These Days are Exhausting Especially for Us Parents

At first, I was afraid. No, that’s wrong, I was terrified. 

As the virus raged, we obsessively washed our hands and our groceries. I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling suffocated, a completely unfamiliar sensation for me. We worried about supply chain disruptions and scarcities but mostly we worried about getting sick.

woman in bed sleeping
These are exhausting times. (@adamkuylenstierna via Twenty20)

Every time someone in the house coughed or sneezed or woke up with a scratchy throat I was seized with panic. Had the virus finally arrived at our door?

We have a tiny bit of a breather here in the Northeast right now, and even though I am finally sleeping again, Coronavirus has left me exhausted, bone-weary, dog-tired and completely drained.

This is what exhausts me

  • I am exhausted from talking and talking and talking about this virus. We have turned it over and over exploring its every angle and discussing it ad nauseam to what end? We almost always end our conversations with some version of “We just don’t know. “or “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
  • I am exhausted by being “The Mom” and feeling the weight of everyone’s unhappiness and disappointment. And being “The Daughter” and feeling profoundly sad that my mother’s last years will be spent like this. Being the keeper of everyone else’s sadness and hurt (even if I am self-appointed) is heavy. So heavy. 
  • I am exhausted by my inability to make plans, by the feeling of being stuck in this moment, in this horrible moment-desperately wanting to put something on the calendar, but too unsure to do it. 
  • I am exhausted by the sameness of every day. It’s hard to tell weekdays from weekends. It no longer seems to matter. 
  • I am exhausted from worrying about my husband, my children, my friends, and my community.
  • I am sick to death of the constant strife. We are not just angry, we are furious, about nothing and everything. The other day someone got too close to me in public without a mask as she yelled at someone on her cell phone. I seethed. How dare she get in my space, and shout? Not prone to anger, the intensity of my rage scared me. 
  • I am weary of the decisions – all the decisions that have to be made for myself and others: Back to school or not? Give up your lease in the city or not? Friends in the backyard or not? 
  • I am tired of the protocol that is involved in everything we do and the uncertainty that surrounds it. Are we doing it right…the temperature-taking, the quarantining, the maintaining acceptable distances? Nothing is easy anymore.

Moms and dads, we will get to the other side of this

My fellow parents, I’ve heard that we are all in this together and I believe it. I also know that we will get through this and the day will come when we look back on all this-not with fondness but with hard-earned wisdom.

But right now, there are days when I wake up and just want to stay in bed until this all passes. I don’t. I get up like the rest of you and get on with life. There really is no choice.

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About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

More by Helene Wingens:

What Every Mom Needs to Teach Her Son About Rape
6 Reasons Why Moms Cry When They Leave Their Kids at College
Dear Parent Freshman, You Need to Know This About Your Student
Crushing Culture of Parental Expectations
What Moms of Grown Sons Want Them to Know

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