Over the next few days, we will be sharing stories from the Brown Mamas’ community about how moms black moms are coping during COVID-19. Follow us with the #SheQuarantines or #BrownMamas.

by Leah Walker

Every day I awake with an anxious and uneasy feeling about what I NEED to accomplish. The laundry NEEDS to be finished, the yard NEEDS cleaned up, I HAVE to make three well balanced meals for these kids, the boys NEED momcuts, the dog NEEDS groomed, I NEED to make a half dozen calls. It’s like a 500 lb weight sitting on my chest.

No wonder why I’ve been lingering in the bed a little longer each morning. I have been thanking God that if only one good thing has come out of this Pandemic, it’s that my kids have been sleeping in later and waking on level 5 instead of level 10. Hey, small victories right?

When I begrudgingly move through the morning routine, I can tell my stank attitude is understood and  well received by my children. We are supposed to be happily homeschooling, yet there ain’t nothing happy happening here.

Meltdowns are occurring more frequently. This is something that pre-Corona, had fizzled down to rarely. Avoidance has definitely been on the rise as is the “Let me outmean you” amongst my kids. I know siblings disagree. They fight and argue.

But I was raised an only child so I romanticize sibling relationships often. In my mind, siblings are supposed to be close. Like Nettie and Celie. “Me and you must never part” is what I envision. But “You get on my nerves, I hate you, Your ideas suck, I feel like punching you in the mouth and YOU ARE NOT MY BROTHER ANYMORE” is my reality.

Those are actually much nicer versions of their tirades. The real version is a gut-punch, pearl clutching run on words I will never repeat because I realize it’s not my story to tell. 

Everything about our new life has been hard for me but there are times you have to look beyond yourself and realize the way other people respond, interpret and react is not personal. My kids don’t hate me.

Despite my thoughts of “These kids is trying to kill me”, they really aren’t. They are trying to process this new normal just like me. Only they don’t have the vocabulary, tools or ability to process anything of this magnitude. Relaxing our routines, lowering my ridiculous expectations and having daily points of focus has made a big difference.

Right now we have three; mental health check, physical health check and a daily realistic task check. I’ve found this to be a primitive yet effective way to get by. I realize because we’ve been here before, that we are in survival mode. At some point that won’t be good enough.

These daily checks are our bridge. Getting us from survival mode to living life to its fullest again. But in the meantime, going to bed with a sink full of dishes after eating popcorn and pancakes, kids sleeping in superhero costumes, eating French fries for breakfast, allowing a day full of mindless YouTube videos may equal a mess for some people, but for me it’s a beautiful mess right now, that will one day be another childhood memory for them.

Click here to read the rest of the stories from the #SheQuarantines series.

Resources for moms during COVID-19:

WideOpenSchool.org can helps moms easily create lesson plans.

Mindfulness journals for kids, BigLife Journals.

Managing your money during COVID19, The Balance.

SheQuarantines

Muffy MendozaAuthor posts

Muffy Mendoza is an author, speaker and founder of Pittsburgh Brown Mamas, a support group for nearly 4,000 African-American moms in the Pittsburgh region. To further fill the void Muffy has created a line of educational products focused on helping Black moms be the best moms, too. Her first book, The Brown Mama Mindset: A Blueprint for Black Moms on Life, Love & Home, was featured at the 2018 Essence Festival and is currently sold in various cities across the U.S. Muffy champions the beauty of Black motherhood everywhere she goes, even on the TEDx stage. Find out more about Muffy on muffymendoza.com.

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