This COVID-19 Normal Is Chaotic as Hell For Parents

           "Sometimes you just have to cry in your closet." -Mom on the Today Show

 
 
Wearing the mask

Working from home while social distancing is hard, and it is not just because I have to wear masks for personal errands that make it hard to breathe. Social distancing means juggling my entire life all at the same time and that has been hard as hell! 

My blog and consulting has focused on being a working mom for the past ten years.  Spoiler alert, my previous key to success has been compartmentalizing. The past six weeks have changed all of that. I am quite literally providing childcare while fielding work calls, writing emails and doing research. That doesn’t even count the time I spend teaching lessons reviewing assignments and planning for the day.

It is bananas! My only saving grace is that I know I am not doing this alone.

I don’t say that simply because misery loves company. I say that because as an attorney and as a coach, I get paid to help people find solutions to their problems. So, when I saw hardship I used to have two thoughts. First, “What did you do to get yourself into that situation?” Second, “How can we fix it?”

The Stressors of COVID-19 Aren't Due to Poor Planning


But this, can't be fixed. It is the new normal when working is required, but there is no option for childcare. And, I get that some people have grandparents who can step in. And, I applaud them. However, the rest of us shouldn't be compared to them because it is patently unfair. In a world where parents must work and schools and daycares are closed, life is surreal.

I don't say this to complain. I recognize others have it harder than I do. Still, the uncertainty is starting to get to me. The other night, I broke down. I broke down because everything that I arranged in my life to combat the stressors of life have broken down. Sure, I selected reliable child care, but that is unavailable. And yeah, I thought about my kids interests and selected enriching activities to stimulate them. However, that is shot to hell, because--social distancing. I opted for regular grocery delivery for the past two years to give me more time to be with my kids. And that has been disrupted because apparently the delivery system has been overloaded by the demand. 

Homeschooling

In a word, my planning to maximize my joy and minimize my stress did not prepare me for the demands of this pandemic. And like everyone else, I am feeling it. Yeah, "I am OK", but my aspirations for mental health and personal fulfillment used to be higher than that. I craved safety, security and serenity. I worked so hard to achieve that. When obstacles arose like traffic or a spouse with a different point of view, I did what needed to be done to help me satisfy those cravings and those efforts worked.

Now, the path to satisfaction is much less clear. I still make the effort, but I am less clear about what the results will be. Still, I find that the effort is my only hope at cutting through the chaos. So, here I am working hard without any assurance of what the results will be. But that is where faith comes in...

Comments

MLHE said…
May you and your family find good surprises along the way to a better tomorrow...and the day after...and the day after that...for generations to come, for your children will carry forward their memories of sibling one-room school in the dining room, mommy mopping the kitchen floor by sliding around in damp socks, daddy figuring out how to get everyone to be follow the many examples of gratitude he displays in unique ways. Love--when it goes viral--might be the best antiviral emotion-elixir on Earth.
Katleen Garcia said…
Children do better when they can see you. It can be tempting to close doors, but this can trigger them into calling out, banging on doors or complaining that they need something urgently. Remember that this unusual situation means we’re all in the same boat – so if you do get interrupted, don’t sweat it, solve the issue, and carry on as before