When you are a mom, you have to show up. A mom can’t look at her 7-year-old and say, “I can’t today.” She can’t tell her teenage son, “I can’t help you with your homework tonight.”
A teacher can’t walk into the classroom and tell her students, “I’m having a hard time with everything, I just can’t today.” A teacher doesn’t have the option to say, “I’m not feeling very well, can we try again tomorrow?”
Can we talk about the challenges of juggling the education of the children of the community and our own children? Kids show up every day whether we are ready to handle it or not.
I have a daughter at a University 2 hours away from home, a son in high school (that is currently doing virtual learning), a 1st grader, and I teach middle school at a different corporation! Oh, and I thought it would be a good idea to take some additional college classes during the pandemic. Aghhh…
It feels like I’m trying to make my life normal through all of this, but it is far from normal. I feel like I am just trying to survive the days. I am constantly busy, but not accomplishing much. My brain can’t seem to focus long enough to finish even the smallest tasks.
My son told me that I’m turning into a different person. And I thought, you know what, you’re right. I have to be a different person. I have to keep our house functioning. I have to show up for my kids, my school, and my family. The additional mental load is nearly impossible.
I have to remember a million things for my students at school. Did I buy Sarah her candy bar for being top reader? Did I post my virtual lesson plans? Have I replied to that e-mail? Do I have lunch duty today?
Then I have to go home and ask my son, did you do your virtual learning? Have you showered? Brushed your teeth? And I wonder, are his emotional needs being met? How is this isolation and uncertainty impacting him? What about my daughter in college? Is she doing ok? How is virtual learning going? I need to call her and check in.
And the baby of the family, how is she doing with all of this? How will this impact her future? How can I make life feel normal for her?
Then there is my husband. Where does our relationship stand at the moment? How is he doing? When is the last time we had a real conversation? Not just, did you charge the Ipad? The kids need rides. Can you pick up this or that at the store?
Oh yeah, and finally there is me. Where has she gone? I hope that I can find her again when this is all over. Where do admit that my mental health is taking a toll? And what can I do about it?
It seems like people are trying to make the most out of this unnerving time, but I just can’t. If you follow any kind of social media, people are trying to promote business, teach new skills, start up companies, but I am just trying to exist. If you have found something to inspire you and give you purpose during this difficult time, keep on going. If you are like me and struggling, that’s ok too. Just know that we all are trying to navigate this insane time.
“Women pray because we need to talk to someone who’s really listening” (Ban Breathnatch).