Remember back in April when I said Moms in the U.S. were not OK? Well, that was just a signal flare and now the island is burning.
What most men are starting to piece together at this point, the secret to success, lies at the hands of women.
Over the past 185-or-some-odd-days, Moms have had time to filter through what is helpful and what is harmful, as we navigate both the physical and mental battles.
We are still here, mothering adrift from our village and it’s: lonely, triggering, and enormously difficult. But we are adaptive and here is what we’ve learned.
Like everything in motherhood, take what serves you and leave the rest.
Look for Proof of Life
We miss seeing another Mom in Target, standing next to a toddler, fully sprawled on the floor, tears the size of the crocodile musical toy she is refusing them.
We need this proof of life because not only does it serve as a reminder of humanity, but because it’s honest and entirely relatable. Front porch photo shoots and dreamy homeschooling setups are a struggling Mom’s metaphorical salt in a festering, oozing wound.
When you go to reach for social media, try a meditation app or listen to a therapeutic podcast instead. The social media highlight reel, is anything but real.
Lean on and Learn from Others
Locate a supportive network of Moms who aren’t afraid to tell the truth. Ones that invite you for a socially distant walk to talk, instead of encouraging you to pick up a second glass of wine.
Find someone who says, I see you’re struggling and I am too.
We have been Schooled
In order for learning to take place, adults need to act like adults. I too want to throw an enormous temper tantrum over virtual schooling again—but neither that, nor using children as experimental guinea pigs will end the spread of COVID-19.
Thank you to the all the brave teachers on the front lines, attempting to safely educate students in person.
We should stop assuming kids will benefit from a virtual world that hasn’t been able to emotionally benefit adults. Online learning, like in-person schooling, isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. It will work for some, but not for all.
When online schooling or homeschooling isn’t the right fit—look into an in-person, cooperative learning pod. Find a family to add to your circle, hire a teacher, or take turns with the curriculum. Children are social creatures and learning, especially from a young age, has more to do with human interaction, than it does words or numbers on a screen.
We’ve Gotten Creative AF
We will do whatever it takes to be social, safely. It’s clear other people are hellbent on killing themselves and others–but policing them requires more bandwidth than we have to spare and we need every drop of energy for our own families. Their stupidity only ignites our creativity.
We’ve done: coffee meet-ups from the trunks of minivans, socially distant walks and runs, 6-ft apart playdates, Zoom book clubs and happy hours, restaurant dining in parking spaces, and kid’s birthday drive-by parades.
Mental Health is the Key to Everything
While we are doing everything in our power to keep our family safe from COVID-19, Mothers also tend to set the tempo of the family’s mental health. Everyone looks to us to be the metronome. When we are off beat, the whole house falls apart.
Prioritize mental health, as if it is our only source of oxygen. Seeking help should be as socially acceptable as washing our hands at this point. Resources are available online–is it ideal, no. Is it essential, yes.
It is OK to say, I’m not OK.
If you look closely, you’ll see me, waving over here on my island, putting out little fires everywhere, disconnected but determined.
Mothers may be marooned, but we will always find a way to move us all closer together.
This post originally appeared on Wit And Spit Up