Today I left. I had enough. I felt like I was about to explode. So I left. I drove around for about an hour. I screamed as loud as I could, and I listened to Edge of Seventeen at full blast.
I needed it, and it felt good. I had argued with my husband and was angry with my two older kids because they woke the baby up due to their screaming fight while I was taking a quick shower. Before that, I battled with my son, who is on the spectrum, with his “distance learning” school work all morning. Home school is an absolute knockdown, drag-out battle every day with him. Even if it’s work he knows, he becomes totally unhinged about doing it. He goes limp, falls to the floor, throws something, whines, and screams. It takes cajoling and bribery every step of the way, and it’s exhausting. It’s breaking me.
My husband and I argued about something related to my own health and how he felt that I was not doing enough to address it. I was disproportionately enraged. It’s not something life-threatening, and I AM attending to it, but it’s certainly not a priority when the needs of my family and my business are at the forefront right now.
When he brought it up, it felt like one more thing that I was not doing “well enough.” Another thing that I’m “failing at.” I know that he expressed concern out of love, but I only heard judgment at that moment.
So I left. I said, “You get the baby changed and make the lunches and deal with the home school issues. I’m leaving for a while.” And when I returned, my son was watching a school video, and the baby was covered in pasta, and the 9-year-old (who is essentially raising herself) was quietly doing her school work in her room. They survived.
What we are doing is hard. It’s impacting our ability to manage our own mental health, let alone the mental health of our family. Our children are listening to everything. They know that things “out there” are uncertain. Even if we do our best to protect them, they know that this virus means that they cannot leave home to see friends or family. This morning my son said, “I want to see Nana, and I want to go to school, the Coronavirus is RUINING MY LIFE!”.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and angry, even if you haven’t had the great misfortune of losing someone or being sick yourself. Most of us have lost income or job security. It’s okay to go for a drive or a walk, or to ignore the home school work and have a dance party instead. It’s okay to call someone and ask for help via emotional Zoom cocktail hour support. None of this is normal.
Take care of yourselves, mamas, and when all else fails, and you can’t take another minute with your family; drive around and scream and listen to loud 80s power ballads. “Just like the white-winged dove sings a song sounds like she’s singing who who who…”