How fortunate my family is to have a great community of friends and family who contributed to my mental health in the last weeks when I posted I Have Lied to You. I received phone calls, comments, and texts to share that I was not alone, that these feelings were common for every mom, and that these feelings were only temporary. These past few weeks have taught me that isolation is the enemy and community is however you make it.
There’s a common trend during the Coronavirus of 2020 that many of us feel like we are so very alone. And the demands of both children and work at home are disproportionately affecting women (sources: NPR & CBS Sunday Morning). It’s a trend that women felt acutely and almost immediately. It’s just taking the rest of the world to listen to moms screaming out in frustration for help.
As I am learning, these feelings among mothers are not new. Covid has only made the inequities more blatantly obvious with the numbers of women leaving the workspace at a ratio of 4:1 to their father counterparts. That’s garbage.
In regards to this being nothing new? Women have been creating communities of motherhood since the dawn of time:
- It takes a village
- Church groups
- Mommy groups on social media
- Mommy exercise groups like Stroller Strides
- Mommies reaching out to other Mommies to pass on toys/clothes/stuff their baby has outgrown
I felt like I had absolutely nobody in my Mommy circle. Covid made it so:
- I was not going to church
- I couldn’t see my friends and family like I normally would
- I didn’t search for any local or community-oriented groups
- I didn’t use the resources I potentially had around me
Thank you to the Mommies who reached out to me in my isolation. Thank you to the Mommies who DM’d me, who commented on my posts, who texted me, or even the Mommies who read my thoughts and say to themselves ‘yep, I’ve been there, Mama.’ You don’t need to reach out to me to be a part of our Mommy Community. Just hearing me by reading these posts in enough.
Here’s a sample of the kind of response I received from Mommies just like us:
See? I’m still a Mama. I can even still be a good Mama while not feeling joy and even hating the crap parts of motherhood. The total realness of “it really doesn’t get easier” actually allows me to stop trying to make fetch happen. Stop trying to make it easier on myself. Stop looking for the ways to “process improve” motherhood. Some phases of Ellie’s life will feel like ‘rainbows and unicorns’ and some won’t because all of us Mommies are different.
Isolation. There’s a great interpretation of the Bible creation stories by John Milton in Book 8 of Paradise Lost. He looks at how many times God says “and it was good” and focuses on the first time God says something is not good.
God said, “it is not good for Man to be alone.”
So after all that good stuff that God creates and says, “yeah, that was gooooooood,” God sees that he has created that Adam guy and says, “eine Minute Bitte. This Adam dude needs others. Being alone is NOT good.”
Therefore, isolation has as much significance to our Christian mythology as Pandora’s Hope has to Greek mythology. There is something intrinsic to our humanity in our quest to interpret our feelings while in isolation and our feelings of hope. Enough to create entire stories around those feelings.
Nothing lasts. “/Everything is only for now/” says the finale of Avenue Q. This can be a sad realization (such as in last week’s Babies Don’t Keep poem). This can also be a “when you’re going through hell, keep going” version of the Winston Churchill quote. Just because things suck right now, they won’t stay this way – like it or not.
We aren’t alone. We never have been. I think it’s easy to forget that we aren’t alone while working at Motherhood. I think it’s almost impossible to remember while in lockdown from Covid-19. I don’t think that makes us unique. With new babies, there is a tendency to cocoon to try to figure things out. That’s normal, but there is a bad side to it. We start to feel like we are the only ones who hate parts of parenthood. We don’t talk about it (like infertility or loss or other taboo topics).
Therefore, it is imperative that we spend our time seeking community, creating community, fighting our isolation both now and beyond the world-changing virus of 2020. Thank you for those of you helping me and my family within this created Mommy Community.