I finally lost my shit and had a pandemic meltdown.
It could have been the stress of remote learning without reliable internet. Or it could have been that the grocery store keeps running out of essentials that I need.
Hell, it may have been that I’m too stressed out and tired to have any intimacy with my husband.
Whatever the flashpoint was, the memory of me standing in my kitchen while banging my fists against the counter, and shrieking and crying until I couldn’t breathe has been blurred.
I had the mother of all meltdowns, and my entire family got to witness the spectacle.
Of course, they did, we’re in a fucking pandemic; where else would be they be?
For the record, my husband is a hands-on father. He participates in nearly every aspect of raising our three kids.
But I’m still the default parent no matter how progressive we think we are treating our traditional roles.
The consequences for me personally have come into a sharp focus, and it’s an ugly image.
I am the manager of three different remote schooling schedules, daily professional workload, cooking, cleaning, and trying to keep everyone as close to happy as possible.
And I cannot take it anymore.
For some context, we live in a rural place where 68% of our state doesn’t have adequate access to highspeed internet because the infrastructure doesn’t exist yet.
When my kids have remote learning, we often have to get into the car and drive around with our hotspot to find a signal strong enough to stream video classes.
School lessons that ought to take two hours a day are taking us six or seven to complete.
The pandemic has made daily life a frustrating ordeal.
The distance between my house and the closest grocery store is a 20-minute drive, and there are no food delivery options.
Amazon Prime packages are taking two or three weeks to arrive instead of two or three days, making it impossible to get basics either nearby or online. But SURPRISE! I never know which supplies won’t be available because how do you predict what will get jacked up in the national distribution chains next?
This strain is on top of the fear of losing our health insurance, jobs, and rights thanks to a terrifying political climate that gets blasted at us every time we turn on media.
In a singular moment, I had had more than I could take, and I completely freaked out.
I slammed my fists down on the counter hard enough to pop a coffee cup just slightly into the air next to me, sending it skidding down over the edge of the counter and smashing on the floor.
I wailed a guttural cry that felt louder and heavier than my frame could contain, and it felt at once cathartic and frightening.
I do not feel guilty, though. I earned this damn freak out. This is possibly the most crucial part of my story.
Mothers hold already hold on to too much emotional and mental load.
This pandemic is unraveling many of us in ways that are both subtle and violently raw.
I’ve heard many women tell me that they lost it over something that seemed trivial and then they felt immediately terrible and I can’t help but feel like there is a missed point there.
We shouldn’t have to be bearers of burdens for everyone.
We should be allowed to let this shit go and to feel confident in demanding that our needs are met without guilt creeping in.
After a few quiet days at my house, I calmly explained all of these feelings to my husband.
I asked him to please stop forcing me to be the person who automatically tends to the needs of our whole family.
He is capable, I told him. I trust him, I explained.
I need him to step up more, and he agreed.
And now, we’re untangling the last 15 years of assumptions we’ve held about what each of us is responsible for. My pandemic meltdown has been revolutionary for our marriage, but it hasn’t fixed the real-world problems that plague our household but that are out of our control. It’s not my fault there is no bleach or flour at the store.
One problem at a time, though. And I absolve myself from feeling obligated to figure them each out.