March 2020 I was 8 months into being a stay at home mom to 2 toddlers (my oldest was 2 years old and my youngest was 10 months old.) I was just starting to create my new groove in this roll after we returned to Boston from our Christmas visit 2 months prior. Then insert a pandemic. The world shut down and my husband was working from our master bedroom.
In the beginning of the pandemic I, like everyone else thought this life would only be short-term. Searching for toilet paper is what I thought would be the most difficult thing through it all. But just a 1 month before the shut down, I decided to get off of my anxiety medicine that I started at 10 weeks postpartum with my second child. I was able to manage my anxiety through it all with Essential Oils and prayer (1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.), so at the time, the only difficult thing was the emotions of having to cancel my sons 1st birthday in New Orleans in May 2020. Being able to hide my sadness from my family and only show them my brave face wasn't easy, I mean surviving year 1 with your child should be celebrated because that year is hard. And I wanted to celebrate with family just like any other parent wants to do.
Leaning on God to give me strength through these days to celebrate my son is what made his 1st birthday a little easier, well that and the Zoom call with over 50 family members. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.)
The birthday came and went, time passed, and we moved into the new norm that everyone else also started to figure out as well:
Wearing face mask everywhere (inside and outside).
Hand sanitize after touching anything that is not in your home.
Social distance from humans and anything that breathes.
Stand 6 feet from anyone you visit and do it outside
What strange world we are living in these days, right?
The one thing I learned early on is to not be upset about the change, not to fight the new norm, trust in God and listen to my moms words "This too shall pass." As I worked to balance this new life and find a new strength, I decide to dig deeper into that phrase my mom always tells me during difficult times. Come to find out there is a beautiful bible verse that explains it a little more: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come, 2 Corinthians 5:17. I held on to my mothers words and His words, as they continue to prove to be true. The difficulties of this pandemic are passing as I have accepted this as the 'new norm.'
Even though I have accepted this new norm in life, it still is ok to say it is hard outside of the changes that are in place. Everyones experience in this pandemic is different. Some families have been hit hard with COVID-19, some have lost jobs, some have not seen family in a year.
The last 11 months have been hard on my little family. Lots of canceled trips, canceled visitors and not seeing family for 10 months since the start of the pandemic (we were able to see family for 2 months in that time, which was a huge blessing.)
The hardest part is the major restrictions on outings with the kids (no library, no play dates, no museums, no town toddler events etc.), then throw in a freezing Boston winter, sleep deprivation from 2 toddlers not sleeping, being with each other 24/7, no breaks or days off. I know a lot of this is just part of motherhood, but having few escapes or opportunities for toddlers to interact with other kids their age is hard. And then not being able to see family when I am incredibly close to family just hurts my heart. Through these difficult days I keep reminding myself of Gods word "Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
There have been so many moments in the last year that I have felt:
The stress and pressure that turns into anxiety in random moments of mom things in this new norm
That feeling of anger that I struggled with postpartum has creeped back during conversations with my spouse.
Those tears that run because things fall out of my control when it comes to the kids, or not seeing family.
The years of 2020 and 2021 I am learning to accept is the big speed bump in my life, as it is for so many. I am trying to work to slow down and get over this hump. I am working to grow in motherhood. To be the best wife I can be. To grow and lean into my faith to help my heart feel like its healing after my early years of motherhood has been nothing like I pictured it would be. I am working to not be scared of my struggles, to be open and honest with what is hard, because if I don't do this, I will feed my fears, stresses, anxieties, and emotions. I want to face these with courage to conquer these struggles.
As I sit and type of these struggles I have, I am given strength through words that surround me on the daily:
I can do this. I am a strong mom, a supportive wife, and faithful women.