My first child was born on Mothers’ Day, 2016, the day before our anniversary. It blew me open, ripped my birth canal vagina more than I would have liked, and turned so much of my life upside down. So many of you are about to become mothers for the first, second, third time. You’re doing it in the middle of a pandemic, in the midst of changing rules and ideas, amidst a sea of changing information. Motherhood, in many ways, feels like a pandemic. The strange thing about the last four months is this eerie sense I have that this already feels familiar. I’ve been here before. We’ve been here before.
Begin writing a post that says “Working parents are not okay.”‘ Delete sentences because no one is okay. There isn’t really a comparison game to be played here. Call your friend and realize that you’re having trouble stringing words together. Hang up the telephone because both of your children and pushing buttons on the phone and you can’t actually have a real conversation while children and buttons are in close proximity. What was it that they said? “Opening my computer is like a pavlovian response for my child.” Yeah, that.
For many of you, there isn’t anything we can control, push, or organize to change the world around us. It’s maddening, but it also has an upside: we can release the pent-up energy of wanting things to change and trust that things will change, eventually, at some point. Sometimes, releasing the pressure of having to do something can release us to find tiny moments of joy—or at least contentment—inside of the space we’re in.
I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it mighty hard to even get started in the morning. I know these last episodes have all been about finding patterns and rituals amidst the madness, and it’s for a reason—finding my new normal (or a sense of it) is all I feel like I can do right now.
Making sense of days that make no sense requires new patterns, habits, and routines. For me, trying to muddle through the cacophony of work and children and non-stop days at home is very, very challenging to my brain. So, to help, I’ve been building small rituals into the day to start to cue myself that yes, work is happening now, and yes, it’s a new day.
Every morning lately, I’ve been posting a selfie to my Facebook page and my Instagram page. Right now it feels like going to the coffee shop—I get to pop in, say good morning to people all around the world, check-in with my neighbors and parents and friends, and then start the day.