Estimated read time : 8 minutes
I read this interesting British Blogger’s post and she had classified mom’s in times of COVID 19 into 5 distinct types (I have taken the liberty of “Indianising” them)
• The “well-informed mom” who learned about the pandemic on their morning commutes and planned alternate child and home care solutions ahead of time
• The “we are part of a community mom” who are “calm and rational,” and have their network of ‘bhaiyas’ or ‘annas’ bringing home essentials to last for several weeks
• The ‘spontaneous’ ones who realized just a day before the lockdown that they would have to “stay at home with her children for weeks on end without any adult conversation”
• The ‘I come alive in crisis mom’ – motivated homeschoolers who run their own blogs and are resourceful to use common material within homes to ensure learning continuity for their children. These moms are also baking their own bread, making their own plant fertilizers and diligently segregate their waste
• Then there are those who “don’t know what all the fuss is about mom” and who continued on with life as if everything were normal
I don’t know about you but on any given day I am one of these mommies and on some days an insane combination of them all. I would blame it on being Gemini but I think we all know the feeling of good days and bad days and the “I don’t know and I don’t care” days
The first few days I would even say weeks (we spent 2 weeks ahead of lockdown in quarantine), my belief was “I run a company, I am organized, I lead a team – how hard can this be? – I have all the time – I just need to manage it efficiently”. I had a different colour-coded schedule designed for both boys and then one for the household that included art and exercise and reading time and math. There was the allocation of task and responsibilities and even morning meetings to run through the schedule for the day and make edits.
The lockdown began and I gave sagely advice to people on how to cope and what had worked just having had a 12-day head start on them not realizing what the fatigue and the emotional roller coaster with 2 teenage boys cooped up at home was going to be like
Week 3 saw the boys starting school again at an ungodly 6 am (they are in a school in Singapore and the school is a blessing and I wouldn’t let them miss a day just because I wish I was a student in their school 😊- it is that good) – it also meant I had the morning to cook, clean and get the house in order before starting on my work calls at 9 am – easy-peasy. Till there were days I was too tired to clean and just wanted to put it off for a few hours. At work, we had to discuss sustaining our business and what we needed to be prepared for – there were many calls with customers and suppliers… and schedule – what schedule? Cleaning could wait. The boys got wheezy and then it was OCD mom to the rescue scrubbing and cleaning every corner as the nebulization was tough and the guilt came thick and heavy.
Also read, Lockdown Engagement: A Busy Mom’s Log
During this lockdown period, each morning, I re-colour-code the schedules based on whatever was forwarded the day before and tell the kids to be entrepreneurial and figure out Hangouts, videos, photographing assignments on their own. 2 entrepreneur parents must count for something – get resourceful kids!
I have always been committed to preparing nutritious menus and snacks. Cooking has been creative outlet (I know some of you are going oh you are that mom 😊 but it really is my stress buster after a busy day at work) I make an effort and it’s been one of the few things I have remained consistent on during the lockdown – I felt like Padma Lakshmi (PLEASE NOTE felt ….not looked) whipping up something fantastic for the boys and they are always appreciative.
They on their part have also demonstrated resilience, teamwork and good humour. My 15-year-old does the laundry diligently without being reminded and says he likes it (I know he uses the time to text his friends) and the little man all of 12 helps when he is in the mood but can be guilt tripped into doing anything. They entertain each other, help each other and are in good spirits, and I am very proud.
So far so good, but in my quest to keep the household, work, colleagues, friends, aging parents, a sibling on the frontline, worrying about it all– I am stressed
There are days that my blood pressure rises with every ding on my cellular phone from teachers at school, colleagues at work, parents about some scare around their neighborhood or to discuss some WhatsApp forward they got on rasam as a cure. The well-meaning friend who talks about how she feels her daughter is falling behind on ad math when my achievement for the day on home-schooling has been keeping the boys away from screens for 1 whole hour.
Sometimes I think I am going to break down, so I lie to my children and tell them I have yet another call and I lock myself in my bedroom for 30 minutes of alone time just so I can cry or remember how to breathe. My husband understands and will promptly create the space after the 30 minutes for me to return to sanity in my own shell. I know that if I don’t keep it together then my family never will, so I try not to let them see me frustrated. But I am tired.
I switch between red-raging anger at my husband for not doing things my way to empathy for knowing he will never win that battle and the boys (my agents) will rib him for everything he gets “wrong”
The upside – we have managed to keep the humor in our marriage alive – we laugh at ourselves and at each other’s silliness and now more than ever realized we have each other’s backs and are an outstanding team
Our employers expect us to work. Our children’s schools expect us to teach. And our children expect us to entertain them. We expect ourselves to do everything.
But mommies after that tirade of emotions – I am hoping we can commit something to ourselves
Can we lower expectations of ourselves – can we accept us for who we are – as we do with our children, our spouses and our family – flawed but adorable 🙂
Here’s wishing you a happy Mother’s day – just chill and have a good laugh with the family and remember there are good days, bad days, and “I don’t know and I don’t care days” and it’s okay.
This article was originally published on Priya Krishnan’s LinkedIn profile and has been re-published here with the author’s permission