- A Rant by a Parent in a Bad Mood
A Rant by a Parent in a Bad Mood
By Didi Gorman
I’m in a bad mood these days.
Not all the time, but more than usual.
I can sense I’m flaring up on the inside by small things that wouldn’t normally annoy me that much.
I shouldn’t be complaining, I keep telling myself. I have many reasons to be grateful: Everybody in my family is healthy; no one I know has contracted the virus; the sun is shining outside; we can go for fresh air or nature-walks in the woods behind the house whenever we see fit; I still have my job and I work full-time (from home, as a writer); I’m not lonely (there’re five of us at home) – so really, on the face of it, everything is relatively fine.
Last night I watched the news, as I now do every night. A horrible mass-murder in Nova Scotia. Riots in the States because folks want to go back to normal. Seniors dying in long-term care facilities by the dozens.
It poisoned my sleep. I couldn’t stop worrying: What if some lunatic opens fire on us next time we do the groceries? What next in this surreal reality?
Then, this morning there were five emails in my inbox with homework assignments for the children. Five emails! And I haven’t even started my working day. I can’t keep up. When am I supposed to ‘find time’ to work in all this?
I want to yell LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY! But I’m not sure who I want to yell it at. Of course, I don’t yell for real, only in my head. Civilized adults are not supposed to randomly yell like that; they keep their exasperations to themselves and suffer in silence, right? And because I consider myself a civilized adult, the most I can do is pour my frustrations onto the page and use capital letters and exclamation points. So here we go: LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY WITH ALL THESE EXTRA TASKS!!!!!!!!! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!
Do I feel better now? Not sure. Maybe a little.
I do take comfort in one thing, though. I know I’m not the only parent feeling this way. I also know how hard it is to share such thoughts, given that in our society, it is still a taboo for a parent to admit to difficulty. I’m not supposed to openly say I have a hard time keeping up with all these extra duties. I’m not supposed to overtly acknowledge that all this load affects my well-being. I’m supposed to put on a brave face and not complain about having to homeschool. And somehow, perhaps by magic, I’m also supposed to find time to work.
Well, it seems I just did. What do you know? Instead of homeschooling my children, I was writing this piece! You wonder what my children were doing in the meantime? They were jumping on the trampoline outside and cooked their own dinner.
I’m thinking about what constitutes a parent’s well-being these days, and somehow, ‘overload’ doesn’t seem to fit the definition. Needless to say that an overloaded and irritated parent is hardly a giving parent. Perhaps finding balance is a more desirable concept to adopt.
For me, finding balance means there’ll be a lot of things I won’t be able to achieve during this lockdown. Full-on homeschooling curriculum is one of them. I’m not willing to be a grumpy mom to my kids by taking upon myself a task I cannot possibly handle. I’m not willing to compromise my well-being. There. I said it.