’t asked me, ‘how did you do it?’ and the honest answer is ‘I don’t know.’

The best I can come up with is when you are in it, you just get through it. Ellie often sat an extra hour in a wet diaper because I had a client call. A client often saw Ellie on our zoom meeting because I was feeding her a bottle while I explained how their new request will affect their delivery date. I also had the advantage that everyone was going through it with me — so we all gave each other grace. That became the new normal.

It also meant working late into the evening while I wasn’t the one to put Ellie to bed most nights. Life is just a series of choices. I did not work the traditional 8 to 5. I worked 8 to 9:30pm with many, many wonderful motherhood interruptions. What a blessing for that level of flexibility.

In early 2021, I joined a new company. In addition to Ellie being four months old, I was a new employee with something to prove. Like many, many of us, I am still in the phase of giving of myself just up to the point where I might burnout. Sort of a corporate roulette we play with ourselves to see who cracks first: the workload or our own mental stability.

What did I give up? These portfolio blogs, looking for additional work, my website, electric duck designs, among other things.

Oh, and I gave up social media. All social media. No Facebook, no Instagram, and especially no Twitter — in fact, my twitter was hacked by a crypto currency who posted every day, multiple times a day about the glory of blockchain. Which does make me wonder, ‘if crypto is so legit, why do these currencies need to hack people’s social media accounts to get their message out?’ Maybe I’m just old now.

I have missed writing for my portfolio. I have missed the metacognition exercises about working in both the corporate and the startup world.

Why do we work?
Why do we create for someone else’s dream?
Why do I lose sleep worrying, or get up at 4:30am for a client call, or give up my Sunday afternoons for a company where I am only one of 400 people?
Is our common goal to make the C-level execs a TON of money?

Because if my only goal was to make a life for myself and provide for my family, I wouldn’t be so obsessed with my self-identification as a “good employee.” So there is something else driving my earnest desire to thrive under this daily entropy. Something else pushing me to be better and better at building widgets and helping clients reach their widgety goals.

So WELCOME BACK, and let’s see what the future holds for us as we draw 2022 to a close.

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Maggie Campbell

Experience designer, content curator, confidence builder, joy cultivator, dog + tiny human mom, chronic over-thinker, deficit levels of attention