I’m a self-proclaimed Pinterest and Instagram mom in the ‘Instagram mom’ era. I cut my children’s food in shapes and document our list of activities like sponge painted volcanos and felt-made ladybugs in my IG stories. I nicely photograph our experiences, apply a fab filter and post. And well, this quarantine has pulled the pin from the heel of this rocking horsey.
Today my two and a half year old spent the entire morning glued to the iPad. I didn’t do one activity with him.
My husband had to take time from work so I could sleep half an hour longer after my 11 week old woke 5 times last night. Yesterday she had her vaccinations and comfort fed all night long.
But let’s start from the beginning. I wasn’t always a train wreck. My life and pictures were real and beautifully filtered by the sun on our vacations.
So let’s rewind a bit, I’m a Psychotherapist who worked in tech just before having my first child. I now have two kiddos aged two and under. My husband normally travels for work (a lot like 4-5 days a week), he also works in tech and I am on mat leave.
During my mat leave and time away from the tech-corporate world, I started working on a side hustle that brought me back to my educational roots in psychotherapy.
I successfully got through a pregnancy with a toddler running a muck, ran Instagramable activities with him almost everyday and cranked up my social media presence for my side hustle. It was a lot of work, but I loudly and proudly posted pictures of our projects and days together.
To be frank, I genuinelyI loved it. But wait for it…
Then, 11 weeks ago we introduced our baby girl to the world, unaware that the COVID-19 virus would blow up into the biggest global modern health crisis we’ve seen in a while.
My partner was at the beginning of the financial year at his job and had to go back to work after 2 weeks. I was one week overdue so that gave him a total of 7 days with us before he was back pounding the work pavement.
The only request I had for him was to do morning drop offs for our son to his daycare, as I had a rough delivery and my postpartum recovery was lagging. My symphysis was still separated and walking, sitting and laying down was a challenge.
It wasn’t until week 4 (or 3 weeks without my partner during the days) that I felt like I could walk a bit and that I wasn’t drowning in crying kids, poop and guilt. Crying from both kids at the same time, poop from my toddler who was potting training and my newborn’s breastmilk poop, as well as mom guilt that my son was feeling shafted when I now tended to our new family member.
Even still, I was tired, but content. The oxytocin was coursing through my body and I still managed to prepare child-friendly food for my little and breastfeed on demand for my little-er one.
During my night feedings, I would often read memes from moms of older children who use wine and sarcasm as their schtick for getting through motherhood. I had one foot in that boat and one foot in another.
Don’t get me wrong, if you know me I am the epitome of a ‘good-tasting-whisky-and-quick-witted-dirty-joke-mom’, who meets ‘energized-and-artsy-toddler-mom.
THE MIDDLE, END
But, my ambivalence stems more from feeling like a millennial mom and that mumbling jadedly under your breath, shaking your fist at your husband, didn’t necessarily always speak to my experiences. I saw myself as a straight shooting tech exec that says it how it is, even to my partner. I’ve grown up in a time of surging technology, polyamorous relationships and gender nonconformity.
While I always respect moms from all walks of life, I still didn’t quite understand the wave of sarcastic wine drinking mommies dissing their mommy lives.
I absolutely agreed and still do, that mommy life is a hard life oxymoronically sometimes and often. It remains the most difficult job I’ve had in my career. I also agree that we all don’t come from the same set of circumstances from an economic perspective to a support and mental health point of view, so actually mom life mostly certainly is harder for some mom folks.
I was also under the impression that we can empower women to live in a world of our own making. We don’t need to be trapped under traditional social norms and backward gender norms, even though we still live in a world of income gaps between women and men, the lack of acknowledgement of unpaid work done at home mainly by women and women bearing the burden of mental load like making the kid’s doc appointments, transitioning old smaller clothes out for new ones, planning vacations and the list goes on and on and on.
It’s now day 50 whatever of the COVID-19 quarantine, as at this point I don’t even know what day of the week is. I reek of old breastmilk, my work is lagging behind schedule and Netflix Kids keeps asking me if I’m there. I then have to run into the living room and press ‘continue watching’ for my son to carry on Peppa Pig or whatever cartoon he’s watching.
It’s not the first time I feel overwhelmed in this motherhood journey smelling of sour milk and sitting in old maternity clothes. But it’s the first time I don’t know when I’ll get out from under it.
The first time arts and crafts of different bugs or monster muffins don’t excite me.
Now, in the thick of a modern global epidemic, none of that whiskey versus wine mom matters.
I’m of the mind that despite the mommy tribes we might come from – whether you’re a mom with older kids or a toddler mom, whatever gen mom you’re part of, the mommy tribe we’re all part of is the quarantine tribe of 2020.
This is the event that unites all the tribes. It’s back to the basics, working from home (if we’ve been lucky enough to keep our job), homeschooling, activities, feeding times, finding some time personal hygiene, groceries and maybe some partner time.
THE END, END
We’re all in the same boat just separately (in our houses) –where we realize the importance of personal space (from our children), the TV does solve some problems and food is food, despite the shape of it. Eat it, just eat the dang pleease! We can’t go to the grocery store for the next 2 weeks.
We’re all a disheveled mess with half-assed work done, a messy home, at our wits end with the kids and haven’t had a minute to ourselves.
None of that Instagramble travel matters right now. This is what they’ll call ‘the parent meltdown of 2020’.
But maybe the real learning is now we ALL know just how much moms do.
STAY IN TOUCH!
Check out some resources that might be helpful during this time:
- At Home Activities During Quarantine for Toddlers
- Mindful Parenting Guide
- Mindful Parenting Activities With Kids
- Dealing With Challenging Behaviour From Kids
- How To Support Our Kids’ Mental Health in High Stress Big Change Times
- Postpartum Anger
Stay well and healthy. We will get through this!
Be good to yourself,