Moms Are Doing Whatever It Takes to Get Alone Time These Days, So Give It to Them This Mother's Day
Before I became a mom almost two years ago, I remember hearing about a friend's dream Mother's Day. All she asked of her husband and kids was to give her 24 hours free. Free of cooking, laundry, work—and free of them. I didn't get it; what was the point of celebrating Mother's Day without the people who had made you a mother in the first place? Fast-forward to 2020, weeks into staying at home with the fam during the COVID-19 pandemic and, well, my tune has changed.
Don't get me wrong—I love my husband and 20-month-old son more than anything. Being a mom completely changed me, and I wouldn't trade a thing about it. But with indefinite stay-at-home orders in New Jersey where we live, Mama needs a minute.
And I get it, I really do. We need to stay home and the number of cases needs to decrease drastically, but coronavirus quarantine fatigue is real. Businesses are shut down, millions of people are filing for unemployment, parents are playing teacher while continuing to work full-time, and families are isolating from everyone else. The future is unknown and anxiety is on the rise. Now more then ever, a mental health check is necessary and, for many moms who are carrying an even bigger load than usual, time away from it all could be a temporary answer.
It's funny, the first time my toddler followed me into the bathroom, I thought it was adorable. I liked being needed—I still do. But after nearly two months of battling toilet paper away from my son or hearing him scream outside the door while I try to pee in peace, I wouldn't mind some alone time. In fact, I've been taking long showers at the end of each day because it's the one place I can have some space away from everyone and everything. Other friends have confided that a run during nap time or a trip to the store sans kids (yes, wearing a mask and gloves) is the only thing getting them through.
For the most part, I'm lucky that my son is so young and doesn't know what's going on and that I have the help of a partner. I don't have to worry about homeschooling while also splitting the workday and child care with my husband, but we are navigating this "new normal" life with a toddler who just wants to go to the playground, see his friends from daycare, and drink more unsweetened almond milk than I can even get my hands on. I wake up every day just hoping for good weather so we can take our daily walk around the block, because a rainy day means extra tantrums, screen time, and snacks, and then my already extraordinary mom guilt feels so heavy it's hard to breathe. Am I doing any of this right? Why don't I have more energy to put together some Pinterest-worthy projects for him? Will any of this affect him later in life?
I know that my situation is not unique and I've got it easy compared to others. I can't even imagine what it's like for the moms who are doing it all with more than one kid, hoping they have enough money to cover the next grocery run, trying to figure out how to make virtual learning work for their children, are worried because someone in their family is considered high-risk or are essential workers leaving the house every day. You are all heroes in my book, but I know all moms deserve love and recognition on Mother's Day and, well, every other day.
A recent Spotify survey shared with Romper confirms it: Moms crave alone time during quarantine. Self-care for 30 percent of moms was taking a long walk solo, and 34 percent reported that "they've driven around with no kids in tow and no destination in mind while listening to their favorite music to get a moment to themselves." More than half of the 3,000 moms surveyed "said they have used music in the past month as a means of escaping and tuning out their families."
In a very formal poll of my own (just kidding, I asked some friends on Facebook), an overwhelming majority of moms echoed the need for a break. One mom wants "to not parent for a least half a day," another is hoping for "someone to clean the house and do the laundry," and another just wants "one day for myself." More than one mom replied that they'd like a day free from laundry, cleaning, and work to watch their favorite TV show alone. It seems like such an easy ask but for many burned-out moms, that dream won't come true.
And trust me, we moms also want a day where we can celebrate as a big group, hug and kiss grandma, and bring flowers to an aunt, but while things are the way they are, why not give Mom a much-needed break this Mother's Day? She needs it more than you know.