Let’s talk about it. Let me preface with the facts as they pertain to me and, thus, you are going to get my perspective. I am a mother with 5 kids between the ages of 3 and 13 and a full-time job in the corporate world. I say that I have at least 7 jobs and it is around the clock. There is no clock out for me. There are no breaks. There are only constant to-do lists that must be tah-done.
Before the pandemic (pre-fall of 2019), mothers already made decisions – constantly and instantly. That’s what mothers do instinctively (in my opinion). Press us with the Covid-19 Pandemic and it becomes inflamed, escalated, accentuated, ex-haust-ing. It is never impossible because mothers do not have the option of impossibility. It has become decision fatigue for a lot of mothers. Decision after non-stop decision. We must bear the letdown of telling children, husbands, and family members ‘no’. We shoulder the guilt we and society have forced upon us by being the bearer of bad news and disliked and unappreciated decisions.
It’s lonely being the unwavering dictator, decision maker and protector of a family of 7 in a world that is in a state of uncertainty and learning as it happens. This isn’t in history books. We’re making history. Our RIGHT NOW will be in our kids’ history books. Do you know what we do with history? We learn from the ignorant mistakes everyone made. Those books are – what not to do books.
We had to be first in this marathon that no one knew the course for. WE make the turns. WE choose the paths. Weigh the risks. Take the turns. Keep our family safe. Who appreciates the person up in front running the race? No one really. No one is going to thank them until it is over, and time has passed, right? Probably not even then.
Oh! Thank you for making the hard decisions and keeping me safe and healthy. And better yet: alive. I am not sure that day will ever come. Regardless, we press on knowing it is best. Ignoring the naysayers, those who think they know better, those who do not research, the social media fanatics, those without kids or experience, those same people that try telling you how to parent.
If I were to tally the number of times I had to (and still must) make a decision that is related to the pandemic there would not be enough jail cell wall to do it. The number is excruciatingly high. Researchers have come to agree that the average adult makes around 35,000 decisions a day. The average ADULT. Outside of the weight of this pandemic. A MOTHER? It must be at least triple.
A few decisions I have had to make:
No 13-year-old, you may not play volleyball. Your school district does not require masks and I am fighting them daily for one thing or another.
No children, you may not see extended family. Some do not take this pandemic seriously, some are older with underlying issues, some have parties, some are just plain ignorant and do not know how to wear a mask or won't wear one.
Yes 10-year-old, we must remove you from gymnastics.
No 12-year-old, you cannot attend the school band concert.
No, there is no birthday party this year. But there is this I’ve planned for you instead…
Yes, grocery pick up. I will use you a couple times a week.
No middle school kids, you cannot attend the sports games. No, you may not have sleepovers.
Happy birthday 12-year-old! Your vaccine is later today. You’re welcome.
Thank you for the second email school principal informing us of exposure for two of our kids a week later. We will take the (rarely taken) county recommendations and test our kids to protect EVERYONE ELSE.
I have had to rewire my brain and remind myself that I am proud of my decisions. I have always stood by my decisions (and always will). There will be no thank you. I will be met with disgust, disagreement, and heartache but there will be a few unicorns that understand and agree. For that, I thank you. Stand firm mommas in your decisions. Be proud. I applaud you. Keep going.