I have never felt the effects of this emotional roller coaster that is motherhood so profoundly as I do during this strange time of “shelter in place”. As we begin our third week nestled in the safety of our home, I am becoming increasingly more sensitive to the ebb and flow of feelings as they lap against the edges of our cocoon. As full-time, working parents for the entirety of our parenting experience, we have never spent longer than a week and a half vacation in the same, constant physical space with our children. It is a gift of time, but there are moments where gratitude for that gift is fleeting.
Parenting is hard. I have always known that to be true. But, this new parenting, quarantine parenting, this is a whole new level of hard. In this small bubble of space and time we are constantly around our children. They rely on us to set the tone for the day. We are a barometer that tells them whether they are safe and how much they should worry. Our seven-year-old is particularly sensitive to our moods and we are finding it increasingly difficult to manage our stress when in her presence. I have noticed that she is also becomingly increasingly more agitated and sad. She has always been sensitive, but her emotional intensity is more quick to ignite. We try to be patient and sit with her through these difficult feelings of uncertainty. At night I have started guiding them through a mediation to help quiet they minds by imagining the beach and counting each wave as it hits the shore. My three-year-old prefers when we count the “baby dolphins” instead. Whatever works. This mama is tired. Rest sweet babies, tomorrow will look a lot like today.
If we all have a well of patience as parents, it is important to remember that that well is not bottomless. It feels more and more shallow as we manage the stress of each new day of this bizarre time. I keep reminding myself it is temporary and one day will end. In the mean time, I will give myself a minute, visualize my beloved beach and count each wave as it comes.