Mommin’ ain’t easy during COVID-19. There, I said it. This spring was a whole other level of parenting. We were not only Boca moms, but teachers, personal assistants, tech experts, house cleaners and chefs. Somehow, we (mostly) made it through that strain and hardship in one piece, but it was a struggle to get to summer 2020. (I don’t know what I would have done if Governor DeSantis had cancelled summer camps altogether.)
Now, local families are regaining a sense of normalcy and falling back into their routines. But, I think it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the drastic life changes we have all experienced. After all, the one comfort I clung to throughout this pandemic was that we parents were pretty much all in the same (sinking) boat. Sure, we initially thought that spending time away from work and staying home would be great! But, here is what no one told us about being a mom during the coronavirus.
According to local family therapist Lori Lundin-Fish, PhD, LMFT of Palm Beach Therapy Center, “Dealing with social isolation as a mom is tough! Moms enjoy having time to themselves. However, their network of support (a.k.a. other moms) was entirely ripped away…with the exception of the occasional Zoom and Houseparty call, of course. But, let’s face it…it just wasn’t the same. We enjoy socializing and relating to other people (preferably with coffee or wine) in real time. Quarantine seemed overwhelming but manageable at first. Yet, after a while, it made even those who had developed healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety feel lonely and isolated.”
Welcome to 2020.
While we Boca moms worked hard to social distance, our responsibilities did not stay 6 feet away. In fact, for many, they increased as money became tight and bills still needed to be paid. Parents were faced with the obstacle of maintaining a livable income, finding new and innovative ways to successfully ‘work from home,’ and managing never-ending household-related tasks. This was all, of course, with children in tow and an uncertain future that is still relatively uncertain.
Parents (along with their kids) were also required to adjust to “virtual learning.” Understanding this new and sophisticated educational method as well as managing their children’s assigned ‘class’ schedules has caused even the most time-managing and tech-savvy parents to experience massive frustration. I know this for a fact because I was often one of those parents.
However, because our children are incredibly valuable, we parents somehow seemed to figure it out. Lundin-Fish mused, “Our children’s perception during this time is incredibly important, and can fundamentally change their experiences and thoughts about the world we live in. And let’s face it, no parent wants to see their child hurt or upset. Unfortunately, more often than not, parents do not have the opportunity to address their own emotional concerns, but continue to push forward for their children. This challenges their patience and can increase the likelihood of burn out.”
“When people feel burnt out, we tend to turn to our partners for love, encouragement, and support”, said Lundin-Fish. “However, due to the high levels of stress that many households were and are still experiencing, messages may not be delivered or received in the way they were intended. We are then placed in a position where we must provide additional effort into maintaining healthy relationships with partners as well as extended family.”
All relationships obviously require work and commitment. But, this means moms are now exerting even more emotional energy as they continue to care for and nurture their loved ones. Like I said, mommin’ ain’t easy.
The best thing to do according to Palm Beach Therapy Center is to simply acknowledge the resilience and strength you already possess. In my humble opinion, if you can spend 90 days straight at home with your Boca kids, you can officially do anything—remember that! And if life gets too overwhelming, you MUST be patient with yourself. “If you need a moment for just you…take it!” said Lundin-Fish. “You, your loved ones, and your children will thank you for taking that time to yourself because they may likely notice a positive difference.”
Remember, you have already overcome an incredible life-changing adjustment. As moms, we tend to be our own worst critics, but we also have the ability to be the heroes of our own story. And I don’t think this one is over yet.