These Are Not Normal Times


By Brittni Barcase

This story was featured in “My Life During A Pandemic”

No one can prepare you for the loneliness that accompanies motherhood. It can be extremely isolating. One minute you are a single person in the world and the next minute you are expected to keep a teeny tiny human fed and alive— without a user’s guide or manual.

So if you told me I was going to become a mom and just barely start to get my “groove” back, to have everything come to an abrupt halt because of a global pandemic, I would have laughed HARD in your face. To put it in perspective for you, I haven’t stepped foot inside of a store, my office, or anywhere since March 15th, 2020. My office plants, I’m sure, are dead since I haven’t seen them or watered them in ten months. We get our groceries delivered weekly and my “outings” are now drive-thru runs twice a week for a coffee or a large coke and some french-fries (happiness, people).

In many ways, life became simple. The clutter that filled my world melted away and the only things left were my family and my work. I never really wore make-up before the pandemic but now I definitely don’t (unless I have a zoom meeting, of course) and I couldn’t even tell you the last time I put “real” clothes on.

My world shifted, without me, and I had to play catch up to shift along with it. Afterall, John Lennon says that “life is what happens while you are busy making other plans”— and boy, he was right. Life started to happen. And by “life”, I mean COVID.

All of a sudden, I found myself thrown into a stay-at-home-work-from-home mom life, without any help. I watched as my husband pulled down the driveway to go to his in-office job every morning and counted down the hours and minutes until he was pulling back into our driveway to give me some relief. My mental health was rocked. I no longer had “me” time and was feeling like I was burning the candle from both ends.

And that’s how I stayed for a while… until I couldn’t anymore.

We opened our “bubble” and I was finally getting some help with my toddler. About once a week someone else had eyes on him so I didn’t have to work after bedtime every night (sorry for all the 9-11pm emails, coworkers!). I also started seeing my therapist regularly via Zoom (so grateful her services went virtual) and committed to daily walks outside.

In an episode of the Raising Good Humans Podcast, Dr. Aliza Pressman and Julianna Margulies talk about parenting during a pandemic and they state that these are not normal times, so don’t treat them as such. And that was my key. That was the permission I needed to let go of structure because it no longer existed. And surprisingly, from that place of no structure, structure was created. Our days eased up and life was no longer whirl-winding by my eyes. I felt present again. I could breathe.

Even with life being intense this past year, it has been so, so full. My intention for the last few years has been to “lean in” so I will continue doing just that— leaning into whatever is to come but taking it one day at a time so I can continue to be fully present.

Resources

While we wait for the coming weeks to develop and for vaccines, normalcy and more – it’s important to remember to take care of each other and, equally important, ourselves. So take some time for yourself, read a good book, attend a virtual happy hour, or reach out to someone who’s just there to listen. Here is a list of resources:


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