For the past several weeks, most of the people we know have been experiencing a feeling of vagueness like something has just happened but we don’t know what.
At times we’ve felt lonely and isolated. At times the uncertainty of tomorrow has weighed heavily on us. We awake to a new day and realize it’s going to be the same as yesterday. Or we wake to a new day, expecting it to be like the day before and it isn’t. Our children look to us for answers and we don’t always have words for them. Our schedule gets interrupted a thousand times a day. The tasks we thought were so routine and artless become challenges we never seem to finish. The expectations we put on ourselves become impossible to carry out and worst of all, everybody else seems to be accomplishing so much. We see pictures of the gourmet dish they prepared for their family or their perfectly organized closet, and we feel like failures. We measure ourselves with others like ourselves and we seem to come up short. We have emotions and fears that we’ve never experienced. We’re weary of doing the same things over and over, every day—the things nobody seems to notice.
We can’t help wondering when this will end . . . how it will end . . . what things will look like when it does end . . . and deep inside we know something has changed. Life as we once knew it has ceased to exist.
Are we talking about COVID-19 behavior, or are we talking about motherhood?
In a very broad sense of the word, the shelter-in-place directive mirrors the feelings every mother feels at some point in her motherhood journey. The isolation; the uncertainty; the new territory we have to navigate; the separation from others; the unanswerable questions regarding the end of it all.
The truth is, Sweet Mothers, we were created for such a time as this. Everything our culture is going through just now is a part of our maternal DNA. We have the internal fortitude to cope with this quarantine.
My thoughts now go to this challenge: Let’s not waste this opportunity.
Ironically, our circumstances might answer a deep longing children have to connect with their parents; namely, having time together without interruption. Certainly children enjoy playing with their friends but without realizing it, even this can become a substitution for the yearning to connect with the people who are most near and dear to them. As years go by, the substitution can become a habit that sets up a lifetime of disconnection.
MOMS, THIS IS OUR TIME. Even with my own family of adult sons and their wives and children, I don’t want to waste the chance for us to become closer in relationship. We don’t want to look back months from now and realize we didn’t take advantage of getting to know one another better while the normal activities have slowed down.
This is the chance to study our children and see what makes them tick. As we struggle with getting everything done, it’s time to let go of things that can wait. Our routines have been completely scrambled. Maybe this is when we need to establish new priorities during quarantine.
So how do we do that?
- BE AVAILABLE. Our children are feeling the uneasiness we carry inside, even when we seem to be coping. Let them know we’re accessible. Take time to cuddle them (especially when grandparents and others they love aren’t as available as usual).
- BE CREATIVE. This means we have to think of ways we can be together, whether this means literally (at a social distance) or virtually. Depending on the age of the children, each family can establish a rhythm of connection that might continue long after this crisis passes. In our own family, we have a son who plays guitar and piano. Our plan is to invite our family members who can to meet together on the lawn and bring blankets and sit and sing—or listen. And do it more than once.
- BE REASSURING. Yes, this time will eventually end. The world might not be exactly as it was, but hopefully it will be better. Let the children know that the closeness we’ve established while we’re quarantined will continue. We, as well as our children, need to feel that we’re safe together.
- BE CONFIDENT. We can DO THIS THING! I believe God has planted within mothers the potential to make it through the storms of life. But we were never meant to accomplish this on our own. We have available His Spirit to help us.
So, take heart, MOMS! We were made for such a time as this.