I’ve decided I need the title above as a bumper sticker. Or a t-shirt. Or possibly both. My brother is famous for gifting funny and/or significant-for-your-current-stage-of-life t-shirts at Christmas. Maybe he can work his magic for me this year.
The world has gone bonkers as we are confronted with this virus. Socialization options are limited, stress levels are high, everyone is stuck inside their homes…welcome to the daily life of a mom with little kids! Ladies across the country feel validated right now.
Joking aside, this has been a hard week for so many. I know I’ve been in tears; how about you? I am fortunate to not have acute health concerns for myself, but I am worried about people’s jobs. Friends with little kids who have been laid off. My grandparents’ health. My mom and my dad-in-law and my brother, who can’t work from home. My mom-in-law, who does have preexisting lung health concerns. My best friend, who is a nurse and was recently chosen to provide care for virus patients. People I don’t know who have nowhere to go, little money to acquire provisions, no internet to do their school.
Two facts repeatedly smash together inside my brain.
Fact 1: Intellectually, I know God is in control. He is not unaware of the things that happen. He is not incapable of intervening, guiding, redirecting as He sees fit. He loves us. He provides for us. He always has reasons, beyond what we can understand, for the things He does. He always has a plan that is for our ultimate good.
Fact 2: There are real people, right now, who are worried or laid off or just stressed. Real people who are sick. Real people who will get sick. Real people who have died.
Both of these are true at the same time. Fact 2 does not invalidate Fact 1. Fact 1 does not wave away the real consequences of Fact 2.
I will confess the thoughts weighing on my mind at the beginning of the shutdown were petty. The loss of dine-in restaurants is a huge blow to parents of little kids who just want a peaceful dinner once a week.
My initial shock is over. Now my mind dwells on the question, “How long, how long, how long do we have to do this???” I confess to more petty thoughts. I am the mom of 15 mo/13 mo twins (chronological vs. adjusted age). The list of things I cannot do to pass the day with my kids is extensive.
Just to get it off my chest, here are some of the things we can’t do. We cannot:
- Go outside in the cool temperatures we are mostly still limited too, unlike bigger kids.
- Play in our very nice, fenced in back yard.
- Color or draw or do crafts.
- Write a letter to relatives with no internet.
- Work on letter sheets, counting workbooks, pre-school learning.
- Do imaginative play.
- Snuggle up to watch a movie.
- Have a meaningful story time.
- Do our regular homeschooling, which is what we would be doing if the kids were school-aged.
- Find volunteering work we can do from home/limited contact that will help others.
- Write notes of encouragement to people still serving us, like nurses and mailmen and grocery people.
I could come up with more, but I’m trying to vent, not dwell. I do not want to be selfish. I do not want to have a negative attitude. I do not want to dwell on the things we can’t do at the expense of being thankful to God for the things we can do.
But can I just say, on behalf of all the moms with babies and toddlers, that some days our list of options feels SO SMALL? Those of us with small kids susceptible to winter temperatures have already been stuck inside for months, faces pressed to the windows, begging the weather to change so we can actually go outside.
Plus, the logistics of twins means my two kids have literally traded colds since almost November. I limited our indoor social options–such as they were–out of respect for the other moms and kids who did not want to also have a cold.
Now the weather slowly begins to turn and the nation’s leaders announce we must stay inside, away from people, for an indefinite period of time.
Venting is done. I feel better. You?
There is a rather long list of things we can’t do. But there is also a list of things I can be thankful for. I have been reflecting on this over the last few days. It grows longer each time I think about it more.
Things I am thankful for:
- Josiah’s job, which has always been work-from-home and continues to be stable.
- Our preexisting familiarity with the WFH life. This was difficult adjustment for some people. We literally do this everyday. Also, I grew up with a Dad who did WFH. I am very used to this lifestyle.
- My brother’s job. He recently started his career with a new company. I am so glad he was able to get in before things got weird.
- My parents’ proximity and involvement. As always, they continue to be both generous and super involved. They are a lifeline of semi-normalcy in this time of unknowns.
- Technology to keep us connected. I text my friends to see how they’re doing. We FaceTime people far away. Family group chats keep us involved with those we love but can’t see.
- Spiritual nourishment online. Digital church services and a Bible study we formed with my parents fill our Sunday mornings instead of going to the building.
- A house to stay in and food to eat. How many people are going through this without those things?
- Not just a house, but a wonderful house. Multiple living spaces, big windows, plenty of heat, separate bedrooms so people can get their space. God has blessed us richly with our home.
- Evenings that are child-free. We play video games, watch movies, listen to our audiobook as we work on our Star Wars puzzle, and relax as a couple after the kids go to bed. They are still in cribs and they sleep very well. Once adult-time begins, it is rarely interrupted. What a gift!
- So far, good health for everyone I love.
Also, even though the age of my kids puts many frustrating limitations on what we can do, I know there are also blessings because of this stage! My kids are not old enough to get cabin fever. They are not old enough to feel restricted by our social limitations.
They are not quite old enough to maliciously take toys, hit, or antagonize. But check back with me in three or four weeks. I can feel that one coming.
And, yes, they may not be old enough to verbalize why they’re crying–Again. For no apparent reason. Super fun.–but that also means they are not old enough to backtalk.
We can’t put on our PJs and snuggle up with a Disney movie in a way that means something to them. But we can still turn on Winnie the Pooh when I need something else to bear the brunt of entertaining. They don’t understand storytime, but that doesn’t mean I can’t roll out the blanket and read to them just because. Hey, we may even try putting crayon marks on paper again. My reflexes will just be quicker than last time. #GreenLipsAllDay
Thinking of you all as we go through the weirdness together. Stay sane. Text your mom friends to offer encouragement and maybe get some survival tips. They’re pros at this.