Have you ever met those people that from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed they are going 100 miles an hour? These people live very chaotic lives, they are always running late, they are loud, and they see everything as an amazing opportunity to live their best life. These are the moms that go from coloring with chalk to painting chalk murals, the moms that go from creeking to bringing home critters or leaving them in the car while you run late to baseball practice. I am one of these people. I am an enneagram type 7, the Enthusiast.
On my off days, I thrive on fully crammed days of exploring the city. We can go from strawberry picking at Blooms and Berries, followed by hiking at the Cincinnati Nature Center, and ending with homemade ice cream at the Milford Ice Cream Parlor. My parents, kids and even my nieces and nephews are used to me being a little extra. LOL
March 15th, everything changed. We went on stay-at-home orders. As a mom, I was already used to carrying the majority of the emotional burden for our family, and now it just escalated. I do not get stressed or overwhelmed by things I cannot change. I really try to roll with it. One of my favorite sayings is by Thomas Rhett, “You can’t soak up the sun if you’ve never been stuck in the storm.” I still go to work as an essential employee, and my husband has started working 75% of the time at home. I try to comfort our 11-year-old as she stresses out daily over homeschooling and completing her assignments perfectly. I try to maintain some sort of structure for my wild 9-year-old mini me. We did the best we could and didn’t worry about the fine print. Although, telling someone not to worry when they are already worried doesn’t always work out.
We are about three months into this new normal, and I am feeling drained. My emotional cup is broken. From the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed, I feel surrounded by negativity, complaining, and sadness. We have been venturing out to go hiking, kayaking, and bike riding with cousins. We have done virtual art classes from McHarper Manor, we have walked the Purple People Bridge, we have biked from 50 West to Milford, we have made cookies from scratch, we have built a nerf gun obstacle course in our backyard, we have done Zoom trivia with friends, and we drove a go-kart through my sister-in-law’s perfectly landscaped yard. The value of family has been the most positive lesson during this time.
Yet, our kids have not seen their school friends, and keeping their head up has been challenging. Their camps are canceled, their summer musical is canceled, and the pool is up in the air. Everything is a “maybe”. They understand why, but as a mom you want to protect them from all the sadness.
My husband wakes up at 5:30 am each day to work in the “home office” (also known as the Lego room). He has duct tape over one laptop, 25 pens that don’t work, and dual screens propped up on our toddler’s old dresser – totally fine. My kids wake up each day wondering what we will do, as they are accustomed to mom’s jammed packed schedule, but they might explode if I say hiking. My coworkers hold their breath as I mention a new project we could work on during our downtime. I have never had downtime; I am not sure what people do during downtime, and I am struggling. I feel like a bad mom if I let my kids practice Tik-Tok dances or watch Netflix all day.
Deep down, I know it’s okay for them to play by themselves and learn to enjoy laying around reading a book, but to me the silence is deafening. My positivity engine is running out of steam, but each day when my feet hit the ground, I drink a large cup of coffee and start fresh. As the weather gets nicer, I have found it helpful to follow along each of the parks’ websites. Discovering a hidden frisbee golf course at Johnson Hills Park and a small fishing rental place at Lake Isabella are on this week’s agenda. I am always looking to hear how other mommas are doing and what school-aged activities have kept your family going. How does your family navigate downtime?