Can we take a moment before we go any further and just give each other a virtual hug, high five, or the “mom smile and nod”?
Great! We all needed that. Boy, did we need that.
What a week we have been through; our kids are no longer in school and they aren’t allowed to play with friends. Some of us have been laid off, or are trying to figure out how to work from home with kids (possibly alongside your spouse.)
I have had a range of emotions about it all; from happy that I have extra time with my kiddos and thankful we’re safe, to stressed about the unknown, emotional from watching the news, and scared. So, so scared.
We are told to practice social distancing, and we have watched as some places put strict restrictions on leaving the house. We have doctors and nurses working on the front lines of this horrible virus. Our county, state, and national leaders are working hard to “flatten the curve,” as we so often hear.
Our everyday life as we knew it has changed and we are just trying to figure it all out.
We are all in the trenches together. This is hard, emotional, and trying. We have often heard the saying “Parenthood, doesn’t come with a manual.” But I guarantee even if it did, there would not be a chapter on anything like this. This is uncharted territory for all of us, but there is a silver lining.
If anyone can make the most of a time like this, it’s MOMS. We are the strongest group of people I know. The days are going to be long, but they don’t have to be perfect! Come up with a schedule or some sort of guideline to follow, but if the day isn’t going according to plan and you need to plop them in front of Disney+ so you can get your work done, IT IS OKAY!
We had an emotional day recently; my oldest (who is six) was really missing her friends, and even though I thought she needed to have academic time the whole day, I realized she also needed that interaction she missed so much. So I threw our schedule out the window and let her spend a majority of the day video chatting, watching make-up tutorials, playing games, and making music videos via a messenger app.
As I sat back and worked on some much-needed tasks I had neglected that week, I heard a lot of giggles that had been missing from the days before. And in that moment I knew that more than anything else I had planned that day, she needed this more.
She needed connection, release, and fun.
In the days since, I realized I, too, was missing that interaction and connection with my friends. So since then, I have scheduled some virtual Happy Hours and Morning Coffee chats. Every night, our household video chats with my sister and her family, my parents, and my 86-year-old grandparents. It’s our way to check-in and see each other.
Sure, none of this is the same as being together, but the good news is that it won’t be like this forever. The other day after we hung up from one of our nightly check-ins I cried myself to sleep. I laid there thinking about what the last thing I said to those I love in person, and what I wouldn’t give to hug them right now or to see my parents and grandparents play with my kids. I know in time I will, but the unknown is still so hard.
Sometimes it takes a jolt from our daily lives to be reminded of all the good things we have going for us. All the things we should be thankful for that we take for granted and don’t notice every day. I can guarantee you at the end of all of this, our kids will put down the devices and play a little harder with their friends, and the get-togethers with our friends that we could never make time for will get put on the calendar. The trips we wanted to take as a family, or the things we wanted to see together will become a priority. We will all hug a little tighter, appreciate the handshakes, and enjoy simple joys such as seeing the same co-workers every day.
Now is the time to slow down, throw perfection out the window, stay in your pajamas all day, and do what YOU have to do, because nobody has all the answers for you. We are carrying around a lot right now, we are trying to navigate our way through this mess while supporting our family, working, cleaning the house, and putting food on the table.
It’s a lot, so reach out to others. Talk to your friends and your family and get your mama tribe together. Have a glass of wine and recharge. This chapter isn’t going to be easy, but what we make of it and how we grow from it will turn the next chapters into the book we always wanted it to be.
If you are struggling and want to reach out to someone, we have a list of local counselors that provide online counseling here.
If you are having a hard time discussing current events with the kids, we have some great resources here.