Tag: Motherhood

Being The Mom During COVID-19

It sucks.

Don’t get it twisted that I don’t love my kids and appreciate the extra time we are spending together, because I do. I love my kids more than anything and I am kind of happy to be home with them. It isn’t perfect, but we are together and that’s the only place I’d rather be right now. But… being THE MOM through all of this is a royal pain in the arse.

In my household, nothing gets done with out my planning and prep work. Literally nothing. I’m not down playing my husbands efforts, he is the main bread winner and without him we wouldn’t have a roof over our heads. I do appreciate his hard work, but that’s mostly what he is doing 98% of the time. Working for someone else. He pitches in with laundry and dishes and mows the yard and takes out the trash when asked, but the kids schedules, home improvements, vacations, appointments, meal plans, shopping, holidays, doctors, emergency room visits, middle of the night kid anxiety, that’s all me. Before this lockdown, I was already tired and missing out on my own essential self-care. But during lockdown? I wonder if I even exist most days.

I mean obviously, I do exist. In the same way Cinderella exists. Overworked and unnoticed.

As soon as my alarm goes off, my feet hit the floor and take me out to the kitchen to make the kids breakfast. I sling their fresh made pancakes in their direction while they rub the sleep out of their eyes in front of the TV. I take five minutes to get dressed for the day before settling each kid in front of their respective lap tops to log into their online classrooms. Then I spend the next half of the day bouncing between both kids playing tech support resetting WI-FI and helping them with writing assignments. We break for a quick PBJ before we do it all again for the next two hours.

Besides my new career in tech support, I’ve become a virtual assistant scheduling their online classroom meet ups and virtual play dates. So far, my kids have a better social life in quarantine than I do. Tuesday’s one kid bakes cookies, or paints online with a friend. On Thursdays the other kid meets online with a friend to play Minecraft. I stare longingly at the people walking by my house and wonder how weird would it be if I whipped open my front door to yell, “hello, hello, hellooo!!!”

The six hour work day I had before, is now filled with non-stop caretaking and managing other people’s needs. Yes, before the virus I was doing this too, except I was limited to only a few set hours each evening. There were only 4 or 5 hours of the day I was taking care of other people, cooking and cleaning and organizing take out to get out of cooking. Now, I’m on duty from sun up to sun down. And it is exhausting. The last time I was this exhausted, my kids were toddlers waking through the night.

It’s hard being THE MOM during the life and times of COVID-19. All I really want is a little mental space. A little time to do something more than brokering my kids social life and meticulously planning a two week grocery haul so I can avoid being in public.

I miss public.

I had some of my best times there. Talking. Chatting. Laughing. Taking a walk untethered from complaining children who never seem to be happy with anything I do.

For now, I will steal away the even smaller moments in the day to unplug from the motherhood grind. I will give myself grace when I’ve failed to put myself first. I will remain grateful for this time with my family. And I will give myself permission to admit that some days, it just sucks to be THE MOM.

Writer Bio for The Whatever Mom
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I Need You To Know You Are Loved. Always.

you-are-loved-always

When I first began writing this blog two years ago I was still in the throws of learning how to be a mom. I thought sharing the messier parts of our lives would show other moms I wasn’t just another pretty blog. My target mom was (and still is) the one just like me: lonely, afraid and in need of a good friend.

Today’s post (is late because life gets crazy) is written by my good friend Dawn. We met each other as new moms just walking aimlessly around our neighborhood; both pushing our strollers lap after lap trying to find solace. I was trying to make sense of my life as a twin mom and she was trying to process the loss of her mother.

My blog has changed a lot in the last couple of years. New designs, better photos, and I think better writing. What is the same is that I hope my words serve as a beacon for other moms who need to feel connected, and that they can think of me as a friend. I am so grateful to Dawn for sharing this story with us, and for allowing me to find solace in our friendship.

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I still remember the exact words my mother said to me when I told her I was going to have a baby. After an enormous gasp, she shouted into the phone “you better not be lying to me, little girl. You almost gave me a heart attack!” I laughed outwardly, the hyperbolic reaction of a soon to be grandma who had longed for a little one to love, but my insides turned cold.

See, my mom had already had a heart attack and a subsequent quadruple bypass. She had lived with diabetes for over 50 years, and the disease had taken her vision along with her mobility. Simply the passing, joking mention of another possible health disaster, one that could push her over the edge and take her away from me, was too much.

In spite of the fact that she lived four hours away, we talked every day. I rattled off my plans for my pregnancy – prenatal yoga, hypno-birthing classes. She listened to endless descriptions of my ideal birth, in water with no interventions, a soothing playlist to comfort me. Those idealized descriptions were so different from her own real life experiences, but she listened and encouraged and fantasized along with me.

And still, those fantasies were already so different than the ones I had had when I was younger, dreaming about what it would be like to become a mother. In those fantasies, my mom and dad, beaming grandparents, would babysit the precious bundle in my childhood home. My mother would hold my hand as I labored, my father would pat my husband on the back, soothing their joint nerves.

But these dreams were not to be. My father never met my husband because he had died less than a month after my sixteenth birthday. The childhood home was sold soon after, because my mom said it held too many memories before slipping into her own depression.

I allowed myself to indulge in adjusted fantasies, where my mom would come to stay with me and we would beam at the baby together, never mind that she could no longer drive. My heart quietly broke during one of our phone calls when she revealed her own fears, that her vision had diminished so much she would not be able to see the baby.

But! But! When the baby did arrive, my beautiful, sweet, wise, Leo Lennon, my mama moved hell and earth to get a ride here, to come to the hospital and meet her first grandson. She cried and cried, and told me how beautiful he was, and I believed that meant she could see some part of him.

And when she went back home, she never tired of my frantic phone calls. I remember calling her in a tizzy, wondering if it was okay to lie the baby on a blanket while I went to the bathroom so I could actually use the toilet. No matter that she wasn’t there to hold him, she listened, and loved so loudly through the phone and she was there. Always there. Even when I yelled, which I did frequently because I was exhausted since my baby never slept. Even when I told her that her advice was useless, since she had never breastfed a baby. She never got upset. She was always there, always loving, always supporting.

Six months later, though, she wasn’t. Diabetes had caused her organs to fail, and during a Christmas visit to see her grand-baby, she took her final breath.

My guilt about how I had treated her was paralyzing. I wanted to take back every harsh word that had filled the previous months, the previous years. I had squandered the greatest gift in the world by taking her for granted and not appreciating everything she was. The guilt was tangible, a thick wet ball sitting in my chest.

Her last hours showed me the biggest truth about motherhood, though, that none of it mattered. As she lay in a coma, I sat by her side and repeated “I love you” over and over again. She didn’t react at all, until finally I followed one of my repeated “I love you”s with “and I know you love me.” Her chest heaved, she let out a gasp, and her face twisted with what looked like tears. That’s all she cared about at the very end of her life – that I knew I was loved.

Becoming a mom confirmed for me that she was right. As I look at my two sons, my youngest not even conceived before she was gone, I know the only thing that matters ever is that they know they are loved. No matter what, no matter if I am angry or if they are, if they feel like they’ve let me down, if we disagree intensely on an issue, I need them to know none of it matters. They are always loved. Always.

dawn-bio-picDawn Green is an amazingly talented writer and teacher. When she isn’t writing she is hard at work raising two kick-ass kids and teaching them how to save the planet. 

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The Type of Friend You Become After Having Kids

I've Become The Friend That . . .

I love being a mom. I love being a friend. At times, it’s tough doing both, especially when you are raising toddlers. They are loud, unpredictable, clumsy & messy. It’s amazing how much motherhood changes you, especially concerning the dynamic you have with your friends. Here’s what I noticed about the friend I’ve become after having kids:

 

I’M NOW THE FRIEND THAT:

Texts more than talks. I remember when I had an infant that slept the majority of the day. I still called my long distance friends and talked for hours. Then as she got older, it became more difficult when my daughter started to get into things. Now that my daughters are 4 & 2, it seems as if they have radar on me. If mommy is on the phone, that must be the time to squeal, fight and scream. Communicating is so much easier texting than talking.

 

Yells mid-conversation. This goes back to the previous point. If my friend is lucky enough to have more than a 5 minute conversation with me, she’s bound to hear me yell mid-conversation. At one point, I can hear the uncomfortable silence in my single friend’s voice, and in the next few minutes, she’s asking me if I need to go. Even though I tell her the wailing she’s hearing is unreasonable, the conversation usually ends. A few minutes later, my child is happy and no signs of discomfort arise. My friends with kids either laugh or tell me they just did the same thing 10 minutes ago.

 

Finishes eating before everyone else. I’ve noticed that I’m the first one done when my girlfriends and I go out to eat. Even though I’m out without the kids, I’m eating like I’m running a marathon race because that’s what I’m used to at home. If I want to finish a meal without interruption, it’s got to happen fast. It’s hard to get out of the habit.

 

Always has a sanitizing item in their purse. Kids are unpredictable. So are their messes. I’m the mom that has something to sanitize with in my purse either in the form of a Boogie wipe, regular wipe, hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipe. I’ve started keeping these items in my purse even when the kids aren’t with me. It comes in handy when I’ve spilled some coffee or bits of lunch on myself.

 

Shops online. Before kids, I loved to browse for hours in the mall. I tried everything on, and took back what I changed my mind about once I got home. Now when my friends ask where I’ve purchased something, more than likely I’ve purchased it online. Don’t get me wrong, I love a shopping trip, but shopping with kids limits the amount of time I have to try things on. I also have to keep them still and semi quiet in the dressing room, so it’s much easier to just buy online.

 

Can’t take a group picture because my phone is full of pictures of my kids. No matter how many pictures I download or delete I just can’t get enough of my kids; their messy faces, pouts, smiles, nakedness and beauty.

 

The nice thing about true friends is that they stick around no matter how you evolve as a mom. They understand that motherhood makes you a little absent-minded at times, but they charge it to your head and not your heart. They also realize that it doesn’t change the quality of your friendship, perhaps just the quantity of time you spend together.

What have you noticed about the friend you’ve become after having kids? 

Diedre Jason photoDiedre Anthony is a full time school counselor, mother and wife.  In her blog Are Those Your Kids? , she focuses on her experiences of raising her biracial girls in an interracial marriage.  Her posts are filled with helpful tips about raising children, diversity, curly hair as well as entertaining stories, and anecdotes.  Several of her posts have been published by the Huffington Post .
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