The Pandemic Mom's Journal seeks daily journal entries from moms throughout the United States. Read Andrea Hope's entry below, then click here to share your story.
Family Description: Mama, Tata, 2-year-old daughter, 1-year-old son. We are an interracial, international, working-on-immigration-papers family getting on our feet. My husband says “poor” is a state of mind. I manage the bank accounts.
Log: I wake up at least three times. First in the early hours to rub our son’s back until he resettles. Second, when my husband’s lips kiss my forehead as he gets up early for exercise and quiet time. And last, to the rustling of our son, once again, as he searches for mama’s milk. Our daughter wakes and shouts, “Whatcha doing, Mama?” before coming to join us in bed. I say a silent prayer. “Illumine my inner being, O my Lord … even as though didst illumine my outer being with the morning light of Thy favor.”
The kids scramble into the living room, where Tata lovingly greets them in Polish and English. I check the financial accounts at least 3 times – refreshing to see if another payment may have come in. Refreshing to see how many fresh groceries we can afford today. It is rarely refreshing to see. My husband asks what we need from the store. “Umm, everything.”
I tell him about my plans to hold off on buying $30 earrings. “You can buy them next month,” he encourages. “My investments should double by then.” We change diapers and outfits. I make breakfast, fantasizing how much easier life would be if I could survive on vegan protein shakes. I clean up and package small shop items with care. “Time for prayers,” I announce just as the little ones are getting restless. We lay out a tapestry, sing songs, read books, and dance. I feel a rush of warmth and awe. Our daughter says a prayer from memory and insists on more stories. Our son echoes words from songs and bounces up and down.
Tata helps the kids get ready to go outside. They climb into our worn double-stroller and wave bye-bye. We greet other masked neighbors, and my son points out every dog. At the playground, the kids giggle while I yell peekaboo. My son insists I hold him in one arm, while pushing a swing with the other. My back aches. My glasses fog. My daughter giggles. “Mama, I wanna go high.”
“All my babies are back,” Tata calls out as we enter the door. “No stimulus check?” he asks. “Not yet.” We change the kids and prepare them for nap. I am tempted to sleep. I read my to-do list, read emails, try to focus, complete tasks for my nonprofit work. I play Paula Poundstone in the background to lighten the mood. Like her, I am unaccustomed to silence. I read the latest news on people suppressing rather than supporting each other. Society has yet to realize that the night sky has room for over 100 billion stars to shine at once, and the same is true of humankind. Poets, philosophers, and prophets have said it better than me, and yet it bears repeating. I feel overwhelmed. I hesitate to tell my partner, fearing another cross-cultural misunderstanding.
I hold my candle. I hold my space. I hold my tongue on social media. I remind myself that I am a beacon of light, and think of more lesson plans, more poems.
The kids wake up ready to be changed and fed. Tata blows bubbles and chases them around the house. The rest of the evening feels like rounds of row, row, row your mom. I sway on the waves of mama working, kids playing, mama and tata chatting, kids crying, mama catching up on messages, kids snacking, mama cleaning, kids climbing and tugging - dinner time, bath time, media time.
Our daughter announces, “Tata sleeping!” Two hours later, I warm a bottle of milk and put our daughter down without much fuss. Our son grabs desperately at my bra as I hold him, singing and swaying. What were the other 3 S’s again? My back aches. My mind wanders. I put baby down and then wake my husband from the couch. We hear a whine. I tell myself I will lay down just long enough to soothe our son and then catch up on a few more things. Before I know it, we are all asleep.
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