I am one of the lucky ones. I have a supportive husband, who is in it with me, every single day. We both still have our jobs and are able to work from home easily. We have a backyard where the boys can run around. Our school system has embraced distance learning while making a real effort to make it as easy as possible on the parents. And above all, we are safe and healthy. And I feel like despite all that...It. Is. Hard. Like really hard.
Now, more than ever, I make an effort to check in on my mom friends, because mom guilt is real–and there is something about a global pandemic that has a way of compounding these already swirling feelings.
Group texts with my friends have become even more important. They are a place to vent about the day, show support to each other, and remind each other what day of the week it actually is. Every day a new friend is reaching out for validation because she feels like a bad mom, a subpar employee, a terrible wife, or some combination of all of these.
The other day, it was me who was struggling. I yelled a lot that day, and I'm not one who typically yells. After I cried and received the validation I needed from my friends, that I in fact was not a bad mom, I took a minute to think about what was going on around me. And the realization smacked me right in the face.
I am expecting so much of these little tiny humans, day in and day out.
The expectations I have set for them are not realistic given their ages at 5 and 2 years old. They do not know how to navigate this time, they have never seen anything like this before. And frankly, neither have I. It is uncharted territory for all of us. I feel guilty and sad. I want them to still be happy, sweet, loving kids, they deserve that. And I felt like my expectations were robbing them of that.
I am asking them to not be scared or worried about the virus, even though I am every single day.
I am asking them to understand "quarantine" and why they can't see their friends. I am asking them to understand why we no longer have big family get-togethers. I am asking them to understand that they can not hug their grandparents. I am asking them to understand why we can't go to the park or why school was canceled. I am asking them to give me space while I stress about unpacking groceries on the front steps with gloves.
I am expecting them to totally change up their routine, and now conform to mine.
I am expecting them to structure their school work and playtime around my work schedule. I am expecting them to be patient when I can't play with them every single time they ask. I am expecting them to be quiet while I'm on, what seems like, the hundredth work call I've had that day. And worst of all, I am snapping at them, when I'm on a deadline, and they have asked for their fifth snack of the morning.
Thank you, boys, for being resilient and flexible.
I have been forced to go from a helicopter mom, to a "yes I'll allow that" mom because I can't be everywhere at the same time. With the lack of constant attention, something beautiful has happened––they now play nicely together. They have become more independent and helpful to each other. They have taken on responsibilities and chores around the house. They are growing up in the best way possible, right before my eyes.
Thank you, boys, for thriving during this time.
Despite the uncertainty, stress and changes in routine, they are thriving. We are thriving as a family. Hearing them say "I love quarantine" makes my mama heart melt. And, honestly, I do too. It has been amazing to slow down, and not be rushing from one place to another, all week and all weekend. We love eating every meal together and having slow starts to the day. Spending all day in PJs has become a regular occurrence. Watching them play together in the fort they built, that has a NO PARENTS ALLOWED sign, makes me smile proudly.
Thank you, boys, for continuing to teach me about the important things in life.
Part of me wishes we could stay in this little bubble of love forever. I feel so lucky to have received this time back as a family. You both have made it so much fun. You both bring so much joy and laughter to my life. You make me proud to be your mama.