It’s been three weeks since the kids have been home with me all day every day. Three long weeks. I know every parent is struggling right now, trying to figure out how to balance work and kids. They probably aren’t going back to school this academic year. And while it has been stressful with the kids home, I’m proud to say I haven’t lost my shit.
There’s been yelling and some tears but something inside my brain switched and now I feel mentally tough for the first time in a long time. I guess I realized I don’t have another choice. I have to show up and be a mom. There is no end to the quarantine in sight and there’s nothing to do but be strong. Usually, uncertainty and this amount of stress would trigger me, causing panic attacks and rendering me useless. I know everybody is in the same boat and I don’t mean to whine about this situation but I don’t know if everyone realizes how hard it is for parents right now. We can’t go anywhere or do anything the kids usually like to do. What bothers me most is knowing that my babies surely are feeling stressed and out of control. They need routines and structure. I imagine they are scared and completely overwhelmed. I know I am.
My days have started around 5:30-6 am and end around 7-8 pm. That’s a lot for me. In the good old days, I would go to bed at 9 pm so I would be well rested. Now, I get the kids down, eat dinner and barely have anytime to discuss things with my husband and just relax. I know going to bed at 11 pm will make me tired and break up my routine but I NEED to chill, not be touched, not be yelled at or asked to do a million things. The struggle is real. Now, more than ever self care is crucial and carving out time with the kids here is hard. But I have to do it. Everybody does, even if you’re not depressed and ridden with anxiety.
Self care right now looks like reading my favorite book, watching my fave shows, doing Sticker by Number puzzles and taking hot baths. Most days none of that happens but I’m trying harder to incorporate it in our new daily life.
I worry that this will break me, that I won’t feel tough and be able to handle the kids. I worry for everyone who struggles with mental health. This pandemic is enough to deal with without the added stress of thoughts of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts or debilitating anxiety.
I did see that Health and Human Services launched a mental health hotline to help anyone who needs it. People are available 24/7, 7 days a week. If you need help or want to talk, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the hotline at 833-986-1919.
Be safe. Be well.