Parents, how are you?
No but seriously, how are you?
When my daughter was about 5 weeks old, I was home alone with her on my maternity leave and “she” had a total meltdown.
She is me. I am she.
I was having problems nursing her, she was being fussy, wouldn’t go down for her nap, her schedule was all fucked up, I was emotional from all the hormones, I couldn’t leave the house to get fresh air or take a break from being “New Mommy” because I didn’t have any help until the ex-hubs came home. I felt alone, I had no one to talk to. I dealt with the stress by eating snacks, and then felt guilty for eating snacks because “shit, I have to lose x amount of lbs to get back to my pre-mommy body…”
Does any of this sound familiar?
I remember saying out loud while Mia sat in her little chair finally asleep.
“Fuck, I can’t wait to go back to work”-
I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning, shower, get dressed go to a place where I can think and do things that don’t involve my kid. If I had to talk about how much she pooped in a day one more time, I would scream….
Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a mom and Mia was and still is the most incredible gift of my life and going back to work was definitely hard/heartbreaking. But staying at home full-time with her was just not for me. I commended all the wonderful parents that chose/choose to be SAH, and respect it full heartedly… All that being said, I couldn’t wait for normalcy, and having that date in my head helped me get through it and actually enjoy every second of motherhood. Then that day came, I wore a sexy suit jacket, heels and the only stretchy pants that fit me, put some lipstick on, kissed my baby and took the train to work. It was glorious. I felt normal.
And now here we are.
Mia is 7.5 years old and it’s like I am on maternity leave again. This time, as a divorced mom/co-parent and small business owner, in a pandemic…
So I asked you guys, how are you? Like really?
Because I’m not OK.
We are entering in week 5 of this quarantine, and I really thought by now things would be in a “groove” that my apartment would be filled with DIY family fun art/exercises we see plastered all over the internet, Mia’s homework would be A++, we would cook new recipes together, she would actually eat something other than pasta with butter or Nutella sandwiches, and her hair would be brushed, room organized and maybe she would even learn to speak Hebrew?!
None of that is happening.
Reality is, every day is a struggle and I share co-parenting duties with my ex-husband (who is a great dad and very involved) and still, I struggle.
Mia watches way too much TV. She also has an iPad and an old iPhone so she can FaceTime her friend and play games. She has a laptop now for homework, but also more games. The amount of screen time she is getting is excessive. More than I am happy to admit.
She also has full access to the snack cupboard and doesn’t even ask me anymore before she grabs whatever she wants. Mia ate Doritos the other day at 9:30am as I was on a call and saw her in the corner of my eye. I shrugged and said to myself, “At least she’s eating and not bothering me right now”
I feel awful just writing this, but it’s the truth.
Times are weird, we are quarantined at home with our energetic kids. We are expected to continue “working” or in my case, spending time anxiously reading news articles, applying for loans and unemployment, and running this city wide relief effort… AND we are expected to homeschool them.
Let’s talk about this for a second.
We have to homeschool our kids? Like, actually teach them stuff? I failed math FYI, and second grade math makes absolutely no sense. Also, why does every mathematical question asks how many cats are left? Are teachers watching too much Tiger King these days? What in 2020’s name is going on? Is this happening?
This YouTube Video of an Israeli Mom that went viral a few weeks ago basically sums it all up.
The thing is, the times we are going through are NOT NORMAL and the thing I struggle the most with right now aside from the homework is pretending like all is well in front of my child. That is my struggle. Mia is so smart. The other day, she said, “Mom, why are you so stressed out? You’re acting crazy again.” My adorable 7 year old is telling me I am acting crazy. And just so you all know, I’ve been hiding the crazy from her. On the days when she’s with her dad, or when she goes to sleep, or when I hide in the bathroom for a very long time and say “Mommy is pooping give me 10 more minutes,” I am losing it.
So no, I am not OK. And that is OK.
The thing is, there is a silver lining. That those good moments we do have, those tiny accomplishments, the smiles, the cuddles, the laughs are so much more awesome now. When Mia comes home to me after spending two days with her dad, I cry from happiness. When I wake up in the morning and have her and my doggy by my side, I am filled with love and gratitude and couldn’t imagine going through all this without her.
I am thankful for this time, that I am forced to step back and just focus on the love I have for my little love muffin, because as a working mom I haven’t had this kind of time with her since she was a newborn.
So for the parents: it’s ok if you’re not OK. Just love on those kids, that’s all they really need right now, and eat Doritos with them at 9:30am and watch cartoons. You deserve it and so do they.