As a mother of three kids just trying to survive this damn pandemic, I have spent more mornings than I can count trying to choke back tears so my kids don’t see me totally fall apart.
The sheer frustration of feeling exhausted, confused, and constantly having to recenter my plans for the day, because the stores were wiped out or my appointment for a shot was bumped, or the schools are closed again, has aged me a decade, I am sure.
Parents everywhere are feeling pure panic in a variety of forms that have turned parenting into a daily struggle to just survive.
So, when a Florida-based pediatrician, Dr. Mona Amin, took to her popular Instagram account, @PedsDocTalk to openly discuss how parents are feeling overwhelmed and upset, it quickly went viral.
“You have survived 100% of your hardest days and you are doing a damn good job at this parenting thing. I don’t know when this pandemic will end, but what I do know is we have a community here that will get us through it together,” Dr. Aman’s caption reads.
“I don’t have a crystal ball about everything about COVID, but the reality is we don’t have a crystal ball for anything in our lives. So we have to do what feels right and let go of the guilt to be ‘perfect.'”
The caption went along with a powerful set of slides that perfectly describe the hellscape that has been the last two years.
But while Dr. Aman can’t tell us when this will be over or even tell us how to get through it better, she did offer the warm, comforting shoulder of support and compassion that I know I personally found to be reassuring.
“I’ve heard parents say they feel the most helpless they’ve ever felt. ‘When will this be over?’
‘I feel like I’ve been drowning for two years and this is pulling me under.’
‘I feel like I need a break and it’s never come.’
I was asked the other day in my stories, ‘How can I help my child cope with everything right now?’ Frankly, I am more concerned about us than our kids.”
It’s that last line that stands out for me because it makes me wonder how my children will be able to get through the rest of this shitshow without my strength?
If I have nothing left to give, what will they do? Where are the oxygen masks for parents right now?
“One of the hardest things is managing the unknown while helping others manage the unknown,” Amin told Yahoo News.
“I’m a mom and I’m a pediatrician, so I have mothers and fathers coming into my office asking me all these questions that I don’t have the answers to and it’s really hard.”
So, what does Amin think parents need to do right now? She wants us all to remember that we’re human and that we don’t need to strive for perfection right now.
“Please know that it’s okay if you’re not engaging and playing with your child every moment they’re awake. Please know that it’s okay if you overuse screen-time if it means you get a break.
Please know that it’s okay if you go for a walk with your child instead of talking and labeling things, you are on the phone or walking in silence for a mental break.”
As I read her words, my chest feels tight and my eyes sting with tears.
I’m not alone in feeling like the worst mother ever because I can’t be on 24/7 while simultaneously trying to figure out basic logistics of how to take care of my family amidst supply, food, and service shortages.
Dr. Amin’s words feel like permission to just relax for a second, but damn…all the feels of the last two years are going to unleash a flood of sobbing cries.
I’m not the only one. Check out some of these responses to her post.
Instagram user, @jaxleerose wrote,
“Holy did this hit me in the gut. Permission to just cry. Holding my breath for 2 years waiting to breathe. My 2-year-old doesn’t know the difference but my heart still breaks for him and the mom guilt every day so badly wanting a break or even just go somewhere new that’s safe to go.”
Another parent wrote,
“My 3-year-old had an ice cream sandwich for breakfast today, you can say survival mode.”
And user @xchouxchoux wrote,
“Thank you for this – needed this right now.
I feel like a shell of a person somedays and it leads to so much guilt because I want to be more present with my children.
It does feel endless. But reading this from you helps a ton.”
Dr. Amin’s final slide in this powerful series is a wonderful reminder that we need to let go of old ideas of perfection.
Maybe perfection isn’t what we think it is, maybe it is more malleable than we give it credit.
“Perfection in parenting is understanding where to focus your strengths, understanding what you want to work on, knowing when you are in survival mode, and remembering that you don’t need to check off all the boxes and can do what feels right for you,” Dr. Amin wrote.
Listen, all of this sucks. It just does.
But the good news is that we don’t have to feel like we’re slaying or killing it or nailing shit.
If survival mode is all we have energy for at any particular point in time then so be it.
In the between moments, reach out for support from friends and family, find inspiring accounts online (like Dr. Amin!) to follow, and when you have that extra kernel of compassion and energy, try to lend your support to another parent who might be feeling desperately down.
This is our village. We can get through this together.
Check out her full post here:
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