Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: Motherhood in a Pandemic

Yesterday, while working at my desk, my eyes strayed from the computer to enjoy a brief look outside my window. My home was quiet. No sound of laughter, no cries, no little human holding my face in her pudgy hands while planting kisses all over.

It was my younger daughter’s first day at a great neighborhood day care center, where she will attend three days a week. As much as it pained me to hear her cry, I kissed and hugged her goodbye. I love having her at home, but I was getting to my breaking point. It was all just too much.

When I was first given the news she was accepted, I felt a wave of regret, like “What have I done?” Maybe I made the wrong decision. The self-doubt hit me like a ton of bricks. I instantly hugged my daughter, who for several weeks had been talking about going to school. She missed her old school terribly, and she was sad every time we dropped off her sister to school.

I wanted to call the school back to say, “I think I made a mistake,” but I simply held on to my little one. I hugged her and felt my heart snap like a crispy florentine by one of the contestants from The Great British Bake Off. If only it was followed by a dripping topping of mango coulis, would it capture what followed. Tears.

Enjoying a break from work while making silly faces.

At that moment, the universe reminded me that I gave birth to one of the sweetest little humans. She hugged me right back and said, “Mommy, don’t cry. I going to be okay,” in her sweetest three year old voice. Add that to her tiny arms wrapped around me, and her little soft hands patting my back. She had the power to erase a tsunami of life’s problems.

I knew I would be okay, but having been home since March has made it very difficult to let go of her. I know for sure that having her home with me made it easier to let her sister go off to pre-k during these uncertain times. She made all of it easier. And now, after weeks of telling me how she misses her sister and school, I gave in and decided to let her go.

I hated to admit it, but after dropping her off, at first I felt okay. I almost felt like I should be a little sadder after hearing her cries for me, but I knew that she was in good hands.

Guilt, that unnecessary emotion, reared its ugly head, and I was starting to question everything. Am I doing this right? Should my girls be at school? Should I be taking my children out to the playground everyday? Should they be in school part time? Should I still have the occasional play date?

Unfortunately, this is what COVID-19 has done to many parents. It has turned us into indecisive, fumbling messes, and if this is where you are at this point, I understand. I had to stop my brain from running amuck and remind myself that my children are happy and healthy.

As mothers in this time, so much responsibility has been placed on us to get things right. Some are having to defend their decisions whether it is full time remote learning, or hybrid learning. Let’s each trust that we have all made the right decisions for our families, our children and our sanity.

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