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I let myself cry, but then I keep going

We cry because it's all too much. It's overwhelming. It's fast and furious. It's all so brand new. But, then, after we cry, we dry our eyes. We keep going.

woman crying during coronavirus quarantine

There's a lot of sadness in the world right now. Sadness paired with worry. Worry paired with uncertainty. Uncertainty paired with trauma. Trauma paired with loneliness. Loneliness paired with heaviness.

It's a lot.

So, we cry.

We feel through our emotions.

We have our pity parties.

We vent.

We will rise.

But, first, we cry.

And that's okay. I cry for you, for me—for us.

I cry for the mothers who've had to deliver their babies while in medically-induced comas, the mothers who've tested positive for COVID-19 and haven't been able to hold their babies right away. The mother whose partner wasn't in the delivery room with her or who couldn't stay overnight with her.

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I cry for the mothers who planned on having their own moms in the delivery room with them—or maybe even a sister, friend or doula—but couldn't because of the strict one-person only policy many hospitals have implemented. For the mama who wanted their baby to meet their grandparents, right away, in-person, but who instead, met them via FaceTime.

I cry for the mothers about to give birth, sitting with so much uncertainty on their shoulders, as the baby in their belly kicks away—blissfully unaware of the chaos of the world they will soon be entering. I've never given birth amid a global crisis, and mama, I am sorry you have to. But I also cry for your strength. You are amazing. You'll forever be changed by this moment right here. And we'll forever be in awe.

I cry for the mothers who are also nurses. Whose heart feels torn. She doesn't want to leave her child to go into work. She doesn't want to leave her patients without her care. She doesn't want to abandon her partner or her responsibilities at home. She doesn't want to increase her co-workers' load if she isn't there. She doesn't want to get sick. She doesn't want to make this unimaginable choice. She doesn't want to fail anyone.

I cry for the mothers who are also doctors. Who go "home" to their empty hotel room or quiet house—the place where her partner and children are not. Who feels pain as she sits alone in the silence, wishing she could hear her toddler's giggles or her preschooler's movie requests—but she's separated from them in order to protect them. Who wishes for the comforting arms of her partner, knowing that would be the healing salve she needs.

I cry for the mothers whose mental load has exponentially increased since her family has started quarantining at home together. For those days you feel you're going to break as you set up your kid's third Zoom call, make the millionth meal, wash that load of laundry again, settle another sibling squabble and constantly refresh Instacart, trying to place an order.

I cry for the mothers who are trying to create some semblance of order or balance in their families' lives while keeping up with her full-time job. For your strength as you do the impossible—homeschooling while brainstorming, taking calls while taking lunch orders, emailing while entertaining.

I cry for the mothers who have lost someone they love. The ache in your heart, heavy as it has ever been, as you mourn without your extended family, as you wonder when you might be able to plan a memorial service, as you consider when you might be able to gather together to honor the incredible human you lost.

I cry for the mothers who are the healthcare workers at the bedside of the loved ones we are losing as they take their final breaths. I can't imagine the pain and heartache you are feeling. I cry for the weight you'll carry with you, for many days ahead. For the selflessness inside you and the heroism you may not have ever asked for or expected, but has been placed upon you like a badge of honor.

I cry for the mothers who are the hardworking grocery store and delivery employees who want to be safe at home, but also want to keep their steady paychecks. Who wonder if they've already been exposed to the virus as they stock the shelves or drop off a package and worry about what their plan will be if they get sick.

I cry for the mothers who are also teachers. Teachers who miss their students desperately. Who long for answers—when and if school will reopen, what the future of education now looks like, how to keep students engaged virtually. There's so much uncertainty, around school specifically, and I cry for the anxiety or worry you must feel.

I cry for the mothers who've lost their jobs. For the mother who doesn't know where their next grocery load will come from. The mother who doesn't know what her families' health insurance will look like now that she's been laid off. The mother whose savings is dwindling as she dips into it more and more to cover the bills. The unfairness of it all is maddening.

I cry for the mothers without any support at home. The single moms, the moms whose partner is deployed, the moms who are living separately from their partners working on the front line who are quarantined with their children all alone. Who shoulder each and every responsibility on their own—work, grocery shopping or ordering, meal planning, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bath time, bedtime, work, homeschool—without help or assistance. Single mothers, without any financial assistance sometimes, either. I cry for your exhaustion. I cry because of your strength and resilience.

I cry for the mothers who have to continuously say "no" to her kid's requests—"Can we go to the park?", "No", "Can we go see our cousins?", "No", "Can we go to Grandma and Grandpa's?", "No." The mothers who are consoling their children's broken hearts over missed graduation ceremonies and senior proms, while their hearts break simultaneously. You yearn to give them these experiences, to celebrate these milestones, and yet, you're not sure how to do that now.

I cry for the mothers who have canceled important plans. For the Disney trip you spent years saving for. For the first birthday you planned months ago with so much precision and creativity. For the canceled concert you looked forward to, the girl's weekend that you've postponed, the baby shower you may never get. I know the joy these events can bring, and I am sure the heartache feels monumental.

We cry because it's all too much. It's overwhelming. It's fast and furious. It's all so brand new, so foreign.

But, then, after we cry, we dry our eyes. The tears flow into our bloodstream and we power up. Power through. We dig into our reserves and we find our power. Our light.

We are mothers, and yes, we cry.

But then—we forge ahead. With a newfound strength, confidence and resilience—that, no, maybe we didn't plan for any of this, but we're sure as hell going to get ourselves and our families through it. No matter how many tears we shed first.

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners
@9_fingers_/Twenty20

As a mom, I say the phrase 'let me just…' to my kids more times a day than I can count.

Yes, I can help you log into your class, let me just send this email.
Yes, I can play with you, let me just make one more call.
Yes, I can get you a snack, let me just empty the dishwasher.

I say it a lot at work, too.

Yes, I can write that article, let me just clear my inbox.
Yes, I can clear my inbox, let me just finish this meeting.
Yes, I can attend that meeting, let me just get this project out the door.

The problem is that every 'let me just' is followed by another 'let me just'... and by the time they're all done, the day is over, and I didn't do most of the things I intended—and I feel pretty bad about myself because of it.

I wasn't present with my kids today.
I didn't meet that deadline.
I couldn't muster the energy to cook dinner.
The house is a mess. I am a mess. The world is a mess.

It's okay, I tell myself. Let me just try again tomorrow.

But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes and the list of things I didn't get to or didn't do well bears down on my shoulders and my heart, and all I can think is, "I am failing."

And I think that maybe I'm not alone.

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