Coping through chaos
“How are you coping through all of this COVID stuff? How are the kids doing? How has it changed things for you?”
That’s something we’ve each been asked at least a handful of times these past few months, right? There’s no denying our worlds have been turned upside down these last few months, our routines and ways of life completely disrupted. It’s been stressful, chaotic, frustrating, annoying, and emotional.. sometimes to varying degrees, and sometimes all at once. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to feel powerless, to feel like this chaos is happening around us, to us, and there isn’t anything we can do about it.
The reality is however, there IS something we can do about it. We may not be able to wish/hope/pray this pandemic away, but we certainly can adapt to the circumstances happening around us and find a way through it.
It’s very easy and tempting to feel like a victim in all of this, like the world is happening around us and we don’t have any control in any of it – but that’s not the truth, or our reality. We can’t ever control the world around us, but we can control our own response to the situations presented to us. We are adaptable and resilient creatures – if we allow ourselves to be. I hear people saying things and posting things on social media about this not being fair, how it’s a political agenda, how it’s not that bad, how bad it is, how people have lost jobs, or family members, how they’re scared, or not scared at all.. it really doesn’t matter your personal viewpoint on this virus or pandemic, what matters is that it’s affecting all of us – albeit in different ways – it’s still happening. So, my thoughts are we can either talk about how much it sucks and we wish this wasn’t happening, wasting our days, months and potentially years here – waiting for it to change, OR we can talk about how much it sucks and we wish this wasn’t happening, but then we can find ways to adapt to the circumstances happening around us. We can’t change what’s happening, but we CAN find ways to deal with it.
I’m a solo mom of three very young children. I long for the days my kids could go to school, or the library, the park, or to dance class, soccer practice.. ANYTHING outside of the house and outside of my presence for just a little bit… but the reality is that it’s just not possible right now. So, instead, we’re finding ways to get through this together. We’re setting up obstacle courses in the house, we’re researching pranks to pull on each other, we’re spending A LOT of time in the woods doing scavenger hunts for rocks and leaves, we’re spending a lot of time on our phones, ipads and computers, because there is no rule book out there for how to raise kids during a worldwide pandemic, and some days I don’t have it in me entertain my kids – so I let TikTok and YouTube do it for me, and I’m at peace with that. I understand I wish it were different, but it’s not, so it’s up to me to make this a good experience for them. I’m not worried about the way things “usually” are – because, what’s happening around us isn’t how things usually are.
I’ve always been very, very real with my children. I don’t shelter them from much - the good, the bad, the ugly or the beautiful.. I want them to see the world so they understand it, I want them to have a wide and realistic view of how things work, how different people believe different things, learn different ways, live different lives. My thoughts are that if I can teach my kids about what’s happening around us, how it’s effecting people around the globe, and have open discussions about hard subjects, if I can raise them to be well-rounded and adaptable to whatever life throws at them, there isn’t anything they won’t be able to handle going forward. World pandemic now, and whatever life throws at them in the future. This is the best gift I can give them as a parent, so that’s how we’re approaching this pandemic – as a brilliant (and frustrating) lesson in life. Some days are harder than others, for me and for them, our own way of life – our international travel and expeditions all having been cancelled this year – our annual pilgrimage to Hawaii to celebrate their dads life having been postponed until who knows when, birthday parties done via webcam, business opportunities crushed, health scares, relationships tried and severed.. these are things not unique to my family, but all of you as well.
I realize my own set of life circumstances these last few years have pushed and stretched my resiliency quotient, and while I miss my old life – both pre-pandemic and pre-having to figure out just how truly resilient I am, I know that all of these obstacles and things that come up in life, only push me further to want to do more, to live each day the best I possibly can, so if and when it ends, I know I did it the best I possibly could.