Lisa Baron, PhD, LCSW, with Mother's Day Musings in a Pandemic YearMay 01, 2021 01:19PM ● By Lisa Baron
A year ago we cancelled a trip to California. As the flames of the pandemic raged, travel was not in the cards.
The worst part of cancelling the trip was telling my son, for fear of disappointing him. My son is a realist and handled the decision better than I.
This was just the beginning of a surreal year, full of uncertainty, living moment by moment, and a call for flexibility.
The hallmarks of this pandemic year have included extraordinarily hard times, grave disappointments, and relentless fear. Some of you have suffered devastating losses, unspeakable unfairness, and bigotry. You or a loved one may have lost your job, or struggled with health issues while being separated from loved ones. Perhaps you’ve worked virtually while homeschooling your children, possibly as a single parent.
Many have suffered from limited sleep, resources and patience, and you may still be living in fear for yourselves, your family and your community.
With the vaccine rollout, there is more hope, yet there is a continued need in our world for healing. How do we stay strong?
In Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, (Milne, McCafferty, Kurtz), Christopher Robin says to his friend Pooh: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
We are all heroes in our own ways.
Here are some musings to think about, this Mother’s Day, 2021.
1. Patience is an ongoing practice. At the beginning of the pandemic I was too focused on “when” I could see my family in person. I needed to let go of being so attached to the “when”. Focusing on enjoying the contact we were able to have made the pandemic’s endless stretch of time a little bit easier.
2. We’ve all heard the saying “put your airplane oxygen mask on first” before helping others. Make a self-care playlist and play it, often. Even with limited time, build in a short walk, read a few pages, listen to a song.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If clean laundry sits in a basket and doesn’t make it to the dresser drawers, your family will still survive and thrive.
Set your priorities, practice letting go. Being superwoman is overrated.
4. Encourage family member autonomy. People grow to be who they are meant to be. Build your own life. This is a gift you will give to yourself, and to them.
5. Suspend judgment. We all need to forgive ourselves and others for imperfections. We all have them. A wise friend of mine, who has 5 children said “Remember to give yourself grace.”
6. Be honest with your family. Real life happens. People are better off knowing the realities so that they can strengthen their coping muscles.
This year, we have been tested beyond measure with unpredictable waves.
In Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book: Wherever you go, That’s Where you Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, he said:
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” (p. 30).
If we are lucky, we are still surfing.
Celebrate you and those you love this Mother’s Day.
Dr. Lisa Baron is a writer and therapist in Chapel Hill. Her best training has included being part of a big, colorful family and parenting three creative, adult children. To connect with Dr. Baron, email [email protected] or visit LisaBaronCreative.com.