We may feel so alone as we struggle through the virtual learning phase of the pandemic, but I see you, Moms, doing the best that you can.
It’s 11:20, and our next zoom meeting starts at 12:30. I rush my boys into their tennis shoes and off to the park. We have one hour and ten minutes to take advantage of— this is our time. They get to run and be free. They get to be social. I get to be disengaged or at least less engaged than I typically am entertaining two preschoolers while simultaneously keeping an ear on a Kindergarten Zoom meeting to be sure we don’t miss any pertinent information.
As I look around the park, I see moms going through what I am going through, and I can empathize with all of them.
I see the mom playing hard. She is chasing and playing games. She is capitalizing on that moment to play freely with her child and escape the role of teacher for a few moments. She is recapturing the joy of summer that was just ripped out of her hands for a less than ideal substitute. I admire that mom because she still has the energy, desire, and mental wherewithal to play and enjoy.
I see the mom gathered with a group of other moms. They are lamenting the schedules and praising the teachers. They are exhausted from the morning behind and preparing for the afternoon ahead. They are sharing tips for success and horror stories of trials. Honestly, they are the moms I’d usually question, wondering why they are not engaging with their kids more. I admire that mom, for she’s found her outlet and sanity to get through the long virtual learning days.
I see the mom correcting her kids in a short, curt tone. She’s held it together all morning and tried not to lose her patience during hours of Zoom school. She has been stretched almost to her breaking point yet has tried to remain optimistic for her kids to make virtual learning a positive experience. I admire that mom because I know she is trying so hard, but with all the stressors, she is bound to run out of patience at some point.
I see the mom mindlessly scrolling on her phone or reading through emails from the day. This is her moment. She’s connecting with the outside world, catching up, or simply turning off. The kids are finally engaged, and she can disengage. She smiles at photos of her friends’ kids, laughs at quotes and memes that perfectly capture this time, and checks emails to make sure she is not missing anything. I admire that mom, for I know she has already given her all, and she is finding her moment of self-care no matter how simple it might be.
Mom, this is hard, and I see you. I so deeply understand and feel what you are feeling. We have been doing this for a long time, and there is no true end in sight. When we signed up to be “mom,” this was not part of the plan. We did not predict a pandemic. Not all of us are meant to be stay-at-home parents, and certainly, not all are meant to be teachers. Just know, mom, that I see you and others do too. This is your time to cut yourself some slack. We will someday be on the other side of this pandemic and virtual learning. We will be able to pat ourselves on the back and be amazed that we survived this. Until then, mom. While we are in the thick of this, just know I see you. I see you playing, socializing, stressing, and scrolling. I understand you and others do, too.