A Letter to My Mom On Mother’s Day

At 34 years old, I own a home. I have a two-year-old and have been married for seven years. My credit score is great and I manage a team of 13 employees. I’m smart, independent, and living the life I always dreamed for myself. I also talk to my mom twice a day.

I could tell you that the reason I talk to my mom so frequently is that hearing from her daughter is the highlight of her day, and it is my responsibility to check-in on her, especially during these challenging times. But I’d be lying. The real reason is because I need her.

My mom is my rock. My sounding board. She’s the one person I can go to and truly be myself without sugar-coating things. She drives me completely up the wall sometimes—usually because she is giving me advice I don’t want to hear but so desperately need.

COVID-19 has set loose a hidden-away fear inside of me, the fear of knowing that my time with my mother is finite. Acknowledging this has made me fully recognize the importance my mother has in my life.

Mom has seen me through literally every phase, from birth to middle school awkwardness, college boyfriends to fertility issues, and now as a mother myself. She has been with me during job losses, car accidents, and life mistakes. We have fought like cats and dogs, and I’ve been ugly. Despite all of this, she has loved me completely unconditionally and has accepted every apology.

Since my daughter was born, I’ve seen the ‘mimi’ side of my mom. She loves my daughter maybe even more than she loves me, and that’s saying something. The two of them are the best of friends and it makes my heart grow each time I see them laugh and share secrets the way only grandmothers and granddaughters can.

 My relationship with mom has also evolved since becoming a mother. I have a whole new appreciation for the choices and self-sacrifices my mom made as a parent.

While I have always looked to my mom for advice like how to break up with a boyfriend or what to do about a job I’m unhappy in, we now talk about potty training, swim lessons, and motor skill milestones. Her experience is invaluable to me and I never hesitate to go to her with a challenge. I don’t always take her advice, but hearing her perspective always helps me on my path.

Why is our relationship like this? Perhaps it is generational. Millennials trend towards more open relationships with their parents (just wait for all the Mother’s Day Instagram stories), and a greater appreciation of family history then some previous generations. Looking to the past often provides wisdom and inspiration in ways we don’t find elsewhere in our daily lives.

This may be true, but I think we, as millennial mothers, are starting to acknowledge the importance of having a steady, unconditional female force in our lives that we can turn to no matter what. In a world and a time where we’re doing so much for others, we need someone we can let our guard down around and not have to “stay strong” for. A person who we trust implicitly. These kinds of people are hard to come by, it’s only natural that we look to the single person who has been there for us since day one—our mothers.

On this Mother’s Day, I won’t be able to give my mom the hug that I want to. My daughter won’t be able to present her with a homemade card or macaroni necklace. And maybe that’s the hardest part about all of this, not being able to physically show the people we care for how much we love them. But this Mother’s Day, I will make sure my mother knows the value she brings to my life, my daughter’s life, and how much I love her.

8 Ways to Make Mom Feel Special This Mother’s Day (Even in Quarantine)

VERY IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th. I repeat, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th. We know the days (and weeks) have been blending together more than ever. So, time to mark your calendars ladies and gentleman because no one deserves a day of celebration more than mom right now!

If you’re anything like us, all of your fun Mother’s Day rituals are not quite quarantine proof. So, we put our thinking caps on to come up with some ways to make mom feel extra special come May 10th. Hey mom, if you’re reading this, forward it along ASAP.

Give mom a customized coupon set

This idea might be reminiscent of your childhood last minute gift to mom but it’s extremely valuable in the time of quarantine. The gift that keeps on giving. Grab a deck of notecards or a small notebook and make mom a coupon set for the best at-home gifts. Need a little inspiration? Here are some of ours faves:  “movie night with the fam,” “an hour of cuddles,” “a reminder that you’re f*cking awesome,” “an afternoon off,” “dinner of your choice,” “10 minutes of alone time,” etc. Watch out, mama can redeem at any time!  

Treat her to a spa day

Whoever says baths are overrated are seriously wrong. Since we can’t send mom to the spa, let’s recreate it at home! Put your minis to work and get them involved in moms at-home spa day. Step 1: Let your little’s help set the scene by helping clean up and put away the toys around the bathroom. Next, dim the lights (or turn them off completely) and light mom’s favorite candles. Step 2, prepare the bath: turn on that hot water and pour in a nice mixture of bath salts or bubbles. Step 3, add your best finishing touches: a glass of wine or cup of tea next to the bath along with mom’s favorite book, magazine, or face mask and play some Enya over your speakers (if you know, you know). Yep, we feel pretty good about this one. 

Cook up a DIY brunch

Brunch is a Mother’s Day classic in our house. This year, take mom to breakfast at the fanciest cafe in town…your kitchen table! Set your alarm a little early to whip up mama’s breakfast faves: eggs and bacon, waffles, pancakes, you name it! Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops—cloth napkins, silverware, that Instagram-famous whipped coffee, and waiters (aka your kids) dressed to the nines. Remember, the fam’s on clean up duty, too.

Get fancy with a customized photo puzzle 

Every puzzle on the internet is sold out, so make your own. Cheesy? Yes. A fun, mindless activity to get you through the next few days? Absolutely. What better way to pass the time than agonize where a tiny piece of cardboard fits? Answer: agonizing over what piece of cardboard fits to complete your very own family photo! Make your family’s customizable puzzle here.  

Make a donation in her name

Scrolling through the news as we sit in our houses all day can often make us feel so helpless with everything going on. Instead of a Mother’s Day gift, write a thoughtful note along with a donation to frontline workers, a local food bank, your favorite neighborhood restaurant, or mom’s favorite cause. This just might make mom feel a little lighter today.

Create a video montage

Since we’ve all been leaning on technology now more than ever to connect with one another, send a quick text to your loved ones asking them to take a short video wishing mom a Happy Mother’s day and sharing what they admire most about her! Reach out to parents, grandparents, best friends, and close co-workers a week or so before the big day to give them enough time to get their videos in. Once the clips are in, you can easily combine them on iMovie! Seeing the faces of the people she misses will make Mother’s Day that much more special. 

Give Mom the day off

Chances are that mom has been spending the last 8+ weeks (but who’s counting?) working, cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, sanitizing groceries, the list goes on. Basically, however she’s been spending her quarantine, it’s likely she’s been holding down the fort. So, on Mother’s Day, ask mom to pass the baton. Let the rest of the quarantine team take care of the cooking and cleaning and give mom a day to just BE. If you’re looking for another way to make her life easier every day, gift her some Little Spoon and let us take care of mealtime. Fresh, organic baby food without lifting a finger or picking up a blender? Trust us, she’ll thank you.

Tell her how much you appreciate her (!!!)

We know this sounds so simple, but that’s because it IS. And yet, so often we forget. Motherhood can often feel like a thankless job. So, put up a big sign in the kitchen, write her a thoughtful note about what she means to you, have your babes make her art or handwritten cards. Scream it from the mountain tops, people! If nothing else, make her feel seen, loved, and appreciated today.

The 15 Best Celebrity Parent Moments On Instagram

I’m terrified of my kid getting hurt during shelter in place.

Dear Is This Normal,

Dear Is This Normal,

We’ve been self-isolating for about a month due to COVID-19 and doing whatever we can to avoid any contact with people outside of our family. I have crippling anxiety that my kid is going to get sick or hurt during this time and have to go to the doctor or hospital. Is this normal?

Signed,
Scared Mom

Dear Scared,

Ummmmm, I certainly hope it’s normal? Because me and every parent I know feel the exact same way. Listen, there’s a certain risk involved in having kids. They fall, they break stuff, they get sick. And once you’ve popped your proverbial ER visit cherry, you sort of learn to roll with the punches and accept that this is part of being a parent. Not the most enjoyable part, mind you, but it comes with the territory! You start to relax a little, figure out how to tell if something is broken or is going to need stitches, learn what a normal fever feels like vs. a bad fever, and you start to feel a bit more in control. 

And thennnnnnnn, here comes a global freaking pandemic, and suddenly the very LAST place you’d want to take your kids is the doctor’s office or ER. It’s … a lot.

My oldest is a dancer and tumbler. She’s VERY good at what she does, and is trained and skilled in acro and flips and stuff. Normally, I have zero qualms about her tumbling in the house or practicing tricks on our big trampoline in the backyard. I don’t even flinch anymore (took years to get to this point, FYI). But as soon as we went into lockdown, my anxiety over her doing these things skyrocketed. All I could think about was if something went wrong, some freak accident or bad landing, we’d have to seek medical care. And right now, if you are healthy, the easiest way to stay that way is to stay TF away from hospitals. So, I asked her to … ease up on the really scary stuff. I let my fears win, and honestly, I’m pretty OK with that? 

These are uncertain, scary times. But you know? Kids can break an arm walking to the bathroom. They can get a wicked stomach bug or food poisoning out of nowhere. They can go to bed fine, and wake up at 3 AM with a scary high fever. So as much as we’d like to avoid all the medical stuff, sometimes we can’t. 

I’ll tell you what helped me. I did my research. I called my girls’ pediatrician and asked about their telemed policy and how they plan to triage patients to decide if their illness or injury warrants a visit. I asked her what can be treated at home (mild fevers, short-lived vomiting, sprains, abrasions), and then I asked what I need to know to KNOW it’s time to seek medical attention. Then, I called our local ER and spoke to a very nice patient advocate about how the hospital is dealing with non-virus related emergencies. She walked me through their intake and triage policies, explained in great detail what steps the hospital and nurses and staff take to keep their regular patients safe, and really helped ease my fears over the prospect of having to take one of my kids (or myself!) to the ER at some point. If you can, get on the phone with your kid’s doc and call your local urgent care and hospital to ask them the same questions. It definitely helped ease some of my anxiety. Not … all of it. But a good chunk of the anxiety related to this particular aspect of parenting in a pandemic.

What we’re all going through is unprecedented. We have more questions than answers, and ish is scary as hell right now. Can we keep our families safe during this? We can only do so much. We only have control over so much. So my advice? Maybe put a kibosh on the bed-jumping and parkour, and make sure your kid is eating a good amount of fruits and veggies and taking their vitamins. The good news is they probably won’t pick up any germs being in self-isolation! But just in case, stock up on meds and first aid supplies, and find out what constitutes an emergency versus a VERY BAD DAY. 

This virus has forced us all to go full-out Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Your stress and anxiety will ease up once you feel a bit more prepared for whatever may happen. And just think of all the new life skills you’ll pick up in the meantime. 

Also Scared But Well Prepared,
Is This Normal

 

I’m co-parenting during COVID-19. Help!

Dear Is This Normal,

I’m “co-parenting” during COVID-19 but we’re self-isolating and my ex is still going to work so I’m the one taking care of the kids full time. It’s exhausting and draining to be home by myself with the kids all day, everyday, without any help. I’m used to being a single parent when it’s my “turn,” but I wasn’t prepared to be the sole parent for such an extended period of time and I’m starting to get resentful. Help!

Signed,
Flying Solo

Dear On My Own,

Oh honey, I hear you and I completely commiserate with your frustration and resentment. This whole pandemic quarantine thing is something that none of us expected…or prepared for…or can manage at all times. The (attempted) working from home and schooling from home and not being able to leave the house, all while buried under the stress and anxiety of being legitimately terrified of a deadly virus that’s sweeping the population? No, I do not recall this in my copy of What to Expect. And for parents in this situation—moms and dads who went from amicably co-parenting with their ex to suddenly flying solo—the added stress of having no help can be almost unbearable. 

I want you to know that you are definitely not alone. I know it doesn’t feel that way and I know it doesn’t solve any problems, but so many of us are right there with you. My Instagram feed is filled with all these amazing-looking quarantine lifestyles—parents who are working out every morning, creating meticulous scheduled for their kids by day, and flexing their culinary skills at night—and I’m over here wondering WTF I am doing wrong, because I measure a good day by how many times someone cries. If it’s less than four, we’re having a great day. It’s OK to be resentful of your current situation! I love my kids more than anything in the world, but I didn’t expect to be spending every waking moment of the day with them for going on five weeks and let me tell you, it’s taking a toll.

Now, in a regular, non-pandemic scenario, if your ex was skating on their parental duties? My first and only piece of advice would be to get your lawyer on the phone and have a chat about your current custody agreement (at least that’s my MO). But these are extraordinary times. And if your ex is still working, out in public around other people and potentially being exposed to the virus, then coming around the kids starts to veer into dangerous territory. For the safety of yourself and your kids, it’s necessary to keep your isolation cell small and contained (I’M SO SORRY, I KNOW IT’S HARD).

That doesn’t mean your ex shouldn’t be helping out and contributing as much as possible. Ask them to pick up your groceries and leave them on your porch to take one thing off your plate. If you have school-aged kiddos, set up FaceTime sessions with the other parent to go over school work, read together, or even just talk about their day. Make sure they’re able to communicate often, your kids are probably missing them something fierce. 

But most of all, go easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about giving your kids more screen time than you normally would—you need some quiet time to yourself. Try to stick to a routine as much as possible (kids love that ish), and maybe make bedtime a skotch earlier so you have downtime without the kids around at the end of the night. Lower your expectations of what should be happening with school right now—you are not homeschooling your children, you are schooling at home during a crisis. Be gentle with yourself and if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom to get some peace for a bit, then do it. I’m hoping this all starts to feel semi-normal pretty soon. Not easy, just … normal. We can do hard things, mama—remember when you birthed those minis?

In This Together,
Is This Normal

Say Hello To Our Super Banana Bread Recipe

Is there anything making banana bread can’t solve? Bad day? Make banana bread. Snow storm? Make banana bread. Overripe bananas? Make banana bread. Need an afternoon activity? Make banana bread. Free time during a global pandemic? Banana bread saves the day again. 

We rounded up some pantry staples and our leftover Little Spoon for this Super Banana Bread recipe. Happy baking!

Super Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds + 2 tbsp water, mixed
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted 
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1¼ cup oats 
  • Little Spoon Broccoli Pineapple Banana Hemp
  • ¼ cup sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
  2. Transfer mixture  to a loaf pan lined with parchment.
  3. Top with slices of banana and bake at 350℉ for 45 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Want to get more use out of your leftover Little Spoon? Check out more delicious recipes like Spinach Chickpea Meatballs and Balsamic Chicken.

4 Tips For Navigating Pregnancy
During COVID-19

Bringing a child into this world is never easy, but during a global pandemic…let’s just say anxiety levels crank up a notch or two. Little Spoon Care Team Member, Taylor, found herself just about nine months pregnant when COVID-19 started spreading to the US. Here’s her advice, from mom to mom, on how she kept her fears at bay during the final weeks of her pregnancy.

Being pregnant can be a wonderful, empowering, and incredibly special time. But it also brings about anxiety, fear and LOTS of emotions (hello hormones, Dr. Google, mom blogs, general opinions of others…). Add in a global pandemic and state-mandated quarantines, and any mom-to-be is bound to feel downright TERRIFIED at the thought of growing and birthing a little human in the midst of all of this. Here are some tips to stay grounded during an exciting and crazy time.

Stay calm. I know, easier said than done, but what I mean by this is to not wallow in unnecessary amounts of stress. Your health and the health of your babe (or babes!) depend on it. Focus on ‘controlling the controllables’ of your particular situation. And try to stay rational. It’s incredibly likely that many will also develop seasonal allergies, colds, flus, etc. during this time so try not to jump to conclusions and escalate your stress and worry at every sniffle.

With that being said, do monitor yourself and be in tune with your body. If you notice you aren’t feeling well, try to keep track of dates and symptoms so that you can be in touch with your doctor and/or OB and relay accurate information that can help them diagnose you quickly. If something feels off, go with your gut and reach out to a provider that can help you.

Fact check. Now is not (I repeat NOT) the time to rely on anecdotes from your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister, Debbie, on Facebook or get click-happy late at night. There is a lot of unsubstantiated and downright incorrect information out there that isn’t coming from the medical community and that can be dangerous to read and follow.Try to make sure that you’re speaking to someone on your medical team or those close to you in the medical field, and referring to credible, vetted sources if you need advice. There’s a reason that your average citizen is not able to prescribe medication or contribute to medical journals—remember that!

Isolate and don’t feel pressured. The biggest recommendation to protect from bugs and viruses (even when combatting regular colds and flus) is to stay as far away from germy situations as possible. In these crazy times, that may mean total isolation in whatever ways you can. While it’s inconvenient, I would urge anyone expecting at this time or recently giving birth to take this super super seriously. Don’t feel pressured to bring yourself (or your new babe!) to gatherings or to have guests over if you just aren’t comfortable—everyone will understand and respect your decision. And remember, this is 2020! If you need something and are uneasy about braving the outside world, just be safe and order in (groceries, Babyblends, wine!) Just be sure to wipe things down when they arrive.

Stay positive and take care of yourself. A positive attitude does wonders during hard times, if you’re pregnant you’ll feel better and if your little is already here, they will certainly feed off that energy! The best way to stay healthy and positive is to take care of yourself—take breaks and naps when you’re able, make sure you’re eating well and often enough, wash your hands frequently and try to maintain some kind of exercise (even a super brief walk!) during the time you’re stuck inside. Your body and babe will thank you. Keep in mind that babies never stop being born—throughout all hard times in history! You’re a mom now, you’ve got this.

Our friends at Robyn know how important maternal wellness and education are, and believe it should be accessible to everyone. If you’re currently pregnant, check out their free Maternal Education Courses on topics like childbirth and feeding your baby. With stay-at-home orders across the country, many women have to forgo childbirth courses and even doctor’s appoints—Robyn has stepped in help you navigate bringing your little one into the world during this new normal.

 Taylor welcomed baby Theo into the world (and Little Spoon fam) on Friday, March 27th at 12:28pm EST.

Looking to connect with other moms like Jenn navigating this new normal? Join our digital community for resources, unfiltered conversation and a daily dose of laughs to keep us all going.

A Mother’s Thoughts On COVID-19

There is no doubt that this is an unprecedented time of uncertainty for all of us. Never before has something so vastly impacted every aspect of our lives. And perhaps the most difficult part for many of us, there is no end in sight.

This uncertainty weighs heavily on everyone, but it is especially difficult when you are trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for your littles among school closures, cancelled trips to Disney, and a halt to seeing the grandparents.

I have to be honest, for me, every day has brought the entire spectrum of emotions. I laugh at stupid COVID-19 memes on the internet, I worry about my parents, I’m scared for our finances, I’m angry at Gen Z’ers on spring break, and I cry for our community as layoffs continue. Among all of those, there are also those moments when my daughter is on my lap and I’m reading her a book and everything feels normal. 

Then the reality and panic comes back when it hits me that nothing is normal.

2020 brought such excitement to our household. Our best friends were getting married at the end of March, our careers have been moving upwards, our daughter is thriving. Life has been fantastic and secure and everything we had hoped it would be.

And then it started. Little news stories here and there about a virus spreading in Wuhan, China. And then in other countries. Then in California…Washington… and now all fifty states. Today it seems you can’t turn on the news or open your computer without hearing about the latest death toll, or a new state instituting a “shut down”, “mandatory social distancing” or “pausing”. If you can’t keep up with all the terms don’t worry, me neither. 

My daughter is two. She doesn’t know what’s going on. No matter what shocking update is being given on COVID-19, she just knows she wants mommy to play with her. So I swallow the creeping fear, we play Barbies and I allow my heart to thrive and my mind to rest.

At this point, we’ve been social distancing for about thirty days. My husband and I are still working and doing essential stops but, that’s it. Despite us one month in, our daughter seems to thankfully be fine with our new routine. The hardest part has been limiting contact with her Mimi (who she typically sees on the daily) but, at the moment she is somewhat content with FaceTiming. Thank God for technology.

I’m also thankful. Thankful every single day that this is typically not affecting children. At least, not severely. I can’t imagine what would be happening if that were the case. Things are bad enough.

Sometimes, late at night, my thoughts start to go down the rabbithole. What if her grandparents get sick? What if my husband or I lose our jobs? Am I doing everything I can to keep our family safe? Am I making the right decisions? What is our community going to look like when this is over? When is this going to end?

These questions don’t have any real tangible answers, which is a hard pill to swallow when you are a Type A like to plan everything out kind of women.

I keep repeating this mantra to myself: We take it day by day, and we get through it together. I know that even as I write this, things are changing. Maybe even by the time you read this, we will have turned the curve. I can only hope.

So, today, I will hold my daughter close, take the time to enjoy the day with her, wash my hands, and let go of the things I cannot control. Remember, we will get through this together.

Looking to connect with other parents navigating this new normal? Join our digital community for resources, unfiltered conversation and a daily dose of laughs to keep us all going.

 

image credit:
getty/istock

How To Clean Your House
After Someone’s Been Sick

Whether it’s a common cold, the flu, or even COVID-19, it’s majorly important that you thoroughly disinfect your home after you or another family member has been sick. We know that our minds have been a little foggy in the midst of all this madness, so we put together a checklist to make sure that nothing gets left behind.

The Linens

First and foremost, wash all bedding and linens! Toss sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and bath and hand towels in the wash at the hottest setting possible. Is your mini a cuddler? Make sure to throw any stuffed animals or comfort objects into the mix as well—Teddy could use a bath, too. 

Tip: If your mini’s stuffed animal is fragile, throw it in a pillowcase and tie a strong knot to keep it protected while it runs through the wash.

Next Up: Clothes

Rinse and repeat! Once you’ve done the linen load, time to throw in the sick wardrobe. Remember: hottest setting possible to make sure all of those germs are burned off for good. Make sure to separate colors from whites when using hot water.

Disinfect, Disinfect, Disinfect

Trust us, all frequently touched surfaces have become home to those dreaded sick germs. Grab a pair of durable rubber gloves to protect yourself from germs as you embark on the process of disinfecting your home. According to Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Dan Allan, a bleach cleaner is the way to go: “I would definitely recommend a bleach-based cleaner. There are certain infections, like Norovirus, which are not killed by normal mechanisms.” When cleaning, be sure to avoid using reusable sponges and rags that hold onto dirt and germs—reach for single use wipes or paper towels instead. 

Your targets? Doorknobs, cabinets, light switches, table tops, bathroom sinks, toilets, TV remotes, phones, computers—all those things you touch multiple times a day. Dr. Allan says that, “cell phones can have more germs than a toilet seat. It’s amazing what is on a cell phone. You definitely want to clean those routinely.” Oh and of course, all your mini’s fave toys, these can be yet another place for germs to cozy up. 

Time For A New Toothbrush

These bad boys go in our mouth twice a day (hopefully) so we need to make sure it’s actually helping, not hurting. Invest in a new toothbrush or clean the current one by soaking it in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide or running it through the dishwasher. 

Reset

After this process is over, open up the windows to breathe life into your stale apartment or home, this helps to flush out old air and press the reset button on your living space. If you can, replace your furnace’s air filter as well.

Wash. Your. Hands.

We know that you know, but a friendly reminder never hurts. Get in the habit of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Like, all the time. 

Even when you aren’t sick, it doesn’t hurt to do a little spring cleaning! Especially since your home has become your office…and daycare…and favorite restaurant—let’s make sure it’s clean AF.

An Open Letter To Our Community During COVID-19

Friends, 

I have spent the better part of the last year answering your questions about everything from pregnancy to parenting to getting your mojo back after baby. I have read hundreds of your letters, and each one I read touches me in a very personal way. I’m no expert, not by a long shot, but what I have learned over the last 10 years of parenting is knowledge that I am happy to share. This community is a wondrous thing, and as much as I *hope* I’ve been able to help you, please know that you all have helped me just as much.

So it is with all my love that I write you today, to very sincerely ask: WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK, YOU GUYS?! Like, what is happening right now?! How…what…why? In the span of about three weeks, life as we know it has changed so drastically that I’m genuinely having a hard time processing everything. Schools are closed. Businesses are closing. People everywhere, so many people it hurts my heart, are losing their jobs and their income and their sense of security. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are sick, and thousands have lost their lives. And, at least in the US, we’re still in the early days of this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, so things are likely going to get worse before they get better. Millions of people in the US, in our country’s bustling and vibrant cities, are under shelter in place orders—we literally cannot leave our homes unless it’s for an “essential” reason. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am completely down with the safe at home movement. In order to flatten the curve, we all need to do our part, and I am more than happy to oblige. But G_D, two weeks ago both my kids were in school and we moved about without a care in the world. Two. Weeks. It seems like another world…and I guess in many ways, it is. 

I’ll be honest with you, friends. I’m having a real hard time. It’s just a lot to handle, all at once. Job loss. Homeschooling. Fear of getting sick. Fear of your friends or family or loved ones getting sick. Being stuck at home all the time. I’ll be having a pretty good day (I measure how well a day goes by how many times someone in my house cries, and good is less than four), and then suddenly everything feels impossible. It feels like too much. 

I consider myself a strong person but I am bowed under the weight of all this. And I know I am not alone! Which is one of the reasons I’m writing this to you all. Because I hear it in the voices of my friends. I see it in the faces of my colleagues during Zoom calls. I see it in myself, my people, my girls. The weight of life right now, bearing down on us all. The resiliency of the human spirit is being tested right now and to be honest, most of the time I’m not sure it’s a test. 

I keep watching the news, hoping for something, ANYTHING, to move in a better direction. I can’t stop absorbing all the horrible stories and statistics and pictures and pleas for help. It’s like a penance I feel obligated to pay, for having the privilege of being healthy and employed and managing this all (moderately) well. If you’re feeling the same, I’m saving you a seat next to me on my virtual sofa.

But I’m also writing to you all for another reason. One of the myriad of emotions I’m feeling about all of this is guilt. Guilt over complaining about (comparatively) stupid stuff. Guilt over losing my patience with my kids, because they’re dealing with all of this too! Guilt over being able to go out and buy a few weeks of groceries at a time, when others are having to make trips only when their bank accounts allow. Guilt over laughing at COVID-19 memes (I’M SORRY), or spending two hours zoned out on the couch watching trash TV. I feel an immense amount of guilt over the ease with which our home was able to transition to homeschool and working from home, since it was already so close to our regular life. I feel like such an a**hole complaining about my girls bickering over markers or having to cook so much and do so many dishes. 

But you know what I’m finally coming to terms with? It’s OK to complain about this shit. Being annoyed by the messes your kids make doesn’t mean you don’t care about bigger, more important things. It doesn’t mean that you’re not aware of how lucky you are, and how bad other people have it right now. It just means that it’s ANNOYING AF when your kid changes their clothes 11 times for homeschool. It means that it’s ANNOYING AF when you pick up the same toys 10183743 times a day. It means it’s ANNOYING AF when your youngest throws a tantrum at dinner. It means that it’s ANNOYING AF when your partner comes home and wants to have family game night after you’ve spent the last 14 hours covered in kids. We need to be able to vent about this stuff, or else it’ll eat us alive. Nothing about what is happening is normal or easy, and it’s OK to hate it and want to scream at the sky. 

So give it to me, friends. Unload your grievances! Get them off your chest in a safe space, without judgement. Would you give your left pinky toe for a night out with your girlfriends? Are you half assing your way through homeschool because you literally cannot deal with trying to get it all done? Does the sound of your partner’s or kids’ voices at the end of the day make you want to crawl out of your own skin? What’s your gripe? What’s your completely meaningless, inconsequential complaint about life right now? Nothing is too big or small. We’re in this together, for better or worse. We all need a safe space, so let us be yours. We’re bringing our community together to laugh, cry, vent, and learn all in one (digital) place—our new Is This Normal (and btw, it’s absolutely not!) Facebook Group. Get it off your chest. I promise you, you’ll feel so much better. 

None of This Is Normal But We’re Doing It Anyway,

Is This Normal