I love to read. I work scattered hours as a freelance Sign Language Interpreter. I attempt to make food from scratch as often as possible while also having a second freezer full of frozen french fries, chicken nuggets, and the occasional bag of tater tots. I love to garden, but growing seeds the past few years has proven to be impossible with my lack of time and dedication to watering in the crucial growing period. It’s important to me that my floors are clean. I started an online business that I’ve had to push aside. I cannot keep up with the laundry. And, oh yeah… I also have four young children.
However, that whole list was so 2019. Just like every other Millennial mom, I’ve been handed a gift in 2020.
I’m in my mid-30s. Okay, okay, I’m 34. According to my husband, that doesn’t qualify as “mid-30s,” but it’s closer to mid than early 30s if you ask me. I make that distinction because I’m proudly part of the Millennial generation that is so widely scrutinized.
As a Millennial mom with young children, I always felt as if I wasn’t cut out to be a mom. I felt inadequate. There isn’t enough time to get everything done that we should be doing as mothers. When we run across a mother who is somehow doing it all, we call her “Superwoman,” only to find out she also yells at her kids and has a freezer full of frozen nuggets. Somewhere along the way, we have allowed ourselves to listen to the lies of inadequacy.
It is true, the world we grew up in is nothing like the world we are raising our children in. And now, after all of this COVID-19 stuff, our children’s world will never be the same again either.
This is GOOD news!
Let’s take this opportune time to begin rebuilding the concept of motherhood. What is the foundation of motherhood? My children are not watching a scurried mother pour frozen food on a tray while answering an email and half glancing at the schedule to make sure we aren’t missing a dance practice. They are getting their hands into the dough that becomes bread—the bread that they can make into toast in the morning. They are lying on the floor, pouring through books that are getting dusted for the first time in a long time during the reading. They are spending time in the mud, taking a midday bath, and getting muddy again—only to take another bath before bed. Time has slowed down.
This gift is being given to mothers worldwide. The generation we are raising is no doubt feeling a whiplash right about now. The world as they know it has not come to a halt, as I have seen others put it. Their world has completely changed.
As a freelancing millennial mother who has watched her work disappear overnight, I have had to walk through the loss of what I felt was my identity. I know many of you are in this same situation. Take the time to grieve. Take the time to realize that you are more than the things that you just lost. Allow them to fade, and be thankful for the time they served you.
Now is the time to stand tall—or rather, kneel and sit with our children. Now is the time to look at their faces, play games, and get dirty. Do not waste this gift of time with our precious kids just waiting for the dust to settle so we can piece our lives back together. This is our new normal.
I physically wrote out all the things that I was. I imagined all of those things being tossed into the sky. For now, I am building a new foundation that my children can stand on – a less busy and hurried life. It is not helpful to me or my children to be worried. I involve them in making food and folding laundry. Let’s allow this next generation to finally take a breath now that they are not running around and being passed from one event to the next. They will not get bored if we are with them.
Take time to grieve your losses, then unwrap this precious gift. If you want to email me your losses, I would love to walk through them with you. There is always beauty. Let me help you find it.
Toni Schafer is a Nationally Certified Sign Language interpreter with four children 6 and under. She has a passion to serve people with chronic disease, acute illness, and mental fatigue due to past events and trauma. You can find more writing and personal connection with Toni at www.tonischafer.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.