May is the month to honor mothers; however, this May looks a little different. Over the past couple months, we have experienced a global pandemic, school closures, job loss, and quarantine measures. I think I can safely say that I’ve never felt more challenged as a mother, or possibly as a human.
Nevertheless, this time has taught me much about my strengths and my weaknesses as a mother. I’ve also had time to chat (virtually, obviously) with other mothers about what this crisis has taught them about motherhood. Here is what I’ve learned:
We are resourceful!
Take away the promise of easy trips to a well-stocked grocery store and mothers around the country pulled up their Caroline Ingalls-style bloomers and figured out how to reuse bacon grease and how to ration those last four pieces of bread like a boss. Many of us have (thankfully) never experienced food or supply scarcity before and this has forever changed how I will view our food from now on.
We are organized.
It took mere minutes after the announcement of school cancellations for many mothers to start pulling together teaching supplies, scouring the internet for lessons, and for dining rooms to begin the physical transformation into classrooms. Mothers are masters at putting systems and schedules into practice. In a world that feels chaotic, a little order can ease anxiety in children and adults alike.
Technology isn’t all bad.
As mothers, we hear warnings about the evils of too much technology, but this period of quarantine has taught us that technology can also benefit both the teachers and the learners. I’ve taken to the internet more times than I can count to look up refresher lessons on all sorts of math problems that I haven’t been faced with in 35 years, and my kids have used technology to connect with their classmates and teachers during this time. We’ve also turned to technology to connect with friends and family, through online meetups.
We’ve gotten to know our kids all over again.
Without the distractions of sports practices, games, dance lessons, tests, appointments and parties, we’ve had a chance to get back down to the basics and really spend time with our families. We’ve been reminded that each of our children are different, with different educational, emotional, and social needs and we’ve been gifted with the time to cater to their individual needs and to address the different ways that they’re coping with this new way of life.
I’m writing this at the end of April, where my family has been “social distancing” for more than a month. Right now, this time together has felt like an unexpected gift (now, ask me again next month, and I might’ve changed my tune). The fact that I’m fortunate that this situation hasn’t asked more of me and my family than we can handle isn’t lost on me. But I can tell you that this crisis has forced me to slow down, reconnect, rest, and replenish. I’m very hopeful that my take away from this time will be an increased appreciation for a less micro-managed life and more intentional visits with friends and family.
The future is uncertain, but I suspect that I might look back and see that this was one of my finest moments as a mother.