This essay was originally published on our parent site, The Local Moms Network.
None of the past few months makes much sense, and if you’re like us, you’re getting pretty darn tired. And not the kind of tired a solid 8 hours can fix (even though yes, that would be lovely anyway). It just isn’t normal to….
…Take on more than we ever have, from childcare to homeschooling (not to mention more cooking, cleaning and laundry).
…Offer all the emotional labor that goes into helping kids and partners cope with quarantine (while we’re all struggling ourselves), pivoting with no notice from in-person to home school, getting creative with summer plans (from backyard camps to road trips), and now worrying over the future.
…Lose ground on a career you’ve built for years and even decades—one that’s helped you be a better mom and partner. We’ve heard stories of women taking leaves from corporate jobs, moms cutting back on freelance or at-home businesses, or saying no to new opportunities. Even getting fired due to a lack of childcare. As the economy continues to open up, many schools are not, and stories like this one will become more common.
…Suddenly have to reconfigure dynamics of your marriage and identity as a woman, and maybe feeling like we’ve stepped into a time machine back to the 1950s. Working motherhood, is, of course, much more common today than in June Cleaver’s days—so instead of trying to “have it all,” which was never exactly a walk in the park at the best of times, we’re being forced to do it all—at the same time—without being able to rely on the backup systems we previously had in place for emergencies (sitters, elderly parents, etc.).
…Do laundry every…single…day. Does anyone feel like the laundry pile has turned into one of those trick candles at kids’ birthday parties? You do it, fold the clothes and turn around…and poof! Full basket again. How does this happen?!
…Feel like you’re being too negative if you can’t see a silver lining all the time. That’s not to say there aren’t quite a few—pretty sure curbside delivery is one of the few redeeming qualities of 2020! And of course we appreciate spending quality time with our little ones. We can’t deny there have been real blessings to be grateful for. But the relentlessness of this pandemic has made it difficult to focus only on the positives—and we’re giving ourselves grace on that.
…Have everything be up in the air, for months on end. Whether you’re a planner or go with the flow mom, it’s seriously not “normal” to find out (in August), that your kids may not go back to school.
…Spend the little social time you get sans kids talking about “how crazy this is”, and about how tired we are. And saying such inane things as “it’s fine, we’re fine, it’s all fine”…when it’s clearly not.
So what can we do? Our challenge for you this week is to find one thing every day to do for yourself, one thing to do for someone else and one thing to be grateful for. (And yes, they can be small and take a minute or two if that’s all you have.)
It’s so easy in these moments to skip even basic forms of self-care like showers or eating “real” meals (instead of just eating whatever your kids don’t eat) when your To-Do list is running onto a separate page. But subsisting on chicken nuggets and fumes truly doesn’t serve anyone—you or your kids.
Research has shown that doing something for someone else makes us feel better. So after you take a minute (or afternoon!) for yourself, take a few seconds and surprise a friend with an iced coffee, call to check in on an isolated family member, or donate food, money or supplies to a local shelter (many are depleted right now). You may be surprised at the boost it gives you.
And although we’ve just said that it’s difficult to count our blessings, we know it’s more important than ever to recognize every day what we do have—health, family, love, and each other. After all, we are still in this together.