But now, we have to do all of them at the same time, while others are baking banana bread and hyping up sourdough. It’s ok if you are having more meltdowns these days than your kids.
This sh*t is hard. Like really really hard.
First off, let’s make sure we acknowledge everyone. Because being seen is important.
It is hard to be a front line worker separated from vulnerable family members or just merely scared, frustrated, burned out, and tired. We appreciate you so much, and we won’t forget our true heroes during this pandemic. Especially the front line workers working minimum wage jobs while risking their health. Thank you!
For those of you that lost their jobs and don’t know when you’ll find a new one, I see you. This is scary and depressing and unfair. And I am so sorry.
Parents of kids that rely on school lunches for meals, I see you and my heart aches for you. People that are losing their homes don’t have health insurance and no idea how to provide for themselves and their loved ones, you matter. I sincerely hope this crisis will make us all rethink how we treat our most vulnerable members of society!
And now to people like myself, working parents. We haven’t lost our jobs (yet). We are privileged to have an income that will cover our rent and groceries, and we don’t have to worry about how to feed our children dinner tonight. If you got extra lucky, you might even have a few dollars to spare to get some nice arts and craft supplies, buy new puzzles and backyard toys to keep your kids entertained, kudos to you!
This doesn’t change; however, the fact that we are all struggling. I have never been more burned out and tired in my entire life. There has not been a time where I felt more mommy guilt than right now, where I was more impatient and as rude to my kids at times as I am in this moment in time.
My new normal? Going to bed feeling guilty for every single time today that I told my daughter, “Can you please just let me finish writing this email for five more minutes??????” or the times when my son asked me to play with him, and I said, “No because mommy has to work and can’t just play all day long!!!!!”. Yeah, good times, you guys.
This is how my new normal looks like: feeling like I am not doing enough for my job. Feeling like I am failing as a mother. Recapturing at the end of the day how many more things I needed to do for my company. And counting the amount of times that I rejected my kids today. Thinking about how messy our home is, the laundry that still needs to be done and trying to figure out when I’ll have the time to spend an hour waiting in line to buy groceries. Food that no one will eat because all my kids want are snacks, twenty of them a day.
Meanwhile, on my beloved social media, people are baking banana bread, doing workout classes at home, reorganizing their closets, and gardening the heck out of their backyards (that I so envy while being locked inside my apartment).
Now don’t get me wrong; both of these worlds can coexist. I am the living proof of that. My Instagram feed is filled with pictures of my kids and I reading books, baking bread, and co-working together. Yet I am also the mom that cries herself to sleep out of exhaustion and questions why the universe ever thought I was capable enough to have children.
I see you. This sh*t is hard. And I am so sorry you are dealing with all of this. And the mental labor that comes with all your new found responsibilities.
Here are a few things that really helped me:
1.) Set boundaries for your mental health. I emailed my daughter’s teacher and let her know my boundaries. I explained to her how much I appreciated all of her work (we are lucky to have the most amazing teachers we could have ever hoped for) and that I want my daughter to participate as much as possible. BUT that I am also working and keeping a toddler alive at the same time, therefor Leila will only participate in two zoom calls a day and do only as many activities as I can fit in my work schedule and nothing more than that. I needed to be specific for my mental health. Instead of saying what things I can do when, I was clear that I am only doing a certain amount of school work and nothing, really nothing, more than that. Just hitting the ‘send’ button made me already feel so much stronger and I could feel my anxiety levels going down for the first time in weeks.
2) Ask for help and don’t be afraid to vocalize that you need more support. One of my kids has an IEP (and again, super lucky to have an awesome team, I know this is not very common sadly). So I talked to the IEP team also explained my situation and when I would be able to do Zoom sessions. They adjusted their schedule, were very understanding and incredibly supportive. Sometimes all it takes is to set boundaries and ASK for what you need.
3) Let go of expectations! My dad was supposed to come from Mexico during spring break, to help me with the kids, give me a break, and to explore LA together. Well, guess what, it didn’t happen, and I have no idea when I will see my family again. At this point, I just don’t have expectations anymore. My goal is for the kids to be healthy and happy. For my company to survive this economy, and for me, to be the best version of myself that I can be. That’s it—no further ambition or expectations during this pandemic.
4) Be the kindest, to yourself! I mean it. Put yourself first. As moms, everyone tells us, put on the oxygen mask first. Yeah, makes sense, and I agree. But let’s be real here. That’s not always that easy.
Here is what I do: I take a bubble bath every day. I don’t care about anything other than myself for 15 min. These days it’s often in the middle of the day. Right after I had a zoom meeting, my daughter finished homework; we are about to have lunch, whenever there is a moment of silence. I don’t feel guilty about turning on the TV during that time or giving them another snack to keep them quiet. I take my bath, listen to a podcast, drink a cup of tea (or wine) and close the bathroom door just enough to hear them still, but also ignore them. And when the guilt creeps in, I remind myself that those few moments to myself will allow me not to snap and scream when they get on my nerves again in just a few more minutes.
5) Find people that you can talk to! I started a founder’s support group inside findSisterhood, and at least once a week, I post a zoom link for anyone to join me on a call. Sometimes we talk business. Other times we talk about our kids or just vent. It’s perfect because it reminds me that I am not alone and that this is hard for all of us.
We are experiencing a pandemic. An economic crisis. A mental health crisis. And as parents, a period of burnouts not knowing when this will be over. So be kind to yourself and others.
It’s ok to sometimes fall apart. Tacos fall apart, and we still love them.