To All My Mom Friends,
You are doing great! Do you hear me? Great. Cut yourself some slack. None of the parenting books or websites ever prepared us for what we would face as mothers and fathers in 2020.
As a nurse serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, in a hard-hit area, I’ve gotten a lot of messages from fellow mothers with questions and concerns. They always start with, “I’m sorry, I know you’re busy,” or “I’m sorry, I know you probably get a lot of these messages.”
First off, no apologies allowed. I’m honored to be asked, and the fact that you’re seeking and asking questions means you’re a phenomenal parent. Don’t feel guilty for being a conscientious mother who cares. You should be applauded.
Mothering is hard. It’s hard when they’re growing in your belly and you can’t see if they’re ok. It’s hard when they’re newborns and wake you up every two hours, so small, perfect, and incredibly needy. It’s hard when they’re older, craving independence, yet still needing your guidance. It’s hard whether you work full time or you stay home full time, as I’ve done both. The point is, it’s hard all the time, but I don’t think the worst of sleepless nights or the grumpiest of preteen moods could prepare us for the season we are in right now. It’s unprecedented. It’s unprecedented for healthcare, government, and the school system. It’s unprecedented for us.
As a mother we are responsible for the well-being, be it physical, mental, or emotional, of our offspring. That’s a challenge on any given day, but factor in a novel virus, well, that makes it an emotional rollercoaster. This pandemic has made us worry about our own health, the health of our aging parents, and the health of our checking accounts. Balance on top of that the worries inherent in motherhood, and you’re like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Where is Super Man to straighten that up?! Extra points for the middle-aged moms who get the reference.
My point is, who wouldn’t question themselves during this time in our country? I mean, does anyone really know all the facts, the whole story, and all the legit answers?! But who questions themselves the most? Moms, of course. We not only want to parent the kiddos. We want to knock it out of the park. We want to not screw them up for life. And definitely not have them infected by a virus that we still don’t really understand.
Yesterday I took my seven-year-old and nine years old to the grocery store. It’s the first time they’ve been since March. I cleaned the shopping cart and put them inside it with little masks and instructions not to touch anything! I couldn’t keep them locked away forever, but I could be wise.
I knew some people would judge me for taking them out in public when I didn’t have to.
I knew other people would judge me for putting masks on them. They would say I was living in fear, but that wasn’t the case at all. I was living as a mom, in the middle of a pandemic, the best way I knew how.
As a nurse mom, working at the hospital bedside, I understood the seriousness of this virus, and that is why other moms asked me for advice. At the end of the day, though, I realized we’re all the same. I may have seen tragedy related to this virus that I can’t forget, and that tragedy affects my parenting decisions, but in the end we are all doing the best we can in an uncertain, ever-changing situation. Here are some tips I’ve tried to adopt and pass along. They are kingdom-minded thought processes that guide my actions.
First, drop the mom guilt. Don’t feel too bad for your child. This is something you’re going through as well. At least my daughters don’t have to keep people alive. Lol. I’m just saying, it’s ok if you don’t get this right, because who really knows what that is. Feel like you overreacted about something? It’s cool. Just start fresh tomorrow. His mercies are new every morning.
Two, understand this is just a season. This isn’t forever. This sucks, but we will get through it. There will always be next summer. There will be another dance recital, ballgame, or birthday party. If it makes you feel more at peace to be the “mean mom” then be the best mean mom on the block. Say no. They will live.
Next, let’s talk about the things they legit are missing. Graduation was a big one for some of my friends. Prom. Senior year events. Like I said before, this really sucks, but it is a season. This whole existence in these failing, human bodies here on earth is a season. We are here today and gone tomorrow. So when we stand before Jesus can we be content with our actions? Did we carry ourselves in a kind, caring manner? Did we model for our children compassion, teaching them to care more for the health of others than themselves? Did we place too much importance on worldly, temporal things, or did we value relationships and actions of love?
In a world where personal freedom ranks higher in our home than compassionate servanthood to our fellow man, we might need to re-evaluate our perspective. We want to be more concerned about the state of our children’s souls, the souls of their friends, than we are the perfect pictures of an event they won’t remember in the long run. Let’s build their spirits, rather than their resumes. Told you this would be kingdom-minded content.
I think we’re in a fluid situation. Heck, I think we’re in end times. I think we have to get to a place where we can take things one day at a time. The Lord told me recently that this stuff going on in our world is too heavy. We can’t carry the weight of tomorrows, just the weight of today. We have to daily seek the Lord for what is right on that given day.
Do you feel comfortable taking them to a busy store? Great. You do what feels comfortable for your family. Just be wise. Be humble. Be kind. Be selfless.
Do you feel like public school isn’t safe right now? You’re not alone. Welcome to homeschooling. You can do this!
Do you worry about their socialization? It’s ok. I worry about my own. I miss talking to strangers and showing them the love of Jesus. This is just a season. Children are resilient, and we will all get through this.
Are you overly worried? Hang in there, my friend. I would encourage you not to trust in horses and chariots, but trust in the Lord who saves. Let Him place a hedge of protection around your family.
Are you not concerned at all, and you feel like this thing has been blown way out of proportion? That’s okay, too. No one said we must always agree. Just please understand if my family is hesitant to get out and run through the games at Chuck E. Cheese with y’all right now. We’re still wiping everything down with Lysol and washing our hands. We’re both just moms trying to make our way through a crazy world. I pray we can hang out when all this ends.
Here’s the thing. No one likes 2020, but we still have a ways to go. Let’s cut each other some slack. Let’s cut ourselves some slack. Let’s cut our kids some slack. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff, the big stuff, or even the unprecedented stuff. Let’s just do the best we can for each day and let God sort out the rest.
Praying for us all,
A fellow mom doing the best she can