The Realities of Motherhood Amidst a Pandemic

This post originally appears on on 8/3/2020.

Growing up I always wanted to be a mom. I didn’t know what career I wanted, though I can tell you I never had any ideas I would be doing what I am doing now. But I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a mother. My mom surely made mistakes, but she was loving and caring and fun and gave us clear boundaries. She took her role seriously and cared very deeply about us. She stayed home to take care of the house, she volunteered at the church, and she even ran my girl scout troop. She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up.

Somewhere along the way I allowed myself to believe that “just being a mom” was not enough though. So instead I have worked my butt off to get where I am in my career, allowing others to raise my baby. I listened to the lie that we had to have to incomes to survive, that everybody these days has to have two incomes to survive, that the only people who can be stay-at-home moms are those who have some kind of an inheritance, or have a husband who makes beaucoup bucks.

And then the pandemic hit. And millions, including my husband, were left without a job. We have been very blessed to have been a part of some incredible mindset training over the past 3 years, so I didn’t freak out. But I still wondered if we would have to rack up tons of credit card debt until he could return to work.

And then they cancelled school. And I was grateful that my husband was able to handle the virtual schooling so I could work, even if from home. Juggling a very active, talkative, social 7-year-old while trying to work, and getting in his school assignments just isn’t possible. And my husband’s layoff became a huge blessing to our family, quite the opposite of what any of us expected.

We found ways to manage our money more closely, we stopped spending on things that previously seemed so necessary. And we survived, and thrived. His relationship with our son (a mama’s boy at heart) grew through them spending so much time together. And our bond as a family grew too. We got to spend a little more time together in the mornings. We got to eat lunch together every day. I was “home” earlier in the evenings because I didn’t have to make the 30 minute commute.

Our situation may be different than yours. I can’t imagine trying to juggle schooling for multiple kids. I can’t imagine trying to juggle both parents working with the kids at home. I can’t imagine a single parent trying to juggle a kid and their job. But the reality remains the same for all of us. This pandemic has changed the family dynamic, it has changed our priorities and our perspective on life, and it has changed our ability to have kids and a career and do both well.

As we head into a school year full of uncertainty, I wonder how much longer this will last. I wonder if the cases will surge as kids go back, as the weather starts to cool, as the flu rears it’s ugly head and immune systems are further compromised. I wonder if we will be doing this same dance a year from now. Even the experts don’t really seem to know yet. But one thing is for certain. Life will never go back to exactly the way it was before. I believe our children, the ones who are really old enough to understand what is going on, to understand the risk of catching this virus, of the gravity of loss our world has experienced in the past 6 months, will forever be changed. But they also have the ability to change the world based on their experiences during this pandemic, and that gives me great hope for our future. Our world has changed, and we need to move forward in the best way we possibly can.

I will leave you with something my mentor said recently on a coaching call, which I thought was pretty profound. “This pandemic is the 9-11 of 2020. Things will never go back to the way they were before.”

So tell me, how has the pandemic changed your family? Do you agree that it has changed our world, or do you think things will go back to normal as soon as we get a cure/vaccine/etc?

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