This week I took an informal poll of moms that I know. Moms that I’d normally see at school events, but haven’t seen in months, because of COVID-19. All of these moms have kids in middle school, high school or college.
The poll consisted of one simple question… “How are you coping with COVID-19,” I asked.
Their replies, began with a sigh, and ranged from “not too good” to “terrible”.
Each mom was worried about her children. Every single mom! They spoke with anguish in their voices and a hopeless expression on their faces. And their worries were similar to mine.
Both remote and hybrid learning have them stressed out. Lack of socialization for their children is causing them angst. Teens spending hours alone in their bedrooms is frightful. Trying to find therapists for their kids, is nearly impossible. Teens are vaping, grades are steadily dropping and college students are simply calling it quits.
Life with COVID-19 has been hard for all of us, each day with its new set of challenges. But navigating COVID-19 while ensuring that your young humans are mentally, physically, spiritually and educationally stable, has been horribly, horribly hard.
As grown-ups, we’re expected to possess mechanisms for dealing with stress. We’re expected to know how to handle adversity, disappointment and loneliness and we’ve lived long enough to believe that “this too shall pass.”
But our kids haven’t developed this skill yet. They haven’t seen rioting or political upheaval, until now. They weren’t alive to witness how America came together after 9/11. So, they’re struggling with a doubt and despair for their future and they’re asking themselves, “what’s the point?” They’re finding it hard to look forward to a future that, for nearly a year, has looked desperately bleak.
And as moms, when our kids aren’t ok, neither are we. Their anxieties magnify ours. We’re no replacement for their friends. And a lot of us are no replacement for their teachers. We’re worried about the lower grades on their report cards and their lowered heads and lowered expectations. And for our athletes without sports, we witness their decreased energy, excitement and self-esteem and we can literally see their disappointment manifest in their bodies.
We feel their depression and we endure the misplaced anger that arises from their frustration…a frustration with boredom and isolation. What we call safety, they call restriction and what we see as protection, they see as restraint. And when misbehavior ensues, we struggle with how much punishment is too much. We hesitate to take away their cell phone, because we don’t want to push them over the edge, and right now, we just don’t know where their “edge” is.
So here we are, Moms. We’re struggling to keep it together. As usual we’re trying to manage it all, but all is far more than usual. But, as moms do, we’re finding ways to keep our households alive, if only barely. We’re giving our all, even when our all is all we’ve got left. When our kids are working our last nerve, we’re finding, miraculously, we have a nerve in reserve.
I’m not here with the answers today, Moms. I don’t have the solutions. In fact, I ran away from home two weekends ago. I packed some comfy clothes, Lysol wipes and spray and told my sweet husband I needed to get away. He said he understood, and I left, destination unknown, for the weekend.
His quick understanding likely meant that the family needed me to go away as much as I needed to get away, now that I think about it.
But the point is…I’m right where you are, Moms! Praying many prayers, shedding many tears and trying to calm the fears of our youth, who just don’t see the light right now. And it’s crazy hard work! But talking to other moms helped me see that I’m in good company. And there’s strength in numbers. So, let’s break the silence over this struggle!
Tell another mom how you’re feeling. Share a cup of coffee or a cup of tears over Zoom. Share your ways to de-stress and, please, share the name of your therapist.
You’re not alone, Moms. We’re floating on this Mothership together and I believe God hears our collective prayers for our children, and he’s bringing us to a place of safe harbor soon. So, let’s check on each other and do our best to steady one another as we continue to navigate these waters. Let’s support each other while we’re holding it down. Because sometimes all we need to keep us from losing our way, is an anchor to hold us in place.
Leave a comment on lovingmiddleagedlife and let me know how your family is coping with COVID-19.
Through everything pray and know that we are daughters of the Most High. Don’t be afraid to help one another straighten your crowns.
As always- so timely, so real and so on point!! I loved this post so much and can relate more than I am probably honestly willing to admit…
It is terrifying for me sometimes to not know at this point how all this unknown and uncertainty is and actually has impacted our lives and that of our kids. Talk about an overall daily lesson in powerlessness!!
Right now- I’m just trying to keep one foot in front of the other and just “keep swimming “… and when I lose my patience, step too close to my other foot, try and step on someone else’s foot or move too fast for the pace I should be keeping and then fall- I’m doing my best to pick myself back up (or ask for help… which is HARD), try and figure out the lesson and (if I feel i must) beat myself up with a feather. Reminds me some of the books I used to love to read when I was a kid where the story could be different each time you read it by changing your decisions along the way and choosing a different path…
I am trying to put things in the perspective of my little guy, acknowledge together situations when “this virus is a bummer”, try to not get caught up in the negative what is now the new norm and think of the good things that have come out. Most days… that is super hard.
Luckily in my small circle of, dare I say, my “pandemic peeps”?? , we are able to be real and say out loud our fears, angers and frustrations without feeling judged. Trying to put humor where we can (definitely a “go to” reactions…). For these beautiful people and for the ability to add humor when we can to help the medicine go down- I am eternally grateful.
Just going to: keep on keeping on. Thank you for this beautifully written post and forum to share. LOVE YOU!
AMAZING article, April! Thank you so much for taking the time to remind us that we’re not alone. Lord, hasten the day when we’re through this storm!