Momming in a pandemic

I have nothing especially poignant to write about.

Like many others, I’ve struggled some days more than others.

I tried to remind myself in the hard moments how lucky I am. I have family near by who is able to help us out a tremendous amount. My husband and I are both working. My kids are doing alright, and for the most part they ground me.

But boy… Momming in a pandemic is something else, isn’t it?

I’ve felt this weight on my shoulders for a week or so.

I tried to ignore it. It was still ther.e

I tried to lighten it. It felt heavier.

I tried commiseration with friends and family. That helped me to feel less alone…but it didn’t really help me feel better when I realized that they are also carrying a weight on their shoulders – they, too, are trying to balance their load while they stay upright.

I’m tired but I can’t sleep. When I do sleep, it’s restless.

I am constantly questioning every choice, wondering after each one if I made the right choice. Questioning and second guessing. Again and again.

Social media updates on my feed show me friends’ kids going back to school. Parents back at work. The images leave me feeling like I’m missing out on something. We are keeping our kids home. I’m working from home. Studying from home.

When I became a mama, instead of losing my sense of self, I felt more certain of it. This pandemic has taken that away and replaced it with questions.

The pandemic didn’t help me become more organized around the house, even though I watched The Home Edit on Netflix. My house didn’t get a floor to ceiling clean, even though I follow @GoCleanCo on instagram. It didn’t give me time to pick up a new hobby, even though the memes on Facebook suggested now, more than ever, was the time!

The pandemic has given me more time to think about planning, organizing, and really, just reminding me to remember every little thing that needs remembering. That mental load is real.

There is worry about my children falling behind in fundamental skills. After-all, I always relied on daycare to teach my kids how to eat yogurt and soup! It was the ECEs who taught my sons how to “flip” their jackets to get ready to go play outside…And now I worry that socially my kids will miss out on important phases and stages because they don’t see others their own age to help correct some behaviour (or encourage others).

I’m still wondering what school will look like for Robert this year – we’re still waiting to hear what the plan is to enhance and support his learning.

Those worries and questions… that weight. It’s always there.

It’s a lot.

So, I have nothing especially poignant to write about today. Maybe I’m stuck wondering about purpose. Maybe I’m just tired.

Or… Maybe.. Just maybe… this is exactly what every mom out there is feeling right now, too.

Pandemic Check-In

Alright fellow Canadians, it’s been nearly a month since this began, how are you doing?

And by that I mean.. how are you really doing?

Because, if I’m being honest, I’m all over the map.

I wake up, ready to tackle whatever the day throws at me.

Sullivan wants pancakes? No problem, I’ll just get the flour, sugar, eggs and milk and whip some up. Alistair’s feeding the dog instead of himself? I’ll pretend I don’t see that as I sip my hot coffee.

And while all this is happening, I’m logging into my work computer and replying to emails.

But the coffee is hot, the sun is shining, and everyone is healthy. I’m zen.

Until an hour later…. Replies to the emails which I replied to earlier that morning are now coming in. Sullivan is jumping on his brother’s back, telling him “bisous, bisous” and peppering Alistair with kisses. My husband is trying to contain them so I can squeeze in just a few more tasks before we all have a change of scenery. That zen I felt? It’s (not so) slowly disappearing.

OK… everyone lace up, coats on, let’s go outside! Dog gets his first walk. Let’s go to the wooded area so Sullivan can run around. “Don’t forget to check for ticks when we get home!” I say to my husband.

The days when the sun shines, we are all able to regroup with some time outside. Zen is happening once again, even with the nagging worry of ticks. The neighbourhood is still quiet, it’s easy to social distance on these walks, and our family seems to enjoy the crisp morning air. The legs are moving, endorphins are flowing, and we feel some freedom in this time of isolation.

Enjoying the morning walk

Except Alistair is dropping a nap, but he’s not really down to one nap a day, so zen doesn’t last long. Whining starts, and there’s Sullivan again, trying to calm his brother down by smothering him with love… I say love but really it looks like they are wrestling and Sullivan has a choke hold on Alistair all while saying “Câlin, Alistair! Câlin!” [hug, Alistair! HUG!]

Everyone’s back inside. It’s time to scramble and throw something together for lunch. Hopefully the kids decide to eat their lunch instead of feeding to the dog, right? Lunch chaos is over and finally, Alistair gives in to a nap. I’m starting to feel a bit frazzled, as I try to balance everything on my mental to-do list and sit down to do some more work. My husband is trying to get Sullivan to sit quietly, but two and a half year olds aren’t designed to sit quietly.

Did I mention that Sullivan has decided that he doesn’t nap every day anymore? Oh, right, I forget to mention that he decided he doesn’t nap, or do quiet time, or sit quietly most days. If we’re lucky, he’ll watch Sesame Street and/or play quietly. Working from home full time as a parent with small children is fun, isn’t it?

Nap time/quiet time is over. Snack time. Please play together without injuring each other I say to myself as I scramble to finish the work I’ve started during nap time.

Time to lace up again! Go play in the yard. Run around! I’m now exhausted, but the littles are full of energy. How is it only 3pm? What’s for dinner? Did we take anything out? Did I even cross a single item off my to-do list? When did we last vacuum or wash the floors? Do the kids have clean jammies?

Now I feel like a hot mess. Where is the zen?

Dinner tonight consisted of a parenting win as I convinced Sullivan to start scrubbing the potatoes and (after I diced them) let him put seasoning on them. It’s time to walk the dog again. Sullivan gets out to run around, but this time there is less freedom. It feels as though everyone’s out walking, and … well, Sullivan isn’t great at walking in a straight line, or off to the side, or understanding social distancing.

Despite trying to corral Sullivan for the better part of the walk, the walk feels nice. Most people are respectful of social distancing, smiles are being shared amongst neighbours, and neighbourhood kids are leaving encouraging chalk messages on the communal path ♡

Home again.

Bathtime. Books. Bedtime.

Find a towel to soak up the lake in the bathroom – keeping water in the tub is just a suggestion, right?

Wash dishes.
Put some laundry in.
Pour a glass of wine.
Sit down to tackle more work.

Hear a baby cry.
Go comfort baby.

Put the kettle on.
Make tea.
Sit down to work.

Notice wine glass.
Huh. Wonder when I poured that?
Take a sip. Still fresh – phew.

Get some work done.
It’s 11pm already? Didn’t I just sit down?
Fold laundry.
Watch some Netflix to decompress as I finish my wine, tea, and housework.

The day is done and I have felt a wide range of emotions:
From wide eyed and ready to tackle the day – to zen – to overwhelmed and over extended and exhausted.

More importantly, at the end of the day, I take time to feel gratitude. I’m grateful for my family, for the sun shining, and for being able to sit down for a meal with other people I love.

How about you? How are you really feeling?