Four o’clock pm. Day 245 of isolation.
Sorry, make that day 45. Let me give you a rundown of my day thus far.
Actually, back that up to yesterday.
The smallest tiny human took a nap yesterday. That is a bad thing because that meant he did not go to sleep until 1 am. Then the female tiny human had a nightmare at 2 am. And the oldest asked if it was OK to wake up at 6:30 am. That amounts to about 4 hours of sleep. Not unusual.
The tiny humans revolted against schooling at home today with much temper and flair. The smallest one was causing quite the distraction with a glue stick, and we tried unsuccessfully to read and write for thirty minutes. I resigned from my new job as teacher. Don’t worry; I think they will try to rehire me again tomorrow.
I left the tiny humans in the care of their father, who had made his morning commute to the “office” upstairs and snuck out the door. The store (which used to be open 24 hours) was just opening, and I was hopeful they would be freshly restocked and I could procure the items missed from our weekly grocery pick-up. Donning my facemask, I maneuvered through the maze of upturned carts to enter the store and warily followed the arrows on the floor to know which way I as allowed to go. The cereal the tiny humans requested was still out of stock. I despondently put the “other” brand into my cart, knowing I will pay for this failure later. Sanitizing wipes were fully stocked on an end cap, and that momentarily lifted my spirits. Turning down the body care aisle, however, I notice that the hand soap shelves are still bare. How are we to wash our hands for 20 seconds 97 times per day if soap is not obtainable? I return home, and sanitize all of my items. Oh, when will the day come that I don’t have to sanitize my sanitizing products?
I had a zoom call with my team from Asbury, and they narrowly missed the sight of the potty training human proudly bringing me his “work” to show me. Two of the tiny humans were having a physical altercation of unknown origin, so I had to leave the call for a few minutes. I wrote the script for our afternoon film production, and by then it was lunchtime. I made the afternoon meal to the exact specifications of the tiny humans.
Nobody ate the food prepared for them.
The smallest one ate my plate of leftovers.
I recruited the tiny humans to act in our afternoon production. As payment, I promised I would play with them outside for an hour after we were done. We gathered the needed supplies and began filming. Only two tiny humans cried, and I shouted just three times. An improvement from last week. I forgot the first grader’s virtual call with his class, and push the guilt off to the side, hoping he wouldn’t notice or remember.
Now that we are all up to speed, I can tell you about how I have an hour of outdoor activities, making dinner that probably nobody will eat, and bedtime routines looming in front of me. I am exhausted. All of these new roles thrust upon us, childcare changes, financial challenges, and the added fear and diligence needed to keep our family healthy is enough to bring us all to the edge of insanity. I mourn and lament that our “old” lives are gone and will be replaced with some new sort of new twisted normalcy. I tell you all of this not to make you more depressed about the state the world is in, but to let you know that I am right there with you. We are all grieving together. Adults, our kids, and our leaders—we are all looking for answers. Well-meaning friends post soothing and calming words and verses, but I need real, concrete steps on how to change my predicament. I am not the prefect parent, and I certainly do not have all the solutions. But while attending a conference (virtually, of course) from our curriculum provider, Orange, I have found some steps that might help us all.
- Name your struggles. There is power in naming what is hurting you. Write down what is causing you trouble, or tell your spouse or trusted friend. Sometimes just talking it out can help you re-focus and become self-aware of what is causing you pain. You can troubleshoot later.
- Belong. Find a place where you can belong, and find community. We have all lost our normal face-to-face groups, and are longing for the days where we can hug our friends again. We were not built for isolation. Start a daily or weekly check in time with your friends, your co-workers, or your Bible Study girls. I have continued connection with our Mother’s Fellowship group that is still meeting via Facebook Live. We would love for you mama’s to join us! No worries, we are all real moms with real struggles full of grace. You can bring just your normal messy bun and yoga pants self and we will love you for you. Just click on this link to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/280435162072067/?ref=bookmarks
- Take care of you. As parents and especially I, as mom, know, we put our own needs at the very bottom of your long to-do list. We have lost most of our usual coping mechanisms. It is not selfish to take care of you; it is strategic. If you don’t get the rest and replenishment you need, you cannot take care of those around you. So find some way to give yourself the fuel you need to keep going and keep your family going.
- Slow down. Know your limitations. I have the double whammy of a “make- -everyone-happy” and a “make-everything-perfect” complex. I have to realize that I cannot meet everyone’s needs, and it has never been more apparent than right now. Sometimes I literally can’t meet their needs (the children’s cereal as referenced earlier) or I would break my back bending to meet them. I have to learn to start being joyful with “passing” instead of disappointed I didn’t get an A+. Just stop putting that stress on yourself and slow down. We are in the middle of a pandemic, people. This hasn’t happened in over 100 years, and now is not the time to be your own personal perfectionist.
- Remember your Savior. He is there, He is listening, and He is rooting for you. He loves you, meditate on that, pour your heart out to Him and find comfort in knowing that He loves you unconditionally. He formed you and made you to be the perfect parent of these awesome tiny humans for such a time as this. He has given you all the tools you need to get to the other side and beyond.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful, and know that I am going to be putting them into practice right along with you. I love you, friend, and I am praying this over you and your family.
Early Childhood Associate