It was pouring rain yesterday. My kids still aren’t allowed in school in person, so I had to discreetly wrap these massive presents I got at Target without them seeing. So, I brought the wrapping supplies outside and tried to do it in the car. In my minivan…with 3 car seats, an abundance of sports equipment, and an aroma of stale french fries. It was not easy and I was NOT happy to be doing it. Isn’t that crazy? I have the opportunity and the resources to give my children (mostly) whatever they ask for for Christmas. Yet, there I was cursing because I had to hide in my car to wrap presents…because I can never get away from my family. What a Grinch…or at least a victim of pandemic fatigue.
The thing is, sadly, I know I am not alone in this negative, cranky, grinchy thinking. Everyone I talk to has the same feelings of crisis fatigue/pandemic fatigue. We are sick of the “new normal”. Because nothing about it is normal. Our kids aren’t in school which means we are “on” as parents all the time. And we never get any breaks to tend to our own needs or desires. And man does it show. I am short, snippy, and mostly impatient. This isn’t how it was supposed to be! Fall of 2020 was supposed to be the year I had THREE kids in school. Two kids in school full-time, and one in pre-school part-time. This was the year I worked more, found my identity outside of motherhood again, and got to do things for myself after years in the pregnancy, breastfeeding, tantrum trenches. But, alas…2020.
Everything Is Closed
There is no church except online (at least where we live) and the lack of spiritual growth in a community setting each week is adding to the emptiness we feel. We don’t have any normal playdates inside our homes because people don’t want to risk catching the virus inside. This puts a hindrance on our relationships outside of our immediate family. And I don’t know about you, but as a stay-at-home-mom, my fellow mom tribe is what holds me up. We lack our normal outlets, routines, and activities. What are we supposed to do in the middle of winter with all of our children when it’s dark and freezing outside? Mall? Not safe…if it is even open. Movies? Doesn’t seem like the best idea…if it is even open. Bowling? One of my family’s favorite winter pastimes…also not happening.
I am so grateful for a glimpse of normal this summer. We went back to our pool and played there all day, every day. We were around friends constantly. Numbers were down, people were healthy again, and hospitals had hardly any COVID-19 patients to tend to. Oh, how naive we were. Now we stare down the barrel of cold winter days and shutdowns. It’s hard. And nobody likes to go backwards after we made so much progress forward. We saw the light at the end of the tunnel, yet here we stand. It’s pitch black again, with no end in sight.
After months of canceled plans, missed opportunities, and expectations lowered, lowered, and lowered again…we are in a funk. We feel more division, more depression, more anxiety, and a complete loss of control. It seems we are all tired of hearing about COVID-19, seeing COVID-19, and talking about COVID-19. “Can we go inside? Will school be safe when it opens? Can the kids play without masks? Are my parents safe? What about the holidays???”…Round and round we go, getting nowhere but deeper into the pit of despair.
I wish I could say I had answers for you. I wish I could tell you how to make things better, how to fix your mood, and how to best avoid this annoying virus. But I don’t. We are all humans, feeling human emotions of frustration and fatigue and it’s completely normal. Everything around us changed overnight, and we are grieving the way we saw the last 9 months of our lives play out. I am not a doctor or a scientist and I can’t fix what’s happening. But what I can do is offer you support, encouragement, and hope.
When everything around us is changing one thing remains constant. One thing remains the same: God our Father. He is the same yesterday, tomorrow, and today.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Because of Him, your worth and value don’t change either. No matter how many times you scream at your kids, give your spouse the silent treatment, or binge on that tub of ice cream…His love for you remains the same. He still died and rose again so that you can live life and live it to the fullest. Even the times you don’t feel like it…your joy in Christ is not canceled, even when it is harder to find.
My ONE Hope During Pandemic Fatigue
On my worst days, I cling to this. And I tell myself the one thing that matters. If we never went back to “normal” (which I assure you we will), if we never send our kids back to school (we will, I promise), if we never stop wearing masks (at least they’re getting cuter, right?), Jesus still loves me. The Lord of the universe died and rose again for ME and YOU. And that is my hope, my joy, and what gets me through.
And I also remember, if I was OKAY with being stuck in my house with my ENTIRE family for an indefinite amount of time, while never getting upset, or disgruntled then we would have a real problem. Because that’s just weird…distance makes the heart grow fonder…and I need way more than SIX FEET!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)