The other day I was talking to my sister who is a mother of three beautiful girls and lives in Dallas. We talked about the hard of it all.
The working, the mothering, the homeschooling, the dishes, the canceling of summer plans, what we missed, what we didn’t miss, the wanting to change our hair and the weight of it all. She said after being really frustrated for a few days, “I realized that I have to make peace with the fact that I am just not able to get as much work done at home as I want to. I miss my job. I miss going to work. I miss coming home and being a good mom. Now I feel like I’m not really good at any of it.”
I understand I said. Completely.
There is now no dividing of the worlds. There is no black and white. We are living in the reality of blurred lines and so much grey. There is no real feeling on top of our game when the game is constantly changing.
This is not spring break. This is not working from home in a normal capacity. This is not parenting at home at a normal capacity. This is not taking care of each other at a normal capacity. This is not normal. Period.
I have heard people describe what they are feeling as grief. Which is so honest it actually hurts. Because there are stages to grief and they happen in waves and sometimes all at once and it doesn’t change just by the day but can be by the minute.
The work that we do during this quarantine is ever evolving. My children will always be the most important work of my lifetime. But there are reasons why I have never homeschooled them. This is hard. Damn hard. The other day I was trying to work in my office and three of my kids decided that their most important work was to style my hair. I asked none of them to do this but yet, there they were, fighting over my untamed tresses because they had finished their “schoolwork” for the day yet I had not. I had to divide my hair so they each had a section and one choose to do a braid, one gave me dreads and the third gave me the type of flip ponytail that Belle rocks on Beauty and the Beast. And boy, was I a beauty. I told them thank you and now they could either go outside or do chores but they just could no longer fight for the love so they quickly did leave my office. Which I appreciated of course because I had to do finish what I was working on, the really important real estate work which is how I feed the said children. That has to take some of the top priority slots every single day even though I am interrupted about 82 times during that time. My house went onto the market a few days ago so when the quarantine began, my most important work was to get the house ready. It was consuming and intense (and still is in many ways) but with the help of my children I had to get it as close to perfection as possible. The rest had to be put on the back burner. It is all so much and it all has to take a turn at being the most important.
But I think above all is that our current most important and greatest work is taking care of ourselves. To be still with whatever we are feeling. To put on our own oxygen mask first. To give ourselves permission to let ourselves bring to surface what we most need. And then we can take care of the next thing and the next person. And if you want to reorganize your pantry, do it. And if you want to watch Netflix in your pajamas, do it. And if this is the time you write your memoir, do it. And if you want to make a seven-course meal for your family but then let the dishes sit out all night, do it. Want to learn the ukelele? Make a margarita? Train for a marathon? Nap? Read? Paint? Turn off your phone? Watch Tiger King? Go for all of it or none of it. And if you want to end the school day early because too many tears have been shed and you no longer have the capacity to teach nor do they have the capacity to listen and learn, do it. Whether you are eating spinach or jellybeans, it is okay. I have eaten cake this week as well as smoothies and on somedays I have had both for breakfast. I have worn pajamas. I have worn heels. I have put the television on for my kids so I can write this article. Do what you most need to do in the moment and please do not judge others for what they most need to do in theirs. Start with YOU.
I think that the top commandments of this quarantine are to stay at home, wash your hands and stay sane. In that order. Work when you can, how you can and do all that you can and make peace with the rest. Allow it all to shift. Allow what is not as valuable to be let go of. Hold your babies when you need to and ask for space when you need that too. It is all so valuable. You are so very valuable. You are enough.
Katie has a book out that is a collection of quotes and mic drops to embrace your inner warrior. “Girl Power” is available on Amazon and is the perfect gift for all the warriors in your world. You can find out more details and book signing info on her instagram @katieyackleymoore. Endless thanks for reading. Xo
Katie Yackley Moore is a freelance writer, real estate agent, yoga instructor and a momma of four navigating life and a separation and finding herself in the process. She adores coffee shops, laughing until it hurts and impromptu dance parties. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamalode and HuffPost Parents. She has published a journal entitled “Dream a Bigger Dream” and the children’s books “You Are a Warrior” and “We are Family” and just finished her first novel. Catch up with her between tea breaks at The Naked Momma and on Facebook.