Updated: Apr 30, 2020
Self-compassion during Covid-19
I am not going to lie. The last 7 weeks have been hard. HARD. If you had told me back in February that we would be working, teaching, and parenting from home all the while still trying to keep a somewhat functioning household, I would have laughed hysterically and said, “that will never happen, there is not enough wine.”
But it did and here we are. Self-isolating, sheltering in place, staying home, physically distancing- whatever you want to call it- doing our best to stay sane, relatively.
Disclaimer: By no means am I ungrateful for the ability to work from home, care for my kids, and isolate, while our essential front-line teams brave the imminent risks, care for community, and ensure our supply chains remain intact. I am thankful for these selfless acts and local heroes.
However, we are all fighting different fights. Same storm, different boats.
This journey is not simple. There is no map guiding us. The maps are being laid out each day. Lots of trial and error in attempt to understand and support ourselves and family in this “new normal.” Our triggers revealing themselves as we ride the waves of emotion.
I never liked Mondays before, but in this new world they bite even harder. I awake Monday feeling I a sense of I should be going somewhere. New week, new start, off we go. But wait, I can’t. There is no rush to move faster, to get the kids up, make breakfast. Why am I still here?? Why are you still here?? I need space! The energy is off. I grieve. By Tuesday the alignment is better. I adjust to the truth- we must remain. We must flatten the curve. Onwards.
For some this is likely a non-issue. But I miss my commute or more what it offers me. I struggle with the end of the work day when after I log off in my home office I am suddenly faced with everything- laundry, dishes, the disaster that my house becomes daily as the kids drop toy bombs in every clean corner. My husbands jokingly says “welcome home,” and I smile, grateful for humour but also feel my blood pressure rise. There is no break. No commute where I sing as loud as I want, and my mind wanders freely before I put my mom hat on. Bam. You are now in it. Get to it. I have learned to get out at this point before I truly lose it. A run around the neighbourhood, a solo drive, or a quiet moment in the sun. Space. I need space before I mentally and physically return.
I love my home. I love being at home. However, home feels different when you don’t leave. I love kissing my kids goodbye each day and seeing their little faces as their bus pulls up. I miss parting ways with my husband wishing him a good day. I miss that time in between. The time where we go off into our little worlds and exist and then return and share. Where I get to miss them. I know they feel the same and while we escape to different parts of the house it is not the same.
Mom Guilt and Home Learning
In trying to maintain a sense of normalcy we are attempting the online learning with the kids. This is where the mom guilt hits the hardest. Social media is no helper.
“Wow, that is a fantastic volcano you made with your kids and that schedule you created, good for you!” #unfollow. It hits home. We made a schedule week 2, it looks great on the wall, but it is no by no means realistic. I let that go.
It all sounds great in theory. In between managing my regular job, I am somehow supposed to teach my kids. A job that is fulltime. The math does not add up. After much frustration, tears from all parties, I am refocusing. The kids are learning and surviving. After all we are in an unprecedented global pandemic situation. Take a breath. We are all learning how to be. There is no app for that.
The teachers have been fantastic and supportive. Providing ideas, learning opportunities and some normalcy. But my heart breaks a little when I watch my son on his google class room seeing his amazing teachers and friends. He misses it more than he lets on. We all do. I let the tears fall when I watched a twitter video of their school’s custodian singing how much he missed the kids, as he walked the empty halls of their school, giving them glimpse into their classrooms. I know they will return eventually but it still hurts now.
I read an article that helped lighten the load. The teacher said that as parents our job right now is to care for and ensure that during this highly stressful and difficult time that your kids remain safe, looked after, and loved. They are not trained counsellors in trauma and are not prepared for kids to return with such afflictions. I can wholeheartedly meet that request and sleep better at night knowing I am not failing.
The emotions come in waves and we are all learning how to navigate them. The good ones, the bad ones, and everything in between.
So, my wish and hope for you is this.
Honour all of your feelings- the fear, the grief and sadness, the loss, the worry, the anger, the guilt. All of it. They all have a place.
You are doing the best that you can.
Celebrate small wins, practice gratitude, and hold those you love close. We will get through this and come out stronger and more united as a community.
Also- there is no such thing as too many chips and wine in a pandemic situation.
Be safe. Be well.