Dear Mamas of Covid-19
I don’t think any of us could have possibly imagined how quickly, abruptly, and dynamically our lives were about to change just one short month ago. When the daily American grind came screeching to an almost immediate halt, shock and grief only naturally followed. The world has been cancelled. The biggest time-out situation of our lifetimes has arrived. And yet it hasn’t exactly been a time-out. It’s more like an extended over-time situation with no water-breaks, no second string to give us a rest, and less pay!
Some people are taking this well as all family members huddle safely at home and are enjoying a unique opportunity to re-invest in their primary relationships and take up new hobbies, learning new skills. Others find themselves stretched to their breaking point as daddy is an essential worker, leaving mommy home as babysitter, referee, principal, school-teacher, cafeteria worker, laundromat, and business employee. Others yet watch their loved one suit up every morning in masks and gloves, heading onto the frontlines at war with this unseen foe; praying for safety upon themselves and their family as they cautiously and secretly slip in through a back entrance at the end of the day to strip and disinfect before encountering their loved ones. Some mamas are on the frontlines themselves and have sent their kids to live with family indefinitely to avoid infecting them with what mom may be exposed to. And others yet have personally fought this foe… some have come out grateful in victory; others mourn as they could not even hold the hand of their dying loved one… now facing a grave with no memorial while simultaneously entering a fight for their own life.
It’s a whole new world right now and it makes sense that people are falling apart. This battle is no respecter of persons as it has slammed into people of every race, religion, political position and socioeconomic status. No one has escaped its sweeping impact. Incomes lost, careers ending, isolation, loneliness, overwhelm, sickness, death, loss, grief…so much uncertainty, so much unknown… the stress alone is unraveling lives, threatening marriage and family relationships, and deteriorating simple sanity.
But what I want to offer you right now is… hope!
Mamas…no matter which category of overwhelm that you fall into, I want to tell you that you are brave. You are strong. You are amazing. And. You. Can. Do. This. You are engaged in an epic battle of a lifetime and you have the ability to win. You win with every booboo you kiss, every math problem you teach, every heart to heart with your teen, every day that you survive, every morning you wake up and put your feet on the floor again. When your 6-year old can’t figure out his google classroom, your 4-year old is screaming and demanding marshmallows and your 2-year old mysteriously emerges covered in poop at 8:48am when you are scheduled to lead a work Zoom at 8:50am after a sleepless, mommy-save-me-from-my nightmares night, stuff may hit the fan. But you are a powerful woman! You can throw that child in the shower and hose her off while explaining out loud that marshmallows are not a breakfast food, the green button means go, and somehow still make it to your zoom! Yes it is hard! Yes there are moments that feel absolutely impossible and sanity seems to disappear right along with that last drop of cold coffee…BUT you can survive it! (and still vent and cry to your soul sisters in the afternoon while eating your secret stash of Twizzlers;)
Not saying I would know, but not NOT saying 😉
Give yourself grace! Know that you are doing your absolute best given the situation. And also please know that this will not last forever. This is a season. Even while the media, the government and all types of medical professionals duke it out with their opposing positions and predictions, no pandemic has ever lasted forever. Don’t give up! Don’t think that this is your life from now on. It may be your life for right now, but it is NOT your life from now on. It may be scary; it is certainly sad and you are definitely allowed to grieve the life you miss and the plans that were cancelled. But hang in there! When you feel your mind start to tell you that you can’t do this- shut it down and tell yourself you can. Tell yourself that while the end date is yet unknown, there IS one.
And in the meantime, get outside! It’s amazing what a little oxygen and sunshine vitamin D can do for your soul; incredible how even a short walk or bike ride can release just the right amount of endorphins to boost your mood and break you out of the afternoon funk. Let those kids burn off the cooped-up house energy! Drag your teen along and talk about the meaning of life while you walk;) Now is also the time to let go of perfectionism. If your expectations require a spotless house while 5 people and 2 animals are there 24-7… and straight-A students when you never even learned common core math yourself, you are opening the door to unending stress, tension, and major discouragement. Shut that door by choosing realistic expectations that are doable and RELIEVE stress, not add to it. And stay connected! I will agree with you (my assumption) that zooms and FaceTimes are getting old and are actually very impersonal…but it is better than nothing! Humankind is built with the need for relationship. When we unplug in isolation, our mental health will absolutely suffer because we are not meeting a very intrinsic and basic need.
And also now, more than ever, if you have never considered starting a conversation with God, I want to encourage you to consider it. While chats with friends and family can be momentarily comforting, there is something uniquely reassuring about speaking with THE ONE IN CONTROL when life feels out of control… something soothingly transcendent about speaking to THE ONE WHO KNOWS when everything feels unknown. On a personal level I can promise you, there is nothing at all that brings me greater peace…nothing else that puts my mind and my heart at ease than my chats with God. The feeling that comes over me is other-worldly… supernatural… and it cannot really be explained other than: you will know it when you feel it.
So mama- keep your head up, hang in there, and fight for peace and sanity in your homes while realizing what is realistic and what is not! You have the innate power and ability to set the tone and the atmosphere of your home in the way you manage the greatest stress of your life… AND… you actually have an extraordinary opportunity to teach your children how to overcome! You can show them that no matter what they may face in life, there is ALWAYS hope, and they never have to become a victim of their circumstances. Keep yourself refreshed physically and mentally with fresh air and a morning self-pep talk! Stay connected because we all still need a village. And look even more strongly to your faith, or consider reaching out to God if you never have before! Peace is available, and it can absolutely be achieved when you tap into THE SOURCE… no matter the storm!
And… just Rock on mamas…. rock on.