The arrival of #Rona has brought with it uncertainty, fear, challenges, concern, anxiety, and a mad rush for toilet paper. Like many of you, I am trying to absorb everything that has happened in such a short amount of time. It seems like we were all just going about our glam lives when suddenly #Rona starts to make more headlines than JLo’s crotch shot at the Super Bowl.
As we started to learn more about #Rona and her overseas trajectory, most began to feel mixed emotions. Most of us did not know how to handle everything that was being thrown at us all at once. We had the media reporting on all the overseas cases and the wrath of #Rona. We saw the store shelves being emptied out in panic. We saw schools close and our children quarantined in our homes. We saw workers being let go from jobs due to businesses closing. We saw our city become ghost towns overnight. We saw curfews being placed on us. We saw jobs adjusting the manpower to try and keep staff at home. We saw the return of the mask and gloves, previously made famous by Michael Jackson. We truly found ourselves on a roller coaster of emotions.
While I empower women whether they have children and families or are out there owning the world without a partner, today I want to talk to the moms out there and remind you that you aren’t alone. There are four types of moms who have been affected by this change the most and you are the ones who I believe need encouragement and cheerleading today. Find yourself in the one that sounds like you and hear my words today, as one mother to another, one woman to another. You’re not alone.
Working Mom who Now Works from Home
In February, you went to work daily and then came home to family life. There was a clear separation of work-life and life now. Now, you have been told to work from home with a house full of kids, a husband, two dogs, and a very slow internet. What?! You probably had at least one of the following thoughts:
How am I supposed to juggle a full workday with kids that see Mom, not an employee working from home? My husband, for the most part, can’t function on his own even in a time of dire need. And now, I have to work from home with them in a home where I really have no space for a laptop and work-related papers. Will the IT department come to my house? Can I take that big nice printer home? Is lunch still at 11:30 am? Does the video conferencing really add 10 pounds? Do I get brownie points still for bringing snacks to meetings?
Be honest…which ones have you thought? These are all forms of anxiety coming through in words…Working from Home (in that slow-motion voice).
Not to mention, the media and our thoughts have us believing #Rona is out there like Jason waiting to get us, our families, and our elderly loved ones.
Ladies, the struggle comes from our inclination to be superwoman and be all things to everyone. We are the motherly kind who still cut up the food for their kids and oversee every detail, even when they live on their own. We are the ones who are on a Skype call and cutting up potatoes for dinner because we aren’t able to focus on one thing at a time. We overwork ourselves to give to others. We will always put everyone’s needs before ours.
If you are in this situation, know that the world will still be okay if you do not incorporate vegetables to that dish or if you end up having to put in a frozen pizza because the day was just too hectic. All the little things that usually feel so important really are not. The to-do list can definitely wait until you and your family adjust to this new normal. It will take time to find a routine that works.
You just worry less so that you can truly show up as the amazing person that you are. That is what the world will remember when this is over, not that you let laundry pile up or allowed your kids to eat carbs for a couple months while being quarantined to avoid catching a virus.
Working Mom who has Always Worked from Home
Maybe you are one of the fortunate women who already work from home. The ones who can enjoy house shoes, don’t have to find parking, and are never late to the morning meeting (oh wait…the hardest place to get to on time is the one closest to you, isn’t it?). You are used to a routine and are disciplined to focus on your work while at home. But now you’ve added the other possible elements to disrupt that peace, like children at home, a husband who is laid off, a new schedule that includes distance learning and feeding kids lunch. You are feeling or went through a period of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety as well. Your thoughts probably looked like this…be honest.
How will I be as productive with the kids interrupting me every five minutes for algebra? How will I be able to be there for my kids and also be there for my business? How do I manage all the sudden changes and still be as excellent in any category? Have I ever been excellent in anything? How will I teach my kids? I don’t even remember the Civil War and now all the libraries are closed!
The world has suddenly shifted on you and it is absolutely understandable that you would have these thoughts. Finding a balance is going to be difficult at first since all this happened almost overnight. There is nothing that you can’t conquer. You have already been managing a business, successfully working remotely, and thriving. You will get through this as well.
Don’t feel pressured by what everyone else is going through or how they are responding to those situations. Focus on yourself and your immediate family. If you feel the need to help, start a Facebook group, assist the teachers with video calls, find online resources to share with friends, use your talents to make a difference. If you are tech-savvy, set up the video calls for the students or group so they can talk and exchange ideas. If you sew, help in the effort to make masks. You can write letters to the elderly, send cards to people in the hospital, or drop lunch off to your neighbors. Don’t feel trapped. Use your energy to serve others.
Working Mom who Lost Your Job Due to Layoffs
Your employer had to close for an unknown amount of time and had to let go of all the employees. You now face an entirely new reality as not only you need to keep your family safe from #Rona but you also have to figure out how you will make ends meet. The added stress of losing your income is not what you needed at a time when you can’t turn on the television without added fear or read through social media without feeling like the world is going to end. You may already feel unworthy, not good enough, and now the world has seemingly validated these feelings by calling you non-essential and forcing you to hole up inside your house. You’ve probably been having some of these thoughts:
What the fak are you going to do now? No one is hiring. We have to stay indoors. How long is this going to last? Is anyone going to even want to hire me if I wasn’t deemed “essential”? What do I have to do to become “essential” …and do I even really want that in my life? Maybe I should use this time to go after my dreams? What ARE my dreams?
The #Rona challenge is looking very different for you than for others. You are not okay. You are worried, you have more free time, you have children at home, you have to manage you money differently, and you are scared. Your world just caved in and you have absolutely no clue how to move forward. You were most likely already living paycheck to paycheck, if you were that lucky, and now you have been told that you won’t be getting a check. Even with a stimulus check on its way, you don’t have the luxury of hoarding groceries and toilet paper. You have to work with what you have and right now you probably feel like you don’t have much.
You are the person who is going to rise and come out an even better person. You are in the worst of the four situations but you are also in the best of the four situations because the strength you are about to find within yourself and the things you are about learn about yourself are going to empower you to take control of your life and ensure no one ever has the opportunity to change your situation again.
If you use this time well, you will stop at nothing to make things better. You are going to bring in the band like Beyonce at Coachella (speaking of past years of course since #Rona affected even that this year). You have hit your proverbial rock bottom and there is no way you are digging deeper! You know firsthand what it’s like to skip a meal so that your kids can eat, and you aren’t afraid to do that now while you climb out of this pit. You know what that lump in your throat feels like when your kids ask for seconds and you politely say there is no more. When it comes to sacrifice, there is no one that can outdo you. You’ve lived it and you’re honestly freaking tired of doing so.
This is the time to take that exhaustion and let it be the source of your motivation for going deep within to search for what you truly want out of life and moving everything out of your way that stands between you and achieving what you dream of. This is the time to focus on what you have around you and seek resources to help you receive what you don’t, through networking, assistance, and leveraging the resources and talents you have already. You CAN do this and you will never again will you be let go from a job because you will rise above the paycheck-to-paycheck life and show others how to do the same.
Let this downtime fuel you to reach for the dreams that you have always put to the side and said, “I will start tomorrow”. Your tomorrow is here! Don’t let one more day stand between you and what you define as success.
Working Mom who Still Works Outside of the Home
You continue to work during this time are also very much affected. You’re the woman who, despite all the chaos, still has to show up to work each day. You’re the woman on the frontlines, maybe a nurse, doctor, law enforcement, paramedic, or other emergency responder. You may be one of the restaurant servers, fast food workers, delivery women, retail cashiers, or other essential personnel that was shocked to hear you would be the one society looks to after years of being told to “get a real job” from people who say they are concerned for your financial health or future. For you, it doesn’t matter that your kids are home, you still have to report to work. You have to go outside your home and put yourself at risk for the convenience and / or safety of others. Then, after a full day of working, you still have to come home to cook dinner, play with the kids, put in a load of laundry, put up the dishes, go get the mail, tuck everyone in, and clean through the house to ensure it looks good in the morning when they wake up.
You still need a babysitter or daycare and are struggling because they are all closed and most states have said that we shouldn’t leave our houses, so you are struggling to find various people to watch your kids (and husband) while you work. Your routine hasn’t changed but the environment definitely has. You still have to figure it all out for your family with a pearly white Colgate smile for the Gram…Instagram that is.
You are risking your lives, wondering if you are putting your family at risk. Some of you know you are and have to because of the income it brings in for you, while others know you are and choose to do so for the betterment of society. You are dealing with the fear of bringing it home while at the same time knowing you are making at least a bit of difference in the world right now. We have globally told you that you matter.
You haven’t really had a choice from the beginning of this pandemic. You are in a career that is critical to society, whether you would have realized that a month ago or not. You will have to put on you armor and face the uncertainty to the #Rona and show up to work like nothing has changed in your world, despite that fact that what you walk home to each day has changed in very real ways. You are expected to perform as if absolutely nothing is wrong in the world. Your anxiety and fears have to be brushed under the rug because there is no time to dwell on anything. You are doing all the things and feeling the pressures of all the people while only taking a moment to yourself because more than ever you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders.
It’s not easy showing up for everyone with flat-ironed hair, makeup, and high heels – honestly, it’s not easy showing up for everyone with a ponytail, mascara, and sneakers right now either. Relax. A messy bun will be just fine. Your eyes will look great without lashes. Your feet will feel great in comfortable shoes. You can’t really please everyone and putting pressure on yourself to do so is not going to help anything. Try to maintain your sanity. Crank up the radio on your way to work. Get to work with a raspy voice from trying to hit those high notes on a Mariah Carey playlist. Don’t worry about putting on makeup, that is what filters are for and screw those who say anything in real life – they are just envious that you had the confidence to leave the house without it. You take it one day at a time, sister, you already a hero.
Give yourself time to breathe in the middle of the morning. Take time to pause after lunch. Remember that the world will not stop if your kids have Cheetos and Little Debbie snacks instead of homemade quinoa and pinwheels. Give yourself time to adjust to your new normal for this time. Ask for help from those around you and breathe in the possibility of life instead of the negative all around you.
We appreciate you for treating us when we get sick because we had to leave the house for food or necessities, and we thank you for being open when we had to get those necessities. We thank you for finding new ways to serve your community through creative measures while remaining open and for keeping us safe and protected at a time when our minds are running wild. Whatever part you play and whatever reason you have to go to work each day, we thank you for risking it for us. You truly are our heroes.
Ladies, there is no mask, long bath, or wine that could take all this out of our heads. The reality that we are currently facing is different for all of us and we need to respect all sides. Even those of you who aren’t moms who took time to read this, you are facing uncertain times and stress as well. I don’t leave you out of this conversation, I have a post specifically for you coming by the end of the week.
Whatever situation you are in, whatever your reality looks like, there is no need to be shaming each other for over-preparing, for not preparing, for not picking up the kid’s school work, for not looking for a job, for not buying organic, for grabbing the last package of toilet paper. You truly don’t know what other people are going through right now. Even with all these generalizations today, I am sure you found elements that didn’t apply to you and other areas you felt I overlooked. Reality is different for all of us right now, sometimes even if we are in the same general category. In fact, many of us may be in a couple of the categories right now. I fall into two of them depending on the week because of the way my company handled the guidelines. Whatever your reality, know that you aren’t alone and that there are many out there just like you feeling what you are feeling and trying to show up despite wanting to fall apart.
Ladies, we will adapt, we will figure it out, we will overcome, we will come out stronger, we will not be defeated. We will take on all this and every obstacle that is thrown at us. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, but you have control. We are empowered and equipped for this and so much more. Let’s support and empower one another and show up as best we can, allowing ourselves room for error and growth. When we look back on this time years from now, let’s all make it so we can say it was my best time of courage, self-care, and realizing my own strengths.
Follow me on social media for tips on how to be courageous, practice self-care, and realize your strengths. You can find me at:
Thank you for sharing ❤️