It was only a matter of time before I ended up here, in front of a cursor and keyboard. I mean, the world as we know it has been strangely transformed into a simultaneously mind numbingly boring and intellectually terrifying dystopian novel.
For we delayed processors, it’s all starting to crash down around us. Yes, it took a full 35+ days for yours truly, but here I am—desperately typing in fervent effort to sort my overwhelming thoughts and feels.
I’m equal parts “want to cry,” “want to scream”, and “want to bow my head in gratitude.”
Allow me to preface what comes next, with this; I realize there are people who are forced to shelter alone during this time, either because they reside alone, or because they are an essential worker who does not wish to risk the health of others. I understand a person truly alone or estranged from loved ones might read what I’m about to share and be affronted. Your feelings are legitimate and duly noted.
Alas, they are not going to stop me from expressing mine.
I f*cking hate this.
I loathe so much about all of this mess. In truth, I am struggling to find the mental space to stay positive. Genuinely, I hope to find some catharsis in the tried and true practice that blogging has been for me in the past.
Here goes nothing…
My life is cush. I have all the comforts a person needs and many more. Even in the face of a terrifying economy, I do not fear for myself or my family in regards to being able to meet basic (and not-so-basic) needs. My rational brain knows and understands how blessed and privileged I am. Here’s the thing… my rational brain stopped directing traffic weeks ago. Oh yeah—to be sure. Emotional brain is at the controls and she’s one hot mess.
For those of you who have found a new calling in the adventure of quasi-homeschooling your children, I am happy for you—truly. I am. It’s wonderful that amongst the insanity of what is happening you have discovered something you love and works for your family. I begrudge you none of your newly found happiness and perspective.
For those of you who sit next to your children for hours each day, withstanding emotional meltdowns, verbal attacks, bubbling frustration that explodes at you in violent tornadoes of child limbs and pencil projectiles… well, welcome. We are kindred.
I’d like to interject here to clarify—my struggles are in no way a reflection of poor direction or unrealistic expectations on the part of my children’s teachers. In fact, I believe, whole heartedly, the teachers whom I’m working with are the very best. It is absolutely not them—it’s me—100% and without doubt.
Full disclosure: being mom is hard work for me. BEING MOM is hard. BEING MOM and TEACHER is damn near breaking me. BEING MOM AND TEACHER with little to no support from time spent BEING WITH the people whom I would normally rely on to make me feel supported, with zero time ALONE to process and strategize, with the added complexities of sorting through my own thoughts and feelings about a global pandemic, a disintegrating economy, and a toxic national political environment… well, suffice it to say, I don’t have words.
I share this not in search of niceties or platitudes. Spare me your patronizing pat on the back. Just listen. Agree or disagree—I don’t really care. I am venting. I am unloading. I am having my own meltdown… in the privacy of my office, with potentially the entirety of the internet listening.
This f*cking sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Managing healthy and stable relationships with my children is important to me. I have never aspired to be besties with my kids. To the contrary, I have sought to be a reliable, honest, loving—tough loving at times, constant in their lives. I’ve learned in order to be this person for my kids, I need time away from them. Additionally, I need to rely on others to help me fill in the gaps where I lack skill, understanding, and/or technique. These people are teachers, extended family, friends, coaches, therapists, councilors, etc. In the past 40 or so days, I have realized just how much I need those people. Being everything to my kids—mother, teacher, friend, counselor, therapist, and everything in between or left out, without time away or space—physical and metal, is breaking me in a way I have never been broken before now.
Recently, I took a long hike—hours long—on one of the first legitimately beautiful spring days we’ve experienced here in ol’ Wyo. I’d hoped to bring my kids along. When I proposed the idea they protested—loudly and with that particular whine-tone that causes a reaction in my brain not unlike what I imagine an icepick to my temple might create.
I have no fight left, friends. Pre-Quarantined me would’ve forced those kids into their gear and drug them along for miles. After all, it would’ve been good for them—and that’s part of my job; to make sure they do/have/experience/know what is good for them.
But that isn’t me anymore, not now, at least. No, readers… I did not fight.
I buried my disappointment and decided to go alone.
Praise Jesus I did! Ten minutes into the hike I was so immensely grateful for the solitude, I found myself smiling and damn near skipping through the sage. I ambled for hours in the sunshine. I contemplated. I soaked in the near silence of the lonely hills.
I realized, I’d not been ALONE for over a month. I’d not been allowed time and space to be with my thoughts without interruption of “Mom!” or some version of children whining, fighting, arguing, or some other kind of noise making—happy or otherwise—in more than 35 freaking days.
For the love, what do apartment living mothers in urban areas do?!?! I’m quite literally saying prayers for them all, right now, as I type this.
Mom guilt is real. Mom guilt in the time of COVID is suffocating. I need to breathe. I need to release all the “do betters,” the “not good enoughs,” the “this isn’t that hard” sentiments—and I did on that hike. I returned home a more recognizable version of myself. Hallelujah!
Don’t get too excited. When I awoke the next day to living in the movie Ground Hog’s Day, heavy feelings returned. The struggle, unfortunately, continues.
Each day has highlights and each day has low points. Some days are brutal from start to finish. Others are disproportionately good. Ups and downs aren’t new, but they do seem magnified under the lens of home quarantine and social distancing. The idea that I am facing definitely weeks, and likely months, more of this arrangement has me unloading a truck load of F bombs in my head.
But… I do feel better as I sit here after writing all this down. I do feel somewhat returned to myself.
I have no answers—no witty play on words to make things seem okay. They aren’t. This is a mess in every possible way.
Yet… I’m breathing again. I’ve learned to take a solo hike when things feel too much. I’m actively seeking rational brain from her hiding spot. It’s time for emotional brain to hand over the controls. They may have to fight it out some days.
Here’s to hoping there is ample sunshine and available lonely hills when those days come.
Thanks for listening.