Words disappeared when the lockdown started. I could not write. I still cannot write without any typo or error. Apparently anxiety does that to you. My thoughts ruled over me. Words flew over my head but nothing on paper.
Many people shared the same sentiment. Here is Author Saeed Jones giving words to that feeling aptly.
Speaking for myself, trying to write right now feels like trying to drink hot coffee in the middle of a rollercoaster ride.— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) April 21, 2020
Natasha Badhwar, a noted Indian author, penned it clearly in this honest blogpost about the lockdown –
‘I am flummoxed by this inability. Is there unacknowledged grief I need to process? Do I not have the language to express the dissonance of our times or am I afraid to speak in clear terms?
“Writing is always a step into courage,” a friend says helpfully. “You will find a way. When something isn’t working for a while, perhaps you need to step back.”
Neither could I read. My concentration span reduced. I could not concentrate. Initially it was the heartbreaking news from my mother land in Dec/Jan/Feb then came the pandemic in March.
It could also be because I was not having my usual ‘me time’. Me-time when my 4 year old went to kindergarten and 2 year old was sleeping. Or when they both slept early at 7 PM. Ever since the lockdown started, I was having none of it. Bedtime was initially pushed to 9PM and then flew out of the window once Ramadan started.
I saw this similar sentiment of ‘mom fatigue’ shared on all my mom groups or social media posts by young mothers. Mothering your child during the early infancy years is physically daunting. The mind is on constant replay – Is the child safe? Did she eat? Why are they quiet? Are they watching too much TV?
There is a standing joke in my house. I go to the toilet for samadhanam/peace. I am not denying it either!
Our household chores are usually shared by both me and my spouse. Yet it was quite draining for me. Intense loneliness. Anxiety. Boredom. Having to decide what to cook all three times of the day. It is my nemesis. I hate making that decision day after day, week after week. I feel it takes quite a bit of my time in just deciding the menu for the day.
As days passed by, I was beginning to enjoy it. Observing my children closely became a fun habit- Friends. Fighting. Then friends again. And not having to keep the house squeaky clean 24/7 because either way, there are no sudden guests! 😀
I was beginning to enjoy the quiet and slow living.
A few activities and tips that helped me to combat mom-fatigue during the lockdown :-
Craft & Art work with children – I have two left thumb. I am lousy at craft and arts. Has always been. But when my daughter started showing interest in craft work, we sat down together to work on simple crafts with the help of YouTube videos. Besides it being a time pass for her, it was truly helpful to me too. I started looking forward to all the cutting and pasting sessions.
Reading – Nearly a year ago, I started reading again after the motherhood break. It was a pleasure to fall in love again with books. Yet the heartbreaking images from my motherland combined with the onslaught of the pandemic put a temporary pause to my reading spree. Once Ramadan got over, I started again. The never ending reading spree. It keeps my mind busy and I am not constantly thinking and feeling anxious.
Audio Books – Whenever I saw a post on social media about Audio Books, I completely disregarded it. (Yes, sadly judging before experiencing/using it) My thought process was – How can we enjoy books by listening to somebody else reading a book. Coincidentally at that time, on the Libby App I stumbled upon the audio book of The Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Thus started my audio book sessions. I listen to audiobooks while cooking and while folding clothes- my least favorite activities! (Simply because my mind is on overdrive while I cook and fold) But with audiobooks, I get to concentrate more on the book than think unnecessarily and get worked up!
Spirituality – Ramadan was a life saver since it was literally a reset button for me. It helped me in achieving mental clarity. Being mindful of my prayers and constant duas helped me in seeing a better perspective of the whole situation.
Letting go – I do not know what tomorrow holds neither can I do much about it now. So letting it go. Thawakalthu ala Allah.
Me time even if it means less sleep time.
Writing – When I was constantly telling the better half that I feel I am falling into depression. He said,’ Talk about it’. ‘It is not easy to talk anything’ ‘Then write about it somewhere’
With that push, I decided to write here, twitter, my journal…
To the mothers
Mothering young kids is not an easy task. Mothering young kids under lockdown during a pandemic is not an easy task. Mothering young kids under lockdown during a pandemic while working from home and having online school for the kids is not at all an easy task and neither has it been done by any generation before. You are doing a great job. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
PS : There is so much more I want to write about the lockdown and the feeling of not being able to do anything productively and efficiently but right now I cannot put words to my train of thoughts. Someday when I can think clearly, inshAllah…