Balancing Being Mom in the Age of Coronavirus * CoveyClub

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Balancing Being Mom in the Age of Coronavirus

We never dreamed we'd have to manage even more. Here's to all the ways we're making it work

by Mimi Janian Lawless

So this is what a tightrope walker feels like: teetering one minute, garnering courage to stride forward the next, only to lose your balance, then pull yourself upright to attempt the next step with renewed tenacity.

Much of this new (for now) normal is about equilibrium, finding the harmony of remaining calm while arming yourself with as much information as you can.

Yes, of course I want to stay safe and best protect my family. I also want to recognize that there is joy out there amidst the sorrow.

Social media exemplifies the full range of emotion. You have people who are eager to share their faith…their furor…their fear. Those who blame (the Chinese, the President, an angry God)…those who cry foul (shaming the selfish neighbor who stockpiled Lysol wipes), but you also have those who in the midst of it all remind us that this too shall pass. They cannot tell us when or provide the cure, but in their own way they give us hope.

Not wanting to dismiss the daily suffering around us, it is valuable to appreciate some elements of humor that this current situation brings. Just when you think you’ve read the last, another toilet paper joke appears in your inbox. Perhaps you, too, have grown weary of bingeing tales and big belly memes. On a personal note, I can report that my refrigerator successfully lost 5 lbs last week alone.

One thing that we can all agree on is that through this ordeal, keeping in touch with friends and family has never been more meaningful. How fortunate we are to chat, text or FaceTime whenever we like. Hearing my sons’ and daughter’s voices brings me comfort and joy. Spending time with my husband is a gift.

Last Sunday, we spoke with my husband Rick’s daughter Anna, who is a teacher in Italy. Like her compatriots, she and her family have been housebound since last month, forbidden to leave their homes for more than a few minutes each day. For the past several weeks, she has been instructing her students via video conference. Class ‘meets’ on a Zoom-like platform from where she and the kids can interact from squares all around her screen. Think opening credits of The Brady Bunch with 20 Italian Marcias, Jans and Gregs.

When grading tests recently, Anna discovered that oddly, many of her less than average pupils were turning in A+ work instead of their usual C’s and D’s.  She shared this discovery with a colleague who noticed the up-trend as well. They both agreed that something seemed amiss. As state-wide exams approached, the other teacher decided to test her suspicions by switching from written assignments to ‘one on one’ oral quizzes. No group settings, just the teacher and her student, faccia a faccia.

One day, the professoressa was quizzing (let’s call him) ‘Gianni,’ a notorious trouble-making, mediocre student. As she was waiting for the boy to respond, the teacher noticed some movement — a blur of sorts creeping along the lower right hand corner of her laptop.

At last the teacher understood and yelled, ‘Eh! Signora Rossi! Stop right there. You do know that I can see you, right?’

There was Gianni’s mamma, caught coaching and crouching beneath the dining room table. Instead of hovering and helicoptering, this mother stalked from below, waiting to intercept while attempting to stay under the radar.

She was, in fact, a classic ‘Submarine Mom.’

Most of my pals chuckled when they heard this story, probably because our kids were all launched. One friend who did not find the tale amusing is currently sheltering in place with her husband and their three teenage boys. She never dreamed of having to manage her family’s business while being in charge of  daily cooking, nonstop housekeeping and overseeing distance learning in her home.

Imagining myself in her shoes made me shudder. If ever I had to homeschool my children, I’d be graded an ‘F’ and invited to take early retirement.

Read more of Mimi’s writing on her blog Just So Mimi.

  1. Adriana Gluski

    Wonderful article Mimi! Love your sensitivity, wit and humor!!

    Stay healthy and with your warm heart!
    Adriana

  2. Susan Dyes

    You are the best tightrope walker I know and you accomplish this with such grace and humor. Thanks for brightening our day, Marvelous Mimi, in the midst of this coronavirus.

  3. Julie Raffensperger

    Always a delight to read a short, clever post by beautiful Mimi. The bright sun has come from behind the clouds on another home bound Coronas Monday. This fun view of “motherhood under corona times” equally brighten my day and are thankful not to homeschooling anyone. Grazie!

  4. Nell Taylor

    What a wonderful analogy being a tightrope walker! Mimi has knocked it out of the ballpark with this wonderful article. I love her sense of humor and her candidness. She embodies how a lot of us are feeling, which gives me peace of mind in this tumultuous time.

  5. Jenn Mastran

    Love your humor and I can hear your sweet gentle voice saying all this! I love your honesty and outlook! Thank you for this!

  6. Cousin Jin

    Meem, you are the best tightrope walker I know, and I’m sure you are rising to the occasion as we speak, balancing everyone’s needs gracefully and lovingly (and possibly with the aid of alcohol). I love Anna’s story, really, priceless! Stay strong & healthy & keep ’em coming. xo

  7. Sandra Maddock

    Dear Mimi,

    As always, your beautiful phrasing, coupled with thoughtful and positive insights, give me something to dwell on. I loved what you wrote; Keep blogging!

    Sandra

  8. Marlene Veloz

    Always enjoy Mimi’s unique and uplifting perspective, especially during these challenging times. Thank you!

  9. Linda Johnston

    “So all we could do was to Sit! Sit! Sit! And we did not like it. Not one little bit.”
    Dr. Seuss

    Please keep writing Mimi to help keep us connected and entertained while we all sit at home!

  10. Liz Cary Blum

    So wonderful to read this – a nice break from this difficult time. Stay well, Mimi and family. I will look forward to your next post! (Hopefully soon!)

    💜💜💜
    Liz

  11. Jeanie Thomas

    Thanks for helping us navigate the highs and lows of these challenging times with perspective and a smile. The world needs more Mimi!!

  12. Lisa Olson

    Thank you Mimi for putting into words what I have been feeling! Thank you too for the laugh – I love Anna’s story!

  13. Susan Dickson

    As always, Mimi, you write with great insight and feeling. You have a magical way with words that always delight, entertain, and make one think. Come away with lots of ponder and consider. Looking forward to more! Love, Suzzi

  14. Jean Cox

    It’s always wonderful Mimi with
    wisdom and wit! Thank you for sharing both. ❤️❤️❤️

  15. Lori

    Mimi’s wit is so honest. She has a way of elegantly sneaking in humor when you least expect it!
    Thanks for the chuckles and please send more soon.

  16. Yvette Zarookian

    Thanks for such a beautiful and humerus article! Loved it!
    Please stay safe, healthy and write more wonderful stories 💕😘

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