On any leaved daytime, I shape 17 snacks, vary 12 napkins, listen to 957 grievances, forever remind everyone to wash their hands, and burst into rends at least three times.
Yes, this is life with young adolescents. It’s what I signed up for and no, it’s not glamorous. Being a mama doesn’t come with “me” time. Showers are forever coming interrupted by preschoolers and their endless blitz of ludicrous questions. With three babies aged six and under, including a newborn, sleep is segmented, at best.
Before COVID-1 9, the tantrum-filled, sleep-deprived whirlwind was mostly demoted to the weekends–but at least they were also filled with park inspects, lunches with grandparents, playdates, dance, art and swimming grades. And back then, there was actually an resolve in sight–back to work/ school/ childcare on Monday, huzzah!
But now, 82 daytimes into the longest weekend ever lived, and I’m so, too tired. Tired of living the same day over and over again. Tired of procreating toilet paper binoculars and watching Paw Patrol. Tired of Lysol wiping the groceries and Amazon boxes. Tired of standing home. Tired of being “re scared” COVID-1 9.
My four-year-old has developed a propensity for never-ending tantrums. My now feral six-year-old refuses to change out of his pyjamas or wear shoes. My husband has put in a main office in our vault storage room, the place least likely for a partially dressed child to wander in during a Zoom call( and literally the only other chamber in our mansion “thats really not” occupied by the rest of us ). The baby is oblivious, smiling and cooing at the chaos around him. Me? I’m calmly falling apart.
How can I continue doing this? How can I go into the shower each night, wash off the spit up, the glitter adhesive, and the sandbox, merely to crawl into bed, feed the child, and wake up in the morning of this never-ending Groundhog Day and do it all again, without a break in sight? I, like countless parents, am worn out and tired, and I horror this unsustainable hamster rotation we’re on is giving rise to a speechles, mental health issues pandemic.
A recent sketch published by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health( CAMH) in Toronto found that Canadian mothers of children under 18, and moms, in particular, were disproportionately more likely to report new or enlarged evidences of anxiety and dip related to COVID-1 9. These inspection results are alarming, but not at all surprising since COVID-1 9 has changed parenting and redefined the landscape of motherhood.
I’m progressive, outspoken, and strong. I’m a feminist. Yet, like so many mommies, I carry the invisible consignment of fathering and somehow, feminism and motherhood are still, to a large degree, at odds with one another. Even before the pandemic, I was the grocery shopper, the inventory make, the show-and-share rememberer, the doctor’s appointment scheduler, the banquet organizer, the rupture wiper, the boo boo kisser. And while I’m unbelievably fortunate to have a partner who cleans up everything, is a bath-time guru, and does all the laundry, I am, unequivocally, the default parent in my house. And by that, I represent, it is me who carries the social and feeling welfare of our lineage. So I can’t fall apart, or we all do.
But at the best use of meters, I’m just barely harbouring on. I have a history of anxiety and panic attack, which is, under normal circumstances, fairly well managed and I’ve learned ways to cope. Cue COVID-1 9 to push me over the edge.
I’m a worrier and I sometimes tend to catastrophize. I lost my sister to brain cancer when she was 20; and when you’ve been thrown, you can’t help but to fear the worst. Illness builds me improbably uneasy. Now, I worry that we will get COVID-1 9; I worry that we will compile my mothers ill; I worry that my children’s mental health suffers from being isolated from friends, pedigree, and academy; I worry that there won’t be a vaccine; I worry that we will again be stuck at home all winter long. Hit me up with the postpartum period of anxiety coupled with sleep deprivation and then add in a world-wide pandemic, breast and centre stage, and it’s all I can do not to spiral down a rabbit opening of what-ifs.
Especially since all of our social support systems are become. After a complicated c-section at the end of February, my system of grandparents, friends and family were no longer safely allowed in my house to help during a difficult recovery. My 6-week postpartum appointment took place over the phone. A physical exam would have applied my sentiment at ease that I am healing well–but now I have another thing to worry about. Of route, this was a Catch-2 2 because going to the hospital in the middle of COVID, newborn in haul, was also a terrifying prospect. I know I will require follow-up, but am faced with yet more uncertainty as to when or if I will be seen.
Sure, I’ve seen my healer virtually a few periods, but my appointments are not my own with the kids wandering in, or the child crying. Even my favourite escape, my rotate studio, is now a stationary bike in the office behind my kitchen , no longer a region to decompress, as two daughters dances( often naked) beside the motorcycle, or the baby wakes early from his snooze and cries.
As a mom on my third maternity leave, my experience this time around is starkly different. There are no malls to push a stroller around on rainy days , no newborn music classes , no lunch dates. My big-hearted kids, residence all the time now, challenge my courtesy constantly; I am often harbouring the babe, while simultaneously trying to teach my six-year-old to read; my four-year-old is stuck to me like crazy glue, and she needs me to play with her because she misses academy and her friends. The ferocity of it all makes me feel like I’m going to explode. I get forestalled more than I should. I often feel like I can’t catch my breath and the aged feelings of panic return like a revenge. I feel lonely and terrible, but ironically cannot find a locate to actually be alone.
In addition to my teaching occupation, I am also a small business owner. While I imagined that on my maternity leave I ought to have been some time during the day when the big-hearted babies were at school, to manage, collaborate, and keep tabs on enterprises, I now secrete in the shower to try to send emails, or be driven with the baby in the car to return client calls.
I’m tired of hiding in my home from this invisible enemy. I’m tired of the numbers and the information. I’m tired of trying to power through. Parents of young teenagers, and babies in particular, whose professions ought to have exchanged for zero work-life balance, whose employment makes the second fiddle to our husbands’( commonly higher-earning) enterprises, whose psychological laden has been amplified 100 -fold, patronizing our children’s education, well-being, and mental health–we are the glue, stopping our families together, hitherto we feel so extremely alone.
So amid the very real pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, another, quieter pandemic towers. And I don’t think we’re ready for it, either.
The post Parents in lockdown are softly falling apart–I’m one of them sounded first on Today’s Parent.
Read more: todaysparent.com