COVID-19 and Working Mother Warrior
It was hard enough before to be a working mom…balancing professional and personal responsibilities, giving our all at work AND at home. But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, children are home from school and daycare, we’re working from home alongside our spouses and stress about our family’s and our nation’s health is at an all-time high. Overnight, we’ve added the roles of full-time teacher or daycare provider, work-at-home rockstar performer, daily meal planner (now 3 meals a day!) and family nurturer to our daily workload, and it’s truly a battle – mentally and physically. Here are some ways working moms can take on this unprecedented war.
BE A WARRIOR AGAINST GUILT
We knew how heavy the mom-guilt thing was before COVID-19 – and now it’s on steroids. Guilt over how to manage work commitments, how to keep our children engaged and on track with their school work whether we’re doing enough to keep our families safe, concerns about dropping the ball at work ….guilt, guilt, guilt.
My advice to working moms is to: 1) pay attention and recognize these feelings for what they are – guilt that serves no positive purpose and 2) LET IT GOOOOOO!
Try starting each day with the following prayer, “God help me be wise, help me be strong and take the guilt from me”. Watch out for the ruminating thoughts that come to you during the day. They may appear as “I should” “I need to” and “I am supposed to”.
Now more than ever, we need to stand strong in our space and make decisions that are best for ourselves and our families. Make them wisely and confidently, without apology. Regardless of what others say, what others may think, what your neighbors do, or Facebook implies – you are the captain of your ship and you are setting the course.
Let go of notion that you have to do it all. You were given talents and gifts to share with the world. Be proud that you are making the world a better place through your contributions at work and at home. Children AND adults need your talents so let go of the mom guilt and stand strongly that you are supporting humanity in multiple ways.
If we are truly at war with COVID-19 then working moms are at war with guilt. Be a warrior and do what is right for you, your workplace and your family. Do not let “guilt” win.
PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST
Self care has always been important, but now it looks a bit different and is far more critical. We miss our girlfriend relationships that fuel our energy. Now, the support we get from others comes through a computer screen or a wave of support from six feet away. There are no more hugs, nights out for wine (whine), or crying on a friend’s shoulder.
This is the time to be resourceful. To seek that support in new and creative ways. We navigate the fun, (often hilarious), Zoom happy hours/coffee chats with friends and family. We Facetime an intimate conversation with someone special or create a Facebook group to connect our work family. All of these things bring laughter, smiles and oxygen into a sometimes dark day.
It’s also important to find the quiet when things seem loud and amplified. If you have to lock the bathroom door to find a few minutes of solitude, that’s OK!!!! Be intentional to make room for quiet breathing and meditation. It’s so important now. Unapologetically take “ME Breaks” throughout your day.
Whatever fills your bucket….now is the time fill it. Having your cup full enables you to give more to others – at work and at home. Find creative ways to have fun, reenergize and be grateful.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE WONDER WOMAN
It’s easy to get caughtup, confused and overwhelmed in this new world-order that came in like a wrecking ball. It’s terrifying one moment and the next minute we are feeling grateful and blessed. These are the high-highs and low-lows of emotions. Our brains are trying to make sense of all of this. It is hard enough adults – let alone helping our younger ones understand and cope with these big feelings.
We are trying to keep businesses afloat, navigate changing work priorities and stay current with company needs — doing so with a broken heart for our children who are missing important milestones and significant events in their lives. It is heavy.
This is the time to dig deep and keep your lens clear. Be wise in the information you are receiving and sharing. Along with helping your kids navigate the realities, ensure you are promoting messages of calm, hope and the possibility of a brighter day.
Think about how you want your kids to remember this moment and how you were Wonder Woman who led them through it. Put on your armor and be the amazing person you are created to be. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a melt-down (what normal mother wouldn’t?), just regroup and jump back in the game. You have superhuman strength after all. Make sure to attach your indestructible bracelets and your lasso of truth. You’ve got this.
So working moms — breathe in, give yourself a break and a pat on the back. You are warriors in this war too. Throw away the guilt and stand proudly in your own space. You are charting a course for our families and our workplaces and by doing so, making this world a better place.