A mom of five is showing the reality of being a parent during the coronavirus pandemic and parents everywhere are relating to the chaos.

By Lynn Smith
May 28, 2020
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With one single post Regan Long became every mom, dad, and caretaker during these insane times of COVID-19. The mother of five has had enough and wasn’t afraid to let everyone know just how hard it is to function in what she calls the “unfunctionable.”

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Her Facebook post quickly racked up thousands of likes and shares because, well, she is all of us when she wrote: “This just isn’t normal. Any of it. We’re not supposed to be able to turn to our manuals of ‘living through a global pandemic and total, utter chaos’ and just snap our fingers and handle this all with grace. It’s impossible. So for those who are looking for their white flags to raise and shake ferociously high in the air, you’re not alone.”

Long, who admitted to breaking down to one of her kid’s teachers, went on to write that “it’s OK to not love this time and feel OK or good about it in every hour of every day,” and explained that she’s taking it “one day at a time and focusing on surviving the next hour.” She ended the post by saying, “We’re freaking rockstars … every single one of us.”

What was Long’s breaking point that led her to write this post? “It was just the consecutive weeks of the same thing over and over and it was an extra stressful morning and I literally broke down to the teacher,” she told me during an interview on HLN’s Morning Express. “My kids saw me at a breaking point, and it was crazy.”

In addition to being a best-selling author and founder of The Real Deal Parenting, Long has a dual certification as a teacher and taught for 10 years, but she said that doesn’t make her more capable of handling all of this. “If anyone is equipped to do this it should be me and I'm sinking. I could manage a classroom of 20 fifth graders better than my own home,” she said. “It’s hard to compartmentalize. I’m nursing the baby; the oldest needs help on her math … my alarm is going off for a Google meet; this kid has a Zoom; someone needs lunch.” At the same time, she said, parents are worrying about health and safety, as well as whether or not there is enough food and toilet paper in the house. “It’s hard to manage it all,” she added.

Truth is, it’s been nearly three months and this quarantine is breaking us. It’s time to think about our mental health and how we want to live in this new reality. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found nearly half of Americans feel this pandemic is negatively impacting their mental health. It’s also wreaking havoc on some children’s physical health. A new study found more than one in five households in the United States reported food insecurity as a result of this pandemic.

Despite all the negative effects, it's important to still be responsible and listen to expert advice. Don't go to a sold-out pool party like what happened in Ozarks, Missouri. Those party-goers are now being told to self-quarantine while local health officials issued a travel advisory for the safety of this entire community.

If we don’t re-enter society responsibly by practicing safe social distancing, wearing a mask when appropriate, and avoiding large gatherings, we could be right back where we started—in lockdown. But we need to get back to whatever the new normal will be or the number of children who will starve, the number of families unable to make ends meet will increase, and the rate of people taking their own lives could be greater than our current death toll from COVID-19.

Lynn Smith is the host of HLN's On The Story, which airs 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET.

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