I knew this quarantine was going to be sketchy. I’m not usually a full-time stay-at-home mom, and I never (and I mean NEVER) set out to be, but here we are. I’m lucky because my husband is working from home – emphasis on the working – so technically he’s here too, but the burden of entertaining our little ones and making sure they don’t fall down the stairs or eat a Tide pod is squarely on my shoulders right about now.
6:34am: Fine, I guess the baby is not going to stop crying and put himself back to sleep. I retrieve him from his crib and he whines a little bit when I bring him into my bed and lay him on my belly but he quickly melts into those extra 20 pillowy pounds I’m carrying on my midsection and drifts back off to sleep. I smell his hair. It’s not weird, promise. He giggles in his sleep and I wonder what he’s dreaming about.
6:45am: Toddler enters my room. Sleep is my love language, but he doesn’t seem to have caught on. Every morning when I hear him stomp into my room, I hear Miley Cyrus belting in my head. “You came in like a wreeeeeeeecking baaaaaaaaaaall…”
7:00am: I take a lot of vitamins. I chose each of them for very specific reasons, half of which I can no longer remember. I have to use one of those plastic pill containers with the days of the week on the lid. I’m not sure they work, but I need all the help I can get. I change out of my nighttime pajamas – and into my daytime pajamas. Classy.
7:45am: I give the toddler little crafts to do and he promptly ignores all my instructions, opting instead to cut up the construction paper in front of him into six different pieces with his little kid scissors. In less than 20 minutes, my kitchen table is covered in (washable) paint. No fewer than six markers have rolled onto the floor and half of them have their caps off. Serenity now.
8:00am: “Is it snack time?”
8:10am: Screen time. I sip coffee (black, because I’ve run out of creamer and don’t want to risk my life on some hazelnut) and gaze at my son. If this quarantine persists, his hair is going to be longer than a Troll’s coif, but less colorful. And definitely messier (think Tom Hanks in “Castaway”, minus the beard of course). The rest of the day follows the same pattern:
- Pretend I’m not a complete disaster of a mom by presenting my kids with “fun” activities I think they’ll enjoy. Spoiler alert: they don’t.
- Give in to screen time so I can clean up from the aforementioned activity, throw in a load of laundry, then finally sit down and rela—
- “Is it snack time?”
I check the clock often and wonder why time is moving slower than a 3-legged tortoise. Is my watch broken? Because it feels like 5pm but the big hand is on the 10 and the little hand is on the 6. I do the math: only 9 hours until bedtime. I use my fingers to count because I’m a mom and my brain doesn’t work anymore.
Motherhood is the most exhausting, back-breaking, and sometimes soul-crushing job there is. But – as all parents know – it’s also really beautiful sometimes. I once heard it described as the “exquisite inconvenience of being someone else’s everything” and I wholeheartedly agree.
In this rather scary, unusual circumstance, we’re being called to stay in our homes – to stay away not only from strangers but also from those we love. It’s harder to do than it looks, and some are having a tougher time with this than others. Some folks are really struggling right now – not only with isolation and loneliness but loss of income. But at the end of the day, as difficult as this is, I think what we’re really being called upon to do is “mother” each other. We’re being asked to endure the exquisite inconvenience of sacrificing our own freedoms and routines for the benefit of someone else. To keep someone out of the hospital, or even to save a life.
And that “someone else” we save? They might be someone else’s everything.