Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

We moms are tough. We can take a lot. I mean, most of us can push something the size of a cantaloupe or larger through our vaginas, so we can handle a lot of shit. But this is a convergence of catastrophes unlike anything I would have predicted as I happily kicked 2019 in the ass on its way out the door (come back, 2019…you weren’t that bad).

Moms Are Feeling Overwhelmed

Nothing is easy in 2020, when there’s a pandemic and it’s an election year and the hurricanes and tornadoes and fires make it feel like we’re living through Armageddon. And we’re doing it all while being trapped in a home with our bored kids while trying to work virtually. If ever there was a Calgon, take me to Puerto Vallarta and fill me with tequila moment, this is it. Except the border to Mexico is closed to Americans.

And Now, The School Thing

Let’s not even get into the argument about whether or not they should open or why we don’t support our families with more effective social policies that support working families. School is back in session in most places. Whether you have a kindergartner or a college student, whether they’re attending in person or online, it can be a stressful time. The kids are excited, sure, but for moms, every school year is a mark in time. One year older, one year further from the days of cuddles and stories and just being together. So take a breath. It’s ok to feel it all – relieved that they’ll be out of your hair, sad that they’ll be gone, guilty that you’re relieved that they’re gone, worried that they’ll get sick, feeling selfish for worrying that they’ll get you sick, and so much more.

There Is NO Perfect Solution

Ok, we could all lock ourselves in our homes, have drone delivery food, let the men in space suits come through and spray everything with disinfectant, and hope we could get things under control. But how many of your neighbors wouldn’t be able to afford to stay home that long? How many of your neighbors are already surviving on borrowed time either with the good graces of their landlords or orders from their state’s governor that they can’t get evicted? How many of your neighbors have been in line to pick up free food from the food bank? How many of us don’t know how we’ll pay the bills next week? So you have to do what is best for your family, just like you always do. And you don’t get too overwrought when you can’t find the perfect way through. Some days, you’ll be happily managing virtual courses for the kids and Zoom calls with your team; other days you’ll be curled up in bed crying and finishing off a bottle of Merlot. It’s ok.

I’m survivng most days with more smiles than not, although my intake of Vodka martini popsicles has increases exponentially.

Here’s my rules to live by during this time – feel free to share your own:

  • Don’t expect perfection – from you, your kids, or anyone else
  • Take a deep breath whenever it starts to feel like too much
  • Wear your mask
  • Hug your kids often and tell them you love them
  • Get extra rest
  • Be kind – but forgive yourself when the anger/sadness/overwhelm overwhelms you
  • Do something to bring light into the world, even if it’s just a kind word or thought to someone else
  • Try to exercise, eat right, and take care of yourself. It could be zombies next.