Friday, April 3, 2020

The Weight of the World

Wow.  What a world we live in.  Who would have suspected four weeks ago when I was celebrating my 35th birthday that I'd be almost four-weeks into quarantine with my five three-year-olds, our very patient Thai au pair (and friend), my husband, and our ten-year-old "white dog" as my son would call her (aka Ellie).

I'll be honest with you.  I battle anxiety.  I've battled it for years now.  It's like when the possibility of something bad arises, I immediately go to the place of it happening and bury myself in that worry, sadness, and fear.  This is something that's hard to manage as any individual, but it's even harder when you have five three-year-olds running around you, defying you, bringing new meaning to the word tantrum, all while pleading for your attention, needing your love and reassurance.

And, of course, all of this is happening while you're not even sure things are ok yourself. 

Beyond the help of our amazing au pair, who's been calm and collected through all of this, I knew I needed more help.  I talked with my doctor and my Christian counselor and we made some changes.  We decided I'd no longer watch the news.  It wasn't helping, and I would make a treatment plan for Luke.

You see, our son Luke gets febrile seizures, so if he catches the virus and has a fever we can't control, he may seize.  We have emergency medicine but it doesn't always work, which means we have to rush to the hopsital.  The idea of putting him (and Michael and me) in that setting scared me for our sake--and for our girls.  So, I created a "go bag" for Michael who will be the parent in charge of Luke as I stay with the girls. I also talked with Luke's doctor who gave me specific instructions on when (and when not) to bring him to the hospital.  With these small tweaks, my anxiety is receding.  

Granted, I'm still afraid.  And I'm still overwhelmed.  Oh, and both my husband and I are trying to work from home--full time.  My friend Ellen said it best the other day:

The thing I did not fully appreciate about being forced to work at home with 2 children under the age of 3 was the immense increase in stress, anxiety, and mom guilt. I knew it would be hard to keep a routine as a dual-income household, whose children know nothing else but that mommy and daddy go to work and they go to “school” every day. What I failed to appreciate was that now my children see me make the decision to stop playing with them to go into my bedroom/office to work each day as they play/learn in the other room or to take a work call while they are right in front of me eating lunch or playing. They don’t understand those boundaries because, well they shouldn’t have to, and they are far too young to understand why. And while I’m sure my kids are too young to be truly impacted by it, it breaks my heart into a thousand pieces. While I would much rather play with them all day, I have to provide for my family. And that stress on top of worrying about loved ones potentially getting this damn virus is honestly too much sometimes.

Ellen is right.  The guilt is real.  The sadness is real.  But so are the bills.  And so is the fear of providing for five kids who desperately want to go to church, CostCo, the library, music class, gymnastics, and all of the other fun places we go.  So, I've had to get creative.  We've gone to the creek.  We've made Fruit Loop Jewelry.  We've had pre-Easter egg hunts.  We've done everything this under-achieving Pinterest mama could manage.

So what keep's me going?  Well, my faith the God knew this was coming and He knows how it will end.  He was the God before the Earth (and COVID) were formed and He will be the God in the end.

And what else?

The love.  The love keeps me coming back.  These kiddos, depsite the three-year-old wicked crazy tantrums have so much love.  

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