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June 30, 2020

A Mom’s Day-in-the-Life Look at Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19.

I never imagined that I would write about a virus—about something I do not understand or ever thought I’d have to live through while raising two small children.

I think of those expecting moms, and their fears and worries. And that is just the start of my worries. But if we allow them to, these worries can consume us, so instead I have tried to focus on my small family and take each day as it comes, while still trying to be a decent human, of course. Although my family wouldn’t always agree.

Those closest to us see the true fear and stress that can come with survival, with those moments when just living feels like a chore. I decided to write this to explore the effects of COVID-19 on myself, my family, and our—okay, mostly my—mental health.

Being a great believer in handling each day as it comes does not mean that each day comes easy. It’s like how I feel about vegetables: if given a choice, I prefer not to eat them. The benefits of living in the present outweigh most negatives, so I do try to stick to my mantra, but I often find my mind drifting into the past.

I remember silly financial decisions or times when I spent too much, and I regretfully count my pennies and wish for greener pastures. But here I am, stuck in the present, so I decided to focus my attention on those two little souls who occupy my residence and whom I love dearly; not my husband as much, as I perceive him as being part of this penniless struggle we find ourselves in. Those thoughts then snowball into thinking he might’ve even had a hand in this silly lockdown, self-isolation, quarantine…actually, there are too many labels to mention, so I just get confused and stick to “four walls, a door, and not much else.” This description is literal though, as my ceiling collapsed before this whole virus exploded upon our globe.

All joking aside, I recognize there is no devious plan on the part of my other half, only a willingness to fix matters and to retreat to safety when he sees me coming to work on trying to stabilize our situation as quickly as possible.

What I can say about living through this pandemic is that the biggest impact is the realization that all humans have been affected, that life itself has changed, and that means we need to adapt to a new way of living and of doing things. I never imagined I would hear my son utter the words, “Mommy, please can I go to the shops with you? I promise to wear my mask.” Such a simple, even natural, question to him now, yet such a profound and heart-stopping moment for me. I’m sorry, my boy—you were never meant to utter such words.

And this is just within my household, without knowing the questions that the rest of the children in the world are uttering or contemplating, as many of us do when something unforeseen happens.

To remain positive, I look at my children laughing and playing. I watch them keeping themselves busy, unaware of the true effects of what is happening around them, and I take comfort in the fact that, as adults, we do not have to divulge and project all our worries onto them. We can enjoy the moments along with them by taking in nature, the purity of the air at this time, and remembering that beauty surrounds us even when sadness may overwhelm us. I also have to give a huge thank you to Netflix for the entertainment, and to the authors of some awesome books I’ve been able to read.

Perhaps this change in life has also given myself, and others, the chance to explore what is truly meaningful to us in life. I take comfort that I can continue my spiritual routine and maintain a strong connection with family and friends. We welcomed Zoom into our lives for the first time during this pandemic, and adapted to chat time, FaceTime, whatever time, including a new way of schooling. I have some incredibly awesome friends in my life, for whom I am extremely grateful as they have become the pillars we lean on at times for support and comfort. Mostly I would like to live to be grateful and to take nothing for granted, which isn’t always possible, but it’s what I aspire to—to appreciate the tremendous moments without overlooking small achievements and to keep moving forward.

I have learned to embrace the beauty of children, their resilience, and the fact that they truly do live in the moment. My tip for day-to-day living has been to get down on my hands and knees. To paint our T-shirts and cut up old socks to make clothes for my daughter’s dolls (well, she made the clothes but I was there). To have picnics in the lounge, even just with bread and tea. We cuddle more, read more, and on the days that my exhaustion overwhelms me, I just hold onto my two babies and let my daughter tells me stories until I fall asleep.

What matters most to me is that I do see the struggles and am aware of my surroundings. I also feel the fear for our future, so we take the necessary precautions and try to assist those we love and those in need. But at this point in time, I have the love that envelopes me and nothing is better than the beauty and simplicity that lies in my children—in our children.

Beauty does surround us, even when sadness may overwhelm us. Thank you for reading my piece of nonsense, some sense, no sense, or whatever it made you feel.

~

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