Social distance with little ones: Motherhood Monday
I sincerely hope this is my last COVID-19 related post. This is obviously going to be our reality for some time to come still, but I know we’re all getting tired of hearing about it everywhere we turn. But, the truth is, it’s hard to talk about anything else. It’s such a surreal and huge thing right now that not mentioning it at all sounds tone deaf. So, here it is. Another post about COVID-19 because it’s what’s making us practice social distance with little ones.
My last Motherhood Monday post was all about mom burnout and how I was seeking to add balance to my life so I could be a better and more present mother, how I was getting rid of the life-sucking things that weren’t necessary, so that I could focus on the life-giving things that really are, like my kids. Now, I haven’t been perfect on this journey and have found myself slipping into old habits multiple times, but I am making a conscious effort to start again whenever I notice it. But, guys, COVID-19 self-isolation has pretty much ruined it.
Mamas, I’m going to validate the one thing you’re thinking right now. Practicing social distance with little ones is hard. If you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and a little guilty that you’re just not thankful that you’re all together and safe, you are not alone. Honestly, we’ve been pretty much sticking to home now for about 12 days. I’ve had to work my part-time job from home with the kids here for three days, and I feel like I’m on the world’s wackiest merry-go-round. I wake up each morning and kiss my kids, grateful none of us are sick, we’re all together. I momentarily think that, though the circumstances are awful, it’s really a blessing that we have this time together. By the time breakfast is over I’m willing to take my chances and go anywhere but here.
For those of you concerned, I wouldn’t. We’re strictly adhering to social distancing guidelines because we know that, while we may be healthy and safe, we could endanger others.
I’ve been back at work from maternity leave for about 4 months now, so I definitely remember what it’s like to be a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom, and though people have made comments about how everyone now understands what a stay-at-home mom goes through, practicing social distance with little ones is nothing like being a stay-at-home home. It’s a lot harder.
My children are both extremely high energy and need attention, entertainment, and different environments regularly. When I was at home full-time with my kids, we had a structure and a routine. We had standing plans three days a week with friends and their children. We went to the library, the grocery store, for walks or to the playground whenever the weather was nice. Usually, we’d spend the morning out and about, come home for lunch, have a nap, and then go for a walk or play outside. Being stuck in a house, with no routine or structure, attempting to entertain children with no social interaction other than siblings and you, is a totally different ball game.
So essentially what I want to say is, mama, if you’re struggling, I get it. There is absolutely no judgement here. This isn’t easy.
What makes it harder is the lack of “self-care” time. When you’ve had a hard day with the kids, usually you can go grab a coffee with a friend, go see a movie or get a pedicure. These aren’t options right now. The other day I had once again almost lost it with my kids and just needed a break, so I locked myself in my room with an audio book and reorganized my closet (don’t worry, hubby was home.)
All this to say, us mamas have to stick together. While we can’t physically be together, we need community and a support system more than ever right now. And the best thing is, we have the tools to make it happen. Between FaceTime and Zoom we don’t just have to chat with friends on social media but can actually see their faces and get the next best thing to just hanging out. So, I encourage you, reach out. Plan a chat. Play a game over the phone, have a dinner date with another couple – set them up on FaceTime, set them on your table and eat dinner at the same time. And, if for any reason these things just aren’t possible for you and you’re struggling, send a message to ANYONE. Heck, please, send me one! I’m on that merry-go-round with you, so let’s chat and walk through this together. We may have to practice social distance, but we don’t have to be socially distant.
Being a mama of little ones is hard. Between Mom-guilt and the unattainable idea that moms should be able to do everything for everyone, get very little time to herself and feel fulfilled by it, we need all the support we can get! You aren't in this alone. We're here to walk through the ups and downs of motherhood together in a judgment-free, supportive way.