Four moms talk about what they want to hear in the time of COVID-19  | Community

Last week, when I was writing a blog post, remembering the season of First Communion, and considering what life used to look like, I also wanted to share something of hope with my readers.  “Hang in there” seemed to underestimate our situation while we shelter in place.

Instead, I reached out to my tribe and asked people – moms, specifically – what they wanted to hear in these unprecedented times.  I spoke with a couple of friends from college, a colleague in the wedding and event space, as well as one of my one clients. The question I asked each is,

“What do you as a parent want to hear as you wait for your normal activities to resume?”

The responses were heartfelt, and I decided to give these words their own space here in this blog post.

The first response I received to the question reminded me how much people want a human connection and want to be reminded that we are okay. We are truly in this together…no matter what your ‘normal’ life used to look like.

Here is what she shared:

“Hi! Excellent topic. I want to hear that we are all in the same boat having to learn how to navigate this new world we live in.  None of us have the answers and it’s okay to ask for help, as well as learn by trial and error.  Purposely practice patience and kindness with your loved ones and strangers and because of it, patience and kindness that will get us through this with a sane mind intact.  Worry, frustration, and a short fuse will just make a difficult situation more challenging. And if we remember all of this, our kids will follow our example and give us strength in return.”

I read that, and I thought about my own first couple of weeks. I, too, needed to be reminded to pace myself, to give myself a little room, and to be okay with what unfolded before me.

The second gal pal I reached out to shared this:

 “Well, I think parents want to hear that they don’t have to be juggling everything well…but at the same time, would love some guidance and expectations.  I know that doesn’t sound helpful, but we almost need to know it’s ok to take time for ourselves without feeling guilty. This too shall pass.  Think about a storm…sometimes the umbrella works and sometimes it needs to be replaced.”

Whew! Preach on that, mama!

With the third parent, we’d already had a recent chat about what to make for dinner, and how sometimes breakfast for dinner is a win-win for everyone.  In response to my question, she wrote,

“It’s ok not to be productive.  It’s okay that the kids are playing video games and that I haven’t learned to bake bread or start growing my own food. It’s okay to just be in survival mode and not feel grateful 24/7.  Negative emotions are ok and it’s hard.”

I loved her response so much because it spoke of real truths. All of us are doing the very best we can to show up for our families and for ourselves, and we really do need to feel all the feels to make it through to the other side.  We have got this, but that doesn’t mean the journey isn’t messy along the way.

Finally, I reached out to another college friend whose son is a high school senior this year.  I remembered seeing her post on Facebook before all of this got so bad.  She reminded people to hug their high school seniors and pointed out that the cancellation of school was not a vacation.  This spring semester of their senior year of high school was time away from their friends in the last few months before they graduate.  They may never be able to walk the halls for the last time, do their senior things or even attend their last prom. They’re nervous that they may not be able to walk across a stage and get the diploma they have been working toward for 12 years. In her post, she encouraged all of us to show them support and love during these hard times.

I understood that she was wishing for her son to have his senior year the way many of us may have celebrated. We meet up with friends in classes and on sports teams.  We celebrate these victories over exams and the wins on the field.  We wrap up our high school days by showing up and supporting one another, and sometimes we wrap up a lifetime of playing sports with the games we play in our senior year.  That was before we started to feel the impact of COVID-19. I wanted to know how she was feeling now… more than 40 days after she posted that original sentiment.

When I asked her what she as a parent wanted to hear, she wrote:

“At the beginning I wanted to hear that my son was going back to school…I wanted him to have all the experiences his brother and his parents had.  (We have all graduated from the same high school). As a parent you want your child to experience joy… going back not only meant he would have those experiences, but it also meant our community and our state was safe and healthy. Going back to school meant more than just school…

Now that we have been told that classes would remain as remote learning, spring sports have been cancelled, and we continue to live under a stay at home order my priorities have changed.  I want my son to have an opportunity to graduate with friends but I really just want to hear that our community is safe. That his friends are safe.

I actually think we went through all the stages of grief and we are at acceptance.  A few weeks ago I wasn’t as accepting or comfortable as I am now with what is going on. I also know that our community is safe, we are healthy, and honestly I do not know anyone personally that has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Our community parents have stuck together and all our kids are staying home…that helps.”

I think her words serve to remind us that that no matter what happens – we are going to be okay.  Our lives may look different than it did weeks ago, and we are all experiencing a different reality than what we once knew.  We are able to move through these phases and stages.  While it may feel like we are each feeling our way through the darkness, we are all moving through this, and we are doing it together.

E, K, D, and J – thank you being open and sharing your stories about how you are coping, what you are doing, and what you want to hear. We will get through this.  We can be perfectly imperfect, and that’s okay, too.