Last year was hard and not much seems to be changing as of yet in 2021! These past twelve months have taken the term overwhelmed to a whole new level. In a world where mothers were already stretched too thin, a global pandemic was thrown at us. The kind that typically occurs once every 100 years and it just so happened to land right on us. We never signed up to parent during a pandemic but here we are.
My kids came home for a 3 week spring break and never left! Don’t get me wrong, I have loved spending this time with my children. We have made some really good memories together and they are learning life skills that will stay with them forever. Although I love them dearly, I really need a break! For twelve straight months, I have been cooking non-stop, homeschooling and caring for my kids. I have pulled every trick out of my hat to keep them from being bored. And I don’t know about you but I have never drank so much in my life. Mothers have had minimal help at a time when we could use it the most.
It is not easy when you’ve got emotions coming at you all day long when you have zero left to give. It’s not easy to juggle multiple schedules, google meets and homework that goes on into the evening. The inability to process my thoughts because every time I think I’m alone, somebody yells “Mom!” is frustrating. All of this while trying to keep the house clean, the laundry folded and the food stocked. And to the moms like me who are trying to work full time while juggling all of this – lol! Lord help me because I am tired! This pandemic has been isolating, lonely, overwhelming and utterly exhausting.
COVID keeps upping the ante on mothers and to be honest I’m about to break. It feels like I am getting the one-two punch multiple times a day. This is like a big giant shit show of stress that never ends. The phrase “we are all in this together’” does not apply here. If you’re not a mom who is still homeschooling the kids, running the household and keeping the family going during a fricking pandemic, do you even understand that we are not okay? Not only do we have to be concerned about ourselves, but we need to be concerned with the well being of our children. I know that I am not watching Netflix or taking any naps and I have forgotten what it is like to actually be bored. Let’s be honest, if there was ever a time when moms came last, it is now.
So what can we do about all of this? With stress levels at an all time high, experts are reminding us to put ourselves first. According to Dr. Borland of the Cleveland Clinic, “In situations like this, when things seem like they’re spinning out of control, it’s really important to shift your focus to what you do have control over,” he explains. “And that is prioritizing self-care without feeling guilty about it.”
It is not easy to find time to take care of ourselves with so much on our plates right now, but it is essential to our well being to find the time to do it. This is something I am still working on myself, it is so hard to find the time when you are completely exhausted. There is truth in the importance of taking the time out for yourself, I know when I don’t do it, I feel like I might explode.
While we are at a point where we deserve some alone time much longer than we are getting, it is important to realize every moment we can find to recharge is valuable. Self care for moms during a pandemic may not mean taking a bubble bath or getting a great workout in or anything that remotely resembles what we need to thrive. For me, getting up early just to have a quiet moment before the rest of the house awakens is a necessity. I’d like to say I stick to my daily routine of long walks for clarity but some days staying hydrated is all I can handle! Other times it is sneaking out to the drive-thru for my favorite coffee or it’s the 10 minutes alone in the car while filling up the gas tank. These moments provide time for a very quick recharge, and I’ll take it for what it’s worth! It’s a shitty reality that we have to recharge while running errands but this is parenting during a pandemic.
With the end hopefully, maybe in sight I have decided to keep my eye on the prize. So while I am waiting curbside for shit I never needed from Target, I’ll be dreaming of that tropical vacation to a secluded island I so desperately long to take. And just in case nobody tells you – Mom, you are doing an amazing job.
About the author: Dina Simpson is a mother of three who began writing after she lost her eyesight in one eye while attending a minor league baseball game. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Washington Post and she regularly writes for The Mighty. You can follow her journey to make ballparks a safer place for everyone on Twitter @dlsimpson15.