The Coronavirus is Not a Contest and You’re Not Failing as a Mother
Parenting 4 min read

The Coronavirus is Not a Contest and You’re Not Failing as a Mother

Sooner than any of us expected, we were all thrust into becoming homeschooling moms. Even though this might not be real homeschooling, we are not entrusted with the task of working from home and then making sure our children are not losing critical learning moments.

I’ll be honest and tell you that as soon as this happened, I was looking at all of these mothers posting color-coded schedules for their toddlers to follow and I immediately thought, OMG. I’m the type of parent who would never stick to that schedule because I like spontaneity and like to live in the moment. I’m also the parent who has extreme anxiety over making sure my children are on track cognitively. 

Pressure? 

I’m not sure whose idea it was to put all of this pressure on parents, but geez does it suck. I talk to some of my mom friends who feel like most days they are just failing. They are seeing kids enjoying all of these fun color-coded activities, eating family dinners, story-time, and good night kisses with children who go to bed when asked the first time. Then, they cuddle with their husbands and reconnect because there aren’t any sports on T.V. to steal their attention. 

Can we just be honest for one second, though? Somewhere between the beautifully staged photos and the “I’m giving away my child” memes lies the truth. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. ❤️

It is simultaneously easier and harder than we all thought it would be. Most of us are having small wins and big fails every single hour. Most of us have a kid or two who “gets it” and at least one who refuses to play along. 

Most of us have moments of connection and togetherness we will never forget, mixed with moments of anger we wish we could take back. Most of us are being better parents than we ever thought possible about half the time, and spend the other half wondering how the one hour of screen time turned so quickly into three. 

Then let’s add working from home into this mix. How do we get it all done? Are we spending enough energy and time into one area or another? Oh yeah we also have to clean our houses and make meals/snacks for our families. 

We are Mothers

I don’t know about all of you, but some mornings I wake up with such short-term goals in mind:

  1. Make it to nap #1 for my 10-month-old son
  2. Do a learning craft or activity with my three-year-old
  3. Make it to nap #2 for my son (and daughter)

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As mothers, every morning we put on that happy face, that calm exterior, that “can do” attitude, even though we are incredibly anxious and unsure. We make the best of the situation and really, we do enjoy the moments, but we are also worried about jobs and money, and school and the future, and we juggle having a family and working from home. We aren’t sure how to navigate this next chapter or how these few months just might change our lives forever. Will our kids be nervous every time someone coughs/sneezes in front of them? Will WE be nervous every time that happens to us? 

We want to want to slow down and make changes, but we kinda liked that easy, hurried life that now seems so far away. The idea that we are not enough, that we’ll never be enough, is once again rearing its ugly head as we look at all the awesome free offerings we are not taking advantage of, and at the sub-par school work that is only partially finished. And boy, do we miss our village. We had just gotten comfortable with letting them fill in our gaps, and now they are suddenly gone.

It is All Okay

What I want you all to remember that it is ok. If your child had more screen time than normal today, it’s not going to damage them. We all have those days. If you need a minute, or an hour, or even a day, that’s okay too. I know I do. I need to work out for 45 minutes a day and have “me” time to be a good mom. I’m more patient, caring, and understanding when I have that time. DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR THAT!

We don’t all have to feel the same to be good parents. The coronavirus is not a competition to see who loves motherhood or her children the most. It’s not a race to be the most structured and productive, or the coolest and most laid back parent. It is not a contest to see who can educate the best or who can throw it all out the window without guilt.

So stop comparing, stop self-shaming, stop worrying, and start patting yourself on the back for wading through the unknown with grace and a little too much chocolate. Your children are watching you evolve, step up, and love boldly; how lucky are they? I want you to start feeling joy from the small victories, and start doing more of what makes you happy in parenthood.

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