12 Things Other Moms In Quarantine Want You To Know About Your Parenting
I've made a decision that climbing into bed every night and wondering how I even made it through the day for a whopping three seconds before I pass out counts as a bedtime routine. Guys, let's just say that doing the work-at-home/distance learning dance while living in this upside down world has me questioning my every move. Fortunately, there is no better medicine for that self-doubt than encouragement from other moms in quarantine, which, also fortunately, people are offering up a lot.
To get you even more of it this Mother's Day, we asked 2000 moms what they want to say to other moms who are either essential workers braving the pandemic every day to keep us all fed and safe, or stuck inside with small people who sometimes paint themselves. As part of a survey Romper conducted in April in partnership with the Clinton Foundation's early learning initiative, Too Small to Fail, to ask moms how they're weathering this storm, respondents offered up encouraging words for other moms. We've included 12 of our favorite replies below.
Spending every waking moment with your kids can feel like a gift or an endless feat of multitasking, depending on what number meltdown you're on, but when you zoom out, isn't that how it always is — the good with the bad. This pandemic has played games with all of our perspectives, making our worlds feel smaller than ever in some ways, but it has also created more connection and support right when we need it most. Happy Mother's Day.
1. "We will get through this and our kids will remember this time as time spent together since they can't fully grasp what's happening."
Think about how your children will remember this time 20 years from now. What will they tell their children one day? Their grandchildren? Eventually, they'll learn the truth about the gravity of the situation, but their memories of this time will be more about how their time was spent with you feeling safe and loved.
2. "We are all in this together. Reach out if you need any help, there are many resources. Stay motivated and find a good distraction."
A good distraction can go a long way when it comes to helping you keep yourself from falling apart. (But hey, if you need to do that too, it's OK.) Get lost in a good book after your kids go to bed, call your bestie and vent away, throw a virtual dance party — whatever you need to do, do it.
3. "Parents: What we are being asked to do is not humanly possible. There is a reason we are either a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, or a part-time working parent. Working, parenting and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time. It’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much....Lower your expectations where you can and virtually reach out for social connection. We are in this together to stay well. That means mentally well, too."
All. Of. This. But, especially: "It’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much."
4. "These are trying times! Don't overdo anything!"
If helping hand-paint a stained glass art project with your kid becomes overwhelming, skip it. If setting up a FaceTime playdate for your 2-year-old feels like too much, don't worry about it. Everyone will get through just fine.
5. "You are doing great! Remember good mental health for you and your kids is just as important as academics, so be sure to include some fun! Also teaching life skills is important."
My kids' online learning feels more like a lesson in computer programming than reading, writing, and arithmetic — click here, open this tab, go back to the home page, skip the blue dot, count to 29 five times while holding your breath, and then do it all again. When it feels like too much, have them give the dog a bath in the backyard, call it a life skills lesson, and call it good enough.
6. "Support is all around you, whether physically or online. Let’s all be kind to each other and beat this virus."
Kindness is always the best practice. Always. Everywhere I turn it seems like another person is speaking up on television, social media, or a website to offer virtual support, and that type of grace lays the groundwork for overcoming this trying time together.
7. "Times of crisis help us see who we truly are. These are the times in life that define us, but we never have to do it alone."
We can and should lean on those around us and vice versa. That might look like chatting with a neighbor from a safe distance across your porches, asking your spouse for an hour or two of time together after the kids go to bed, or video chatting with your friends. Whatever it takes to help you feel less alone yourself and help others feel loved as well, that's what you should do.
8. "Your child loves you even on your bad days."
This is true even when there's not a global health crisis, so continue to keep this mama's statement in mind. You'll still have hard times to face after this pandemic passes, even if right now it feels like it never will. Your kids will still love you through it all.
9. "We will all overcome this. Don't worry about the children's education. They will be fine. They are smart and intelligent. They will survive this."
As long as your child knows that they are loved and they are safe, the rest will fall into place. Teachers next year will have their work cut out for them, but we'll be sure to send extra snacks, supplies, and support to help them through.
10. "If you need your kids to have more screen time so that you can have some more mental health time, then so be it."
Your kid may know every line from every episode of Paw Patrol by heart when all is said and done, but they won't be the only one. If extra screen time is what gets you through to the other side of this crisis, that's totally acceptable. Your kids will be grateful to have a happy, healthy mom at the end of the day.
11. "You’re not a bad mom, as long as you’re trying."
You may not see it right now, but you cannot possibly be a "bad mom" if you're even worrying that you are. Just thinking about how you're doing as a mom shows that you care.
12. "You're doing much better than you give yourself credit for. While you may not have everything you need to help teach your child, you have more than enough to make great memories."
Say it louder for the mamas in the back: You are more than enough.