I see you. I am you. This year….bless its heart. It sucked.
The many pivots of 2020
We had to learn to homeschool with five-year-olds who are way more tech-savvy than their parents. There is nothing like 30 five-year-olds learning on day one of virtual school that it is entirely possible to unmute yourself to showcase your pets, boogers, or wax poetic about that stick you saw that reminded you of a doll you have. Can’t make this up, my friends, can’t make it up.
Our mental health took a decidedly downward turn as the Zoom doorbell rang incessantly throughout the day and every 30 seconds someone shouted, “Can you hear me” to which someone – a good 90 seconds later – would scream, “YES, I CAN HEAR YOU! CAN YOU HEAR ME?” Dear sweet baby Jesus, I think the neighbors down the street can hear you, sweet Suzy, now hush.
Or maybe we didn’t homeschool and we sent our kids in, once we could, and faced a whole new set of challenges. You don’t really stop at carpool, you sort of just roll through and your child jumps out like a masked bandit. Nobody makes conversation because nobody wants to interact for one second more than they absolutely must. You haven’t seen the inside of your child’s classroom or even met their teachers in person, and your child’s entire day inside that building is a mystery you don’t particularly care to solve right now.
Of course, there is condemnation on both sides of the schooling fence and both sides are totally wrong (according to the other!) and meanwhile, we try to balance our child’s intellectual and social development with our fears that that sniffle will turn in to something more that could affect our entire family and everyone we’ve had contact with.
Oh wait, you have a job or a business too on top of being a mom? Here is another HUGE HEAPING PILE OF STRESS that I’m hand-delivering to you by way of your rapidly dwindling revenue, the constant seismic shifts in your business structure coupled with evolving state and county guidelines, and the absolute destruction of any 2020/2021 business goals. Ka-boom!
Or maybe you’re holding on to a job or needing to switch jobs or you’ve been fired thanks to a pandemic that nobody saw coming that sunk 2020 into the bogs of small business muck. Amazon is fine, but the mom-owned business down the street….check on them because we are not ok! Seriously y’all, we’re not ok.
Maybe COVID came knocking on your house or a loved one’s house. Maybe it took your loved one away. Maybe, like me, you watched helplessly as a family member languished in the ICU for weeks. Calls to the church about last rites, arrangements organized, and thankfully, neither were needed, but now there is long-term rehabilitation required and no end in sight.
But wait, there is more!
It’s the freakin’ holidays and it’s time to make some magic, which you know falls to moms! So now with our stress and our worry, we’re making Elf magic and Christmas cookies and remembering to buy our partners’ mom’s present while we address holiday cards to people we haven’t seen 20 years (only to realize that whoops, they’ve moved or divorced) while some inane Hallmark movie featuring Candace Cameron or Lacey Chabert or someone from the ‘Wonder Years’ plays on cloyingly in the background.
And let’s not forget, shall we, that it wasn’t all rainbows and puppy dogs before this whole pandemic. For the moms on their own, the ones grieving, the ones who truly can’t afford to give their kids that most-wished-for gift, this can be a time of guilt and sadness.
This has also been the year where we have spent more time with our family or in self-reflection than we may have ever before. Several of us will greet new babies in 2021. Our sense of business complacency shattered, we have been forced to pivot and innovate. I anticipate great things from mom-owned businesses in 2021 because there is nobody more willing to work hard than a woman fighting to provide for her family.
Maybe we got healthy. Maybe we stopped drinking. Maybe we did neither of those things, but we nourished our soul with good books and friendships re-imagined over Zoom and FaceTime. We realized what really matters and learned to value little things (like toilet paper!) much more.
We are battered, but we are far from broken.
We are moms and to our kids, we are simply the amusing conductors of this incredible time in their lives and as we close out this year, let us snuggle our littles closer, go to sleep a little earlier, and give ourselves some grace.
Bye-bye, 2020. It’s been real.