I’m struggling right now.
I would be lying if I said this was the first time that I’ve succumbed to my maxed out capacity.
It’s been overwhelming.
I am at a loss about what to do during this time in my life. I’m trying to deal with the fact that I won’t be going back to my job, an opportunity that I was just starting to feel accomplished in. I have been forced into my previous role as a stay-at-home-mom and let’s just be honest- I’m not thrilled about it. I finally had something for me and it was taken away before I could even reach my potential. I’ve been thrown into this life of now being a Teacher- and all the things that come with having 3 kids all in different grades and one with an IEP and dyslexia. It’s okay tho- we’ll just wing it… right?
I see my children’s happiness and light dimming and fading away. Their normal is different now and to adjust to this new time in their life is confusing (not even mentioning that they were just taken away from their “home” and moved across the ocean to a new life). I see them struggling and hurting- which in turn makes my mama heart hurt. But what can I do about it? School was going to be a good outlet for making new friends for them- and hopefully ease the hardship of moving to a new state. However, it’s hard to make friends when you’re not physically meeting people.
But I get it. I truly do. I proudly support and want to protect teachers and staff. I can see their points of view- both sides. I see the caring teacher who will put themselves at risk for the mental health of their students. They know damn well that for a lot of kids, school is a safe haven. And for many, the only place they feel safe. A place to feel loved, supported, cared about and heard. Those teachers cry out for their students that are forced to be at home in bad situations without the help they need. This hurts my soul immensely. On the other hand- I see you teachers who don’t want to be exposed to something that might spread ramped. I see your concerns of bringing a virus to your home. A home where you may have elderly parents living. I see the frustration it will be to make sure your classrooms are sanitary and up to code. I see the worry that you’ll be spending most of your time making sure your students are following the new guidelines rather than actual teaching. I see you. I see the fight in your hearts. I see your worry.
In the end, what choice outweighs the other? Neither are less important, and neither should be on the auction block. It’s a sad, sad time in our world right now. I can’t even fathom the repercussions of either action we take. We are damned if we do, and we are damned if we don’t.
So here we are. At the end of August and diving right into distant learning. Whether we had that choice or not. And I’m overwhelmed…. and please don’t tell me “I’m not alone, the whole country is going thru the same thing”… I’m kind of tired of hearing that. My situation may be similar to yours, but we haven’t traveled the same roads. You don’t know how I deal with my battles and I don’t know how you handle yours.
Because, to be honest- I sometimes do feel alone- and you can cut the shit- because I bet you sometimes do as well.
It’s easy to overlook a mom who cares about everyone else, but I not only moved my children away from their “home” in Hawai’i- I moved away too. I am also learning and trying to adapt to this. There’s been a line I’ve been telling my kids lately when I feel overwhelmed with all their synchronized demands: “I’m a person too!”. The look they gave me when I said it for the first time proved that they never actually thought about it much. And I feel like I failed at that moment. I failed to teach them that not only am I their mom, their protector and safe place- I am also me. I have feelings, I have breakdowns, I have failures and that sometimes I only have so much to give before my tank is empty.
We, as moms, get so caught up in making sure our whole family is taken care of. We try to make sure that our kids have everything they need to succeed- from food to good mental health. We make sure our homes are tidy and livable- We make sure our bills are paid, wipe asses and schedule appointments. We do so much for so many other people that we forget to teach them that we are humans too. That we are just as deserving of self-care as they are. That our mental health is just as important.
I never knew how important it was for me to keep my mental health in check until I started to build my tribe of supporting woman around me. I quickly saw the benefits of having that time with them- away from my “mom duties” and to actually connect and identify as me- as a person and not just as “mom”. This taught me to keep *my* cups full. But sad to say, I haven’t been keeping my cups full lately and it shows. My tribe that helped me keep my cups full is an ocean away and I am left to scramble to find substance in lieu of them. I no doubt still have them to call on. They will always be apart of my core. But I need something here. I need that connection in person- It took me 15 years to find that connection with my tribe in Hawai’i, and I know nothing can replace that. But I so desperately want that here. I want that instant gratification of filled cups. But it takes time. It takes building up friendships and relationships that have been put on the back-burner. How to go about it is confusing. Especially now in the time of Covid. Familiarity is comfort. And I just want comfort. *shoves chocolate chip cookies in mouth*
Learning to take care of yourself when you’ve been programmed to take care of everyone else first is hard. It’s even harder to put your oxygen mask on first before your kids- It goes against my paternal instincts. But in the end, your family needs you to be happy and healthy to be able to take care of them.
So, here’s to knowing when you’ve hit your limit-
take the time for you… fill those cups and continue kicking ass.
Life is short, make it sweet.