Do you see what I did there? Let’s be really real about this pandemic, maybe whine a little, then we will take a step back and talk some self care. Being a single mom is a giant juggle when life is “normal”, but now here we are thrown this curve ball we could have never seen coming. By now we have become absolute rock stars when it comes to dealing with the unexpected. Right? I am sure we don’t all have fantastic involved exes, super understanding bosses, flawless children, and unending support financially, and emotionally. As single working mothers we put on our capes every morning (because like a bra we do not wear them to bed) and we take whatever the day throws at us with flexibility, strength, and probably a little bit of sarcasm.
This pandemic reminds me of the first season of Stranger Things when Eleven makes her escape. She doesn’t understand the rules to outside life and she is very awkward with people and how to act. I feel ya girl, pandemic has me with so many questions. So we cant see our loved ones outside of our house? Ok I definitely respect that-lets flatten this s$#t right out of here. We are staying home in our yard with just our humans and fur human, but of course I am taking a thousand pics or “it didn’t happen”. I am almost frightened to post online because Susan might share me to the community page with some “oh my gawd” tagline. In this fake scenario I also have some snide response to Susan such as, “hey lady, you don’t have my 7 year old son who just drove two nails through my kitchen floor while I was on a work call. I told him if he didn’t go outside and run in my fenced in backyard he would sleep on the deck”. But alas I work as a public figure and realize this can’t play out like this. Instead Aunt Bonnie in Florida can’t boost my self esteem with her likes online because I don’t post. I know what you are thinking, “just text her…”, ok fine, maybe I will.
Next, don’t you love how most people who are not single moms think their request is the only one on your plate? Me too, it’s the comedy of life during the Rona. Juggling work expectations, while teaching your kids, and I am sure some of you moms are also taking classes, or have more than one job etc. Mandatory 9am work zoom call, while my 9 year old needs to check in on zoom in order to not be marked absent on our one device? Sure, but now let’s also add the 7 year old having an epic tantrum over compound words and the dog just hurled her breakfast up. By 4pm I would like to tag any other healthy human in for an hour so I can finally finish that client email I started at 8am before the work zoom call started. This is when the fenced in backyard comes into play and I can prep one of the 6 daily meals my kids now need to eat. By the time it gets to working on my own studies I am passed out on the couch 5 minutes into some Channing Tatum movie I have seen a thousand times.
We also have to speak about these big emotions! Holy hell, the tantrums, the crying, the snapping, the anger, and then right into happiness. I am talking about me here. It happens to my kids too, but mostly me. Where do these big emotions come from? Is it trauma leftover from previous relationships? Is it my need to control or have a plan for the future? Is it because before all of this I hated that stupid Groundhog movie and never wanted to live it? My extrovert self doesn’t know how to be confined to 2 people, and a goofy Great Dane. My profession is helping others, all day long! Not to mention my peers at work and in class, and everyone who I can’t see everyday but reaches out via technology. So much of my sarcasm and charm is going to waste due to the Rona. One thing is for sure this pandemic reminded me I am still human too, who needs self care.
I have been keeping a list of some 5 min (or more if you can swing it) self care items that have been helping me to push the reset button, check myself before I wreck myself kinda thing. I know everyone has a different situation but take a peek and see if any of these will work for you.
- Headphones- pop those bad boys in and turn the music way up. I like doing this while I make dinner, usually the witching hour gets to me, the whining ick.
- Shower- I find my shampoo bottles great counselors, my loofa knows all the things I should have said during that last argument. My body wash has never told anyone how many times I have cried for a few min.
- Zoom- do not use the link you use for work. But do make a wine/whine night with your friends. Cards with Humanity is online and if you don’t mind things a little racey I highly recommend it.
- Get outside- Be smart about it ladies but nothing turns a frown upside down quite like some Vitamin D. Take your allergy meds though so you don’t have a panic attack when you get a sniffle.
- Laugh- I know I made my kid sound like a pain in the ass up there, but truth be told he is hilarious with his one liners and use of sarcasm. Good thing too. Find your “thing” to laugh about.
- Watch something besides paw patrol- Seriously Channing helps me, as does the Office. Sometimes I am not even really watching it but it feels less lonely having the tv on.
- Stay in touch- Call your friends or facetime them. Making those personal connections is so helpful. Don’t forget to ask your other single mom friends if they have eaten today.
- Make plans- Even if they are down right ridiculous, having something to look forward to helps. Whether it is fancy friday in your own house (while you wash all those pjs you’ve been living in), or the above mentioned zoom wine night this really helps stay focused through the nuances.
- Do something safely selfish- I told my daughter to watch youtube and learn to bake cakes, because well, I like cake. I am telling a half truth, she isnt the little red hen, I of course helped her.
- Seek support- if your feelings are in a scary place reach out. Mental health counselors are doing teletherapy, and resources are safely available. Your kid’s schools will probably have a community resource list if you are unsure where to start. Reach out to their school counselor, they are fabulous people.
Hang in there ladies. This is super new to everyone. Even though the pandemic is very serious, if we are practicing safe healthy habits, I don’t see why a little sarcasm and grace can’t get us through.
Go easy on yourself.
Choose your battles with your kids, most days my son stays in his pjs all day, and my daughter spends a lot of time on facetime. Safely reach out and stay connected and make time for self care.