Turn And Face The Strange

Most of the time I come into your email box with helpful suggestions to deepen your self-care practice or new ways to find time and space for yourself, and otherwise nice notes from your massage therapist. Since I started writing this blog, I have considered all the ways my friends’ work and home lives (and all their stressors) might look like yours, and translate my advice to them to fit a wider audience. But when it comes to the unique experience of parenting amid the coronavirus, I find myself at a loss. I am not a mother yet, but the acts of heroism and sacrifice I have seen out of my mom’s friends have inspired in me a sense of hope for what comes next, and some curiosity about how they are making all of this work. Parents always walk the tight rope, but right now you are doing it while spinning plates.

And usually, while you are walking the tight rope, there are little vacations. Treating yourself to a day at the spa while your children are at school or daycare, grabbing lunch with a friend, yoga classes. But very few of these respites are available to us right now, and even if you are able to squeeze into a fitness class, if you or a family member is immunocompromised it might not be safe to decompress with others indoors. And I say all this not to twist the knife, but because I think it’s important to have our circumstances witnessed. Just like when your kid falls off their bike and scrapes a knee, they need you to look at it, remark on how much it must hurt, and help bandage it. In my amateur opinion, I don’t think we outgrow that need, we simply suppress it to trick others into thinking we have it all together. During a time of mass grief and huge losses, it is important to also witness and acknowledge the grief we might be feeling for the small losses- loss of the comfort of predictability, or loss of the mental space we used to have for ourselves that has been repurposed for halfway homeschooling your kids. Everyone has had to temporarily relinquish some freedoms and cancel some plans, and parents are pulling double duty in this department. The last thing I want for anyone, but especially the moms and dads of today, is for you to feel like you have to suck it up right now. Today’s parents are already doing the impossible, so resist the urge to beat yourself up for not being at your best or crying a few tears of frustration in your car or at night before bed. No one has the playbook. Your mother and father could never have prepared you for this parenting journey, and all advice is well-intentioned but does not come from a divine source of information. So when this passes as it must, and there’s finally is no fresh hell that awaits you every morning, we will be ready to help bring all the pandemic parents back to sanity.

– Colleen, Sacred Massage Therapist, Staff Writer