Reflections on pandemic brain fog and the need to slow down without giving up entirely.
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Helen Mayer, a mother of young twins, was in the midst of building her first company when the pandemic hit. The pandemic shut down her company and took away her childcare, leaving her the stay-at-home parent by default. She needed childcare to get a new job. So she started organizing parents together to create childcare swaps by matching parents who needed care with local stay-at-home parents able to provide extra childcare in the pandemic.
Most of the parents I know are still not okay. When I think about why my brain feels broken and how tired I am, I start to see how this fatigue and burnout is part of a much larger puzzle. It’s not just the pandemic that wore us down, although that’s a huge part. Instead, it’s an amalgamation of many forces, all layered on top of each other. As a result, it feels like we’re carrying loads of sandbags around with us at all times. We carry the weight of all that we’ve been through. It’s a particular set of layers that I’m now referring to as the five layer dip. Here’s why we still feel so broken.
What we went through last year, and what we are still going through, is beyond comprehension and imagination. Many pandemic parents are still trying to survive, out of work, and picking up the pieces from last year. Many more are grieving deeply, and some of us don’t have a clear roadmap for grief or recovery. Pandemic parents feel anything from grief to resilience, anger to exhaustion. We are not the same as before.
School is back in session, and parents everywhere are fatigued, overwhelmed, and still in the lurch. Workplaces are less and less forgiving, and yet the problems created by the pandemic are still here. What’s a working parent to do? Last week, Lions + Tigers gathered a panel to talk about specific steps parents can take to strategically plan ahead for the coming year. I hosted a conversation with Brea Starmer, founder of Lions+Tigers, Shauna Causey of Weekdays, and Blessing Adesiyan of Mother Honestly.
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