The last year has been crazy. We’ve navigated our way through quarantine, a pandemic, devastating fires, and distance learning. Our world was turned upside down and we adapted the best we could. Was it easy, no, but we did the best we could. Sometimes that’s all you can do.
We were living in our new normal. We had no idea how long it would last or if anything would ever go back to the way it was. Having the schools shut down and being stuck in quarantine took it’s toll. My mental health was suffering and my kids mental health began to suffer too. They began to withdraw themselves. They were like hibernating bears in their rooms. Playing video games to make the time pass faster and bring them some normalcy. They made some new friends online and their mental health began to improve. They quiet talking to me and pretty much just shut down.
I wanted so bad to get them talking. To help them navigate through such tough times where they can’t see their friends, go to school, or pretty much leave the house. Any time I tried, they shut me down. I took it personally and in turn my mental health suffered even more. I didn’t understand why my kids were shutting me out. They’d never done that before. It wasn’t just me, but pretty much anyone. They barely talked at all ever. You’d only see them when it was time to eat and that’s about it.
My kids are generally open with me. They come to me with their problems, for advice, whatever they need, especially my daughter. She loves to tell me about her day and all the drama at school. I miss that. What I failed to realize was they weren’t necessarily shutting me out, they just didn’t have anything to say to me. Anything happening in their lives I was there for. We are have been literally stuck in the house together for a year. I know everything and so do they.
It got to the point I couldn’t wait for my kids to go back to in person school. Now before you start judging, you have to understand I am a stay at home mom. My free time/me time is when they are at school. Not having me time for a whole year took a toll. And if we’re being honest, my kids couldn’t wait to go back either. That is their break from me. I just never thought about what it was going to be like for them to go back.
I forgot I would miss them. I forgot how suddenly quiet the house would be. I forgot how much running around between schools I’d have to do. I forgot how early we’d all have to get up. I forgot how terrible the silence was when I was anxious. But I never imagined my kids, specifically my daughter would miss me when she was back in school. I thought we’d reached the era of the parent-child relationship where they just slowly left me behind as they prepared for the real world.
Nope, that wasn’t the case. She missed me. Every day when she gets in the car after school she has something for me. Some drawing she made me or a picture she cut out. It always says, ‘I love you mom or I love you mom and appreciate you so much.’ I’m not kidding when I say I cried like a baby. The feelings of self-doubt I put on myself because of their disconnect came to the surface. What a silly thing to worry about, of course they love me. Of course I’m doing a good job, these are just weird times and they’re coping the best they can.
I really let my self doubt get the best of me. I took my kids shutting down in a time where anyone would shut down personally. I felt like I was doing something wrong. Like maybe they hated me. All these crazy things were running through my head because my mental health wasn’t good. It’s like when you call a friend and they don’t answer or call you back for a few days and you feel like maybe you’re a burden or they don’t like you anymore. It was like that. I didn’t expect them to miss me when they went back to school. It was such a huge duh moment. Why did I ever think it was something I did?
Looking back now, of course my feelings were silly. My mental health wasn’t exactly where it should be when everything started and it just went downhill from there. So I took it personally when I shouldn’t have. I should have known better than to think what they were going through was my fault. No one knew how to handle this and we still don’t. We’re just taking it one day at a time. So if you’re feeling down, doubtful, or just in a weird place, just know your kids still love you very much, it’s not you.