“Honey, please, mommy is busy right now!”
“PLEASE go tell your dad to keep his conversation down.
“Can you PLEASE give me a moment of peace right now?”
“Mommy is trying to work, please be quiet.”
In the last 11 months I've seen mothers trying to work from home while simultaneously taking care of their families. I've attended many zoom calls and heard frustrated, stretched-too-thin, tired mothers say one of these phrases while their speaker was unmuted. Of course, it wasn't intended. In most cases, the (zoom) room didn't bat an eye. I've always felt deep empathy in those situations because I could relate 100% ... until it happened to me.
The other day I overbooked my morning which left me feeling rushed, stressed out and overwhelmed. I had too much to do and only 40 minutes until I had to pick up my younger son from daycare. I sent the last email, wrapped up the final call and logged into a virtual event I've been looking forward to all week. Not more than two minutes went by and I ended up telling my 7 year old in a not-so-nice voice,“Honey, for the millionth time, I'm busy!" while unmuted during the zoom call. Luckily, my camera was turned off. First, I burst into tears, then I left the meeting. Why was I being so hard on myself? Why did this small incident provoke an avalanche of feelings?
A few hours later I wrote this piece.
My first instinct was to write it all down and share with my online community for selfish reasons. I felt embarrassed and ashamed of my inability to remain calm and patient as a mom in that moment. I felt like I needed to provide context as to WHY I lost my cool with my kid while trying to attend an online event. After I had a chance to process my feelings, I realized that the only person I owned an explanation to was my son. I knew the moms on that zoom call didn’t even bat an eyelash because they’ve all been me -- yesterday, last week, last month. They’ve been trying to work from home throughout this pandemic, as though they had no kids zoom-learning in the next room or across the table from them, for almost a year now.
The last few months brought a series of articles in major publications such as this one and this one on how women are leaving the workforce and how mothers all over are losing it, literally. In my community, we talk so much about moms feeling overworked and burned out due to the demands of work and life in a pandemic with little support available, but not much is actually being done about it. I want to change that.
But, honestly, what can WE do? Where do we start advocating and making our voices heard? How do we heal from here? I’m genuinely asking, what can WE do as women and moms to make our voices heard? I'm starting to collect actionable tips and will share what I've learned. Will you join me on this fight? We deserve better, mamas.
Image credit: Tom Werner/Digital Vision/Getty Images (https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/10/02/919517914/enough-already-multiple-demands-causing-women-to-abandon-workforce)