Mother’s Day was celebrated recently, and it’s heartwarming to know how people got creative in recognizing and appreciating the women of their lives despite the pandemic. Motherhood is hard to begin with, but Corona definitely took this ineffable role into a different level.
Throughout the outbreak, I have been graced with stories from different mothers and parents who may have different experiences, yet somehow share the same realizations. Reading and listening to these stories tend to make me emotional – both as a mother and as a woman – and heighten my admiration for “pandemic mothers” beyond words.
Chris, a parent of three, narrated, “we were controlled by time before ECQ. It mandated us when to wake up and when to stop. And then in a snap of a finger, we were told to stay at home. One thing that we need to take care of is the anxiety that not only us could feel but also our children. Following a scheduled task for them is a bit harder as they can’t go outside to play, no classes to attend to and no assignments to do. In short, their 24 hours is much longer for them this time. Now is the best time to break some rules. Late-night talks and oversleeping are the new norms. Breaking house-rules together with the kids somehow sounds fun now, too. The kitchen is no longer my territory but a new classroom to explore. Tiktok is fun when I do it with my kids; as well as, doing my job at home as they watch and I end up mentoring them. I have learned that its okay to loosen up and be like a kid again. It’s okay to play. It’s okay to laugh out loud with nonsense talk and to listen to their never-ending stories. Parenting is not always about us teaching them. Sometimes being a better parent commends when we start listening to them. That’s when we start learning.”
Some mothers I know are both thrilled and happy with their kids, who some are grown-ups, back at home. Having a full and noisy house is something that they are experiencing again after a long time. And while they are no longer used to the noise and chaos, they are just delighted to be spending time with their “not-so” kids again. It is also moving to hear from these mothers that their kids are helping them out with their systems and tools, now that they are working from home.
Micah, a new mom, said the pandemic gives her the paranoia – which I agree to wholeheartedly. Going outside to do errands feels like being sent out as a tribute, a la Katniss Everdeen, or a survivor in the Walking Dead universe, as we fear being contaminated by the virus and bringing it home to our children. Such a frightful thought!
Gadgets also play a major role, even more than they did before. While some of us mothers see these technologies as “enemies”, we now need to look at things from different perspectives and find ways on how we could make the gadgets work for us, rather than against us. Since most households are gearing now to homeschooling, parents are now given another task to teach again – with the gadgets as a very useful medium. This is quite a challenge for some, and I saw some posts on social media from parents thanking teachers now that they have seen how tedious yet fulfilling the teaching job could be. One notable comment I read somewhere is, “we taught our kids how to walk right? We got this.” I second the motion! I can say that mothers/ parents are teachers by nature.
“…make gadgets work for us, rather than against us.”
Staying at home sparked our resourcefulness and creative thinking. Tesa mentioned how she appreciates the time that she gets to spend on tutoring her son and on introducing him to the games and activities she used to play at her son’s age.
The past few months revolved mainly around two elements for me: Corona and motherhood. And while I was privileged to be keeping a job and be working from home, the pandemic definitely has direct or indirect effects on my career, too, every day.
Much has happened ever since the Enhanced Community Quarantine took place in March. In the one-week difference of its implementation date between Manila and Cebu, we felt the effect early on. All the terrors and fears and the struggles to remain positive which I mentioned on my previous blog caused hostility. Though disheartening, all of these negative reactions are but understandable – all of us have our own fears and battles to overcome; and therefore, love in the time of corona is necessary.
Being a single mom and locked down in a house with a 50ish-year old man trapped in a 10-year old body, every day is both a feat and an adventure. Not the crazy type of adventure though with all the thrills and screams of what outdoor activities can bring, but it’s more of a daily brain exercise. I get to see Juno’s PC games more and get headaches for trying to understand the mechanics, get to know his favorite YouTubers and decipher why on Earth he likes some of them, get to observe him as he zones out in writing his short stories and wonder how he completes one piece so fast while I get stuck in an article for months.
Sometimes I gaze at the overlooking view of my workplace with a longing desire of being able to take part again, but during this time I always remind myself – I have to be a mother in the way I know how.
“…be a mother in the way I know how.”
Personally, I am grateful that I have moved to Cebu before the pandemic happened. Though we are not spared by the wrath of Covid-19, I feel like where Juno and I are now – in the suburbs, a city not fully developed yet, a place near the beach – has helped a lot in keeping my sanity. We used to paint when he was three years old, and I’m just grateful to have him as my regular partner again for Art Therapy every late afternoon.
We love our children – no question about it. But in the craziest of things, we tend to get smothered in all the love and lose ourselves in the process. Surviving through this pandemic is a priority for sure; but keeping our minds afloat is still a must. As they say, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”. For our children to feel loved, we need to give our selves that same love that we deserve.
This brings me to the third element that all of us should not forget. ME.
I know that Corona and Motherhood sum up the daily routine for most of us; but no matter how we much we get tangled in Corona and motherhood, Moms, please don’t forget to always put Me in the equation. Take a sweet time out of our daily lives to be spent on ourselves – be it a long, warm bath, a good book, an exciting K-drama, a fascinating Netflix series, a challenging mobile game, anything that can help us refuel and recharge the amazing “pandemic mothers” in us.
“..how much we get tangled in Corona and motherhood, please don’t forget to always put Me in the equation.”
Here’s my love to all of you! You are doing a great job in staying safe and healthy. Stay loved and blessed!