We’ve been home for a while now. I’ve lost count of the days; they’re all running into each other. This is not normal and we feel it.
School’s been out since the middle of March. High school seniors won’t have a formal graduation ceremony nor partake in any senior activities. No prom or class day. They don’t get that special treatment of getting out of school before all the other kids. There’re no large graduation parties or family gatherings. Our little kids don’t have their promotion ceremony congratulating them on a job well done. Our teachers didn’t get to say goodbye. Everything came to an unexpected, abrupt end.
Businesses shut down and people lost their jobs. Some were labeled as essential and were told to report to work, regardless of how they felt about the situation. Entrepreneurs and small business owners were left with the task of thinking outside the box to keep their business afloat. And those such as myself had to pack up a desk and work from home.
In an instant, we became stay at home moms that have to work, teach, cook, clean, and maintain our sanity. We didn’t have time to prepare…no plan, no past experience to fall back on. No “quarantine for dummies” handbook to order on Amazon. For some of us, routine is our life. Our family thrives off routine. My family thrives off of it. I never thought about what would happen if it was broken and stripped away.
I’m going to be real transparent here…I was not okay. I went from working on three huge monitors to doing everything on one small laptop. I didn’t have a home office and no space in our home to create one. I couldn’t work in the dining room because I have a toddler that demands my attention 24/7. I now had to work from home, continue to home school my oldest, make sure my middle child got her school work completed, did her I-Ready assignments, and stayed on task. And then my youngest needed constant hands on help due to her special needs. I had to be her teacher, doctor, therapist, and everything in between. PLUS, I realized my kids needed three meals and two snacks a day!
All of this may sound dramatic but it’s the truth. I knew I was blessed. I had everything I needed in the midst of the chaos. But the lack of control and not knowing what was around the corner sent my mind spiraling. I was already stretched thin and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t doing enough.
I love social media but it can distort reality. I applaud those moms that are able to work, teach their kids a full day of lessons, cook 3 meals a day, and bake something sweet for treats all while working on their side hustle. My hats off to you…I admire you. I’m all for women doing what they need to be successful and passing that drive on to their children. But what I do have an issue with is all the ones that make other moms feel bad because they’re not living up to some type of expectation that’s created to cause doubt and insecurities.
My job requires me to be at my computer when my workload is heavy. I couldn’t do it all. I had no plan, and because of the fact that I’m not the spontaneous type, I needed a plan. I always thought my schedule was for my kids’ benefit, but this quarantine taught me that it was definitely for me.
It took some time for this mom to accept this new reality. And that’s fine. And it’s also fine for you. If you’re not teaching your child during this time, for whatever reason, you’re not alone. For the moms that have to force yourself out of bed and put on a brave face to do what’s necessary, I see you. To the moms that are required to work outside the home because you have no choice since you’re the sole provider, I commend you.
There’s no right and wrong in this situation. You do what you must to thrive and survive. You have to stay mentally healthy. Not just for yourself, but for your children. Don’t be concerned about the weight you gain or the school assignments missed. You may not come out of this with a new skill or extra money saved. But if you come out of this healthy and your family is good, then consider yourself blessed.
It took me about 2 weeks to get back to me. It was a struggle. I worried about the health of my immune compromised daughter. My husband is considered essential, so I worried about him and his health. I needed help with my girls, so I had an additional concern for my sitter when she wasn’t with us. What she would bring into our home? My youngest with Down syndrome didn’t understand why we were stuck in the house. She knew something was off. She then got off her sleeping schedule and we didn’t sleep for days. It was time to take action and adapt. Time for a plan.
I created a new scheduler quarantine. And I made it fun.
I’m slowly accepting this new normal. I have a game plan. I remind myself daily of the positive things about this quarantine and the impact it’s had on my family interactions. I count my blessings. I’m still working, I have a loving family that checks on me, I group chat with my friends and loved ones that I wasn’t able to connect with before this quarantine. I’m enjoying having to be more flexible and creative.