Hi Parents! How are you?
Well, after a couple months of remote learning, working from home with no child care, a summer in which travel was largely prohibited, and now facing a very uncertain return to school – maybe, maybe not – I think I can probably come up with a few possible answers to that “How are you?” question.
Your answer might be:
Not just “I need a nap tired,” but a hard-core, down-in-your-soul kind of tired. Tired from not having a single minute to yourself in the past four months. Tired of questions you can’t answer. Tired of entertaining kids, cooking dinner, making decisions. Tired of social media and news that never seems positive. Just tired. Really, really tired.
Kids. Work. Extended family. School or not school/ daycare or not daycare. Cooking dinner or getting take out? Is it safe to go to the pool? The store? The beach? Personally, I’m not sure my brain can’t really handle much more and I’m betting a lot of you feel the same.
Is it safe to send the kids back to school/daycare? If I don’t, how will I work? If I do, what does that look like? Maybe you are worried about the security of your own job or family finances that have been affected. Perhaps you are concerned about the health of extended family members. There is no shortage of things to worry about these days.
Look, I love my family – my husband and three daughters. I really, really do. I am grateful for the gift of all this time we got to spend together (especially since my oldest heads to college in a couple weeks!). However, since mid-March, conversations with anyone other than the people in my house have been few and far between – and often separated by a computer screen. I miss people. I miss smiling at people in the grocery store (because they can’t see my smile behind my mask), hearing my teenagers laugh with their friends, and catching up with co-workers by the Keurig in the Welcome Center. The world within the walls of my house seems to be closing in on me some days.
It’s A LOT.
Those are just four possible answers. I’m sure you have others. Bottom line – it’s A LOT. It has been a lot for four months now and there is no predictable end in sight. On top of it all, many of our usual stress relievers, like gathering with friends, attending Bible study, or getting away for a vacation have all been taken away or drastically changed.
I wish I had a magic mantra I could offer, the perfect scripture passage, an all-encompassing prayer– something you could say out loud that would make all the stress and worry just fade away. Sadly, I don’t, and I’m pretty sure there isn’t one single perfect phrase. Each day is different. Each parent and family is different. We are facing different challenges and finding different ways to cope. Plus, I don’t think a one-time fix would be enough anyway. As we muddle along through whatever the future holds, we are going to need a mantra – or two, or ten – on repeat.
A simple prayer
It will be a simple prayer accompanied by a Bible verse. Maybe it will speak to you and offer some comfort and reassurance. If it does, wonderful! Read it and repeat it often. Share it. Say it out loud with a deep breath. If it doesn’t speak to you, save it for later when maybe it will and share it with others who might relate. Leave a comment to let other parents know you are praying for them.
If you have specific things you would like us to offer a prayer for, send me your requests.
About the only thing I know for certain these days is that God is on this journey with us, sharing the burden of our anxiousness. He hears our prayers and grants a peace that only He can give. While we may not be together physically, we can still offer each other support and love – just as we are called to do as the body of Christ.
Chin up, parents! We will get through! I’m praying for all of you, and I hope you will join me in praying for each other, too.