It was the breaking point that I knew was coming. I just knew it.
I needed to get out of the house for a change of scenery, so I decided to take my three-year-old son for a drive, hoping that we would come across a spot we could explore outside while socially distancing. I wanted to find something close by, just a quick trip to mix up our new quarantined normal.
No such luck.
As we drove along, my kiddo noticed all of his favorite places were either closed or blocked off with yellow tape, discouraging anyone from entering. As we passed favorite place after favorite place, he grew more and more upset, finally reaching his own boiling point.
“Mama!” he yelled from the backseat. “We can still go there! See? We can just crawl under the tape!”
Finally, after listening to versions of his reasoning for what felt like an eternity, I’d had enough. I turned the car around and we headed home. Our excursion was over.
As soon as we reached our house, my three-year-old hurried inside, presumably on a mission to tell his dad and baby brother about the many disappointments of our trip. Instead of following him, I stepped into our backyard and plopped down on a deck chair.
And I cried. I cried a lot.
I cried for the millions of people who are sick and struggling with COVID-19. I cried for the thousands of people who have lost their lives because of it. I cried for the millions of people who have lost their jobs, members of my own family included. I cried for the grandparents who can’t hold their newborn grandchildren right now. I cried for the people on the frontlines of this battle and putting their own lives at risk, while missing moments with their loved ones.
And I cried because my three-year-old was banned from his favorite spots and because I didn’t have a clue about how to explain that to him.
When I finally dried my eyes, I started feeling silly. Should I really be acting like this? After all, my family was still healthy! Did I have any right to cry?
The short answer to my question? Yes. Yes, I absolutely did.
I’m here to remind you that it IS okay to cry. It’s okay to get insanely angry. It’s okay to break down for a moment or a minute or an hour or however long you need to be able to face the world again.
And don’t feel bad about that for one second.
We’re moms. We are strong and resilient and we would do anything for our families. We know we need to put on a brave face during this time and be strong for our kids, but it’s essential that we also take the time to do what we need to do for ourselves to cope.
So, I’m reminding you to not forget to take care of YOU during this crazy time. To not forget to do what you need to do in order to survive this.
I’m reminding you that it’s okay to reach for that COVID-19 inspired cocktail. It’s okay to binge watch your favorite TV shows. It’s okay to reach out and ask for help when you need it. It’s okay to feel like you’re cooped up and going crazy and have no idea what to do next with your kids. And it’s okay to cry uncontrollably in your backyard for a few minutes if that’s what you need to do.
It’s okay, and necessary, to breathe.
We are all in this together – even though we are separated by our homes and 6 feet of distance, and gloves and masks. You are not alone.