The Drafts Folder: It’s Okay: The Phrase Helping Me Survive Motherhood During the Pandemic

Since I only do my Impressions post every other Wednesday, I thought I’d keep things interesting and dig into my drafts and random blog titles I’ve found written in my planner over the past couple of years. There are a lot of them, and I don’t even know what some of them were supposed to be about, so they’ll be alternating with the Impressions post until I’ve finished amusing myself with them. And maybe you, if I’m lucky.

Oh, finally something not related to books or writing! And I think I might actually have a good idea of what I wanted to write for this one. I mean, the title is a lot more descriptive (still pondering that book don’ts one).

I was tracking COVID as far back as November 2019 because I have family and friends in China. Thanks to some interesting indie books I read a few years ago, I got a little paranoid and started talking to my husband about it and how it’ll inevitably make it’s way here thanks to international travel. As soon as the first case was identified in my county, I kept watch every single day, just waiting for non-travel-related transmission to be announced.

In mid-March, when my son was still in Kindergarten and my daughter wasn’t yet 3, our school district announced it was closing for at least 2 weeks and all students were sent home with a packet of work to last those 2 weeks. My first thought was, “Do they really think it’ll be over in 2 weeks?” My second was, “How on Earth is my child supposed to learn for the next 2 weeks?” It took some doing, but I stretched out that work for 2 weeks because my son just liked to go through his work like a bulldozer, even now. What can I say? He gets bored easily and, once he grasps a concept, he can finish his work in minutes.

Of course, 2 weeks stretched to May stretched to the following year. But I wasn’t ready to send him back, not even after having him finish Kindergarten and do all of First Grade at home, with a toddler underfoot. My household was crazy, as I’m sure most other households were. At one point I felt like I was losing my mind, so had my kids call me Unicorn instead of Mommy. Apparently, I could only take being screamed for so much.

But I found a phrase that helped, that calmed me down, that let me give myself some grace, because exactly one year ago I had my son doing Second Grade online and my preschool-aged child doing homeschool preschool and I was going nuts trying to teach both of them at the same time.

It’s okay.

It’s okay if I don’t clean the floors. It’s okay if I don’t do the dishes. It’s okay if there’s candy stuck to the coffee table. It’s okay if the kids are going on their 4th hour of straight cartoons. It’s okay if we have to switch this piece of schoolwork out for another. It’s okay if we’re a little late with an assignment. It’s okay if my son has to do his work on his bed because his sister is screaming and he can’t concentrate. It’s okay if school is on my bed today instead of at the table. It’s okay if the ball bounces off the wall. It’s okay if we’re not feeling it today and we’ll just get the bare minimum done. It’s okay.

Most of all, it was okay if I felt like doing nothing. It was okay if there was something on my list that didn’t get done. It was okay if I let my blog slide. It was okay if I ate 10 pieces of chocolate in one day. It was okay if I let the kids have candy in the morning. It was okay if my daughter spent 3 hours on a device.

After 5 years of being strict with my kids to ensure a wholesome, active childhood full of exploration and play, I was tired. I needed to loosen up quite a bit just to survive those 2.5 years. And, all of a sudden, that number, which didn’t mean much just 6 months ago, now feels like an eternity. How did I manage to survive 2.5 years? That quote about the days going by slowly and the years going by quickly, I suppose.

Anyways, I started telling myself it was okay. It wasn’t going to be like this forever. But I needed it so much, needed to tell myself it was all going to be fine. And that, I guess, came to be my mantra for 2.5 years. And I survived. We survived. My son’s grades were extremely good. My daughter mastered her preschool curriculum and we decided to put her in a small city-run preschool for 3 months to help her socialize, where she proved to us we didn’t need to worry about her.

Now they’ve both been back in the classroom for 5 months, and they’re thriving. My son might be gifted, but, apparently, that runs in my family. My daughter has made friends and has one girl in particular she’s close with, and she’s mastered the 60 words she’s supposed to by the end of Kindergarten. But, more importantly, they’re happy and well-adjusted, and never again want to learn at home.Thank goodness, because I don’t think I would survive that again.

Now I can go back to my strict little self. Except it was kind of nice to let things slide, to let them organically decide and shift and grow and take the very first baby steps into independence. Do I miss the days when I practically controlled everything? Well, yes. I am a control freak. But, as hard as those 2.5 years were, they were good for me. They taught me to just let things slide. It’ll all be okay. It’ll all work out. The kids will be fine.

As hard as the pandemic was, as scared as I still am of getting it, I am also, in a strange way, grateful to it.

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3 thoughts on “The Drafts Folder: It’s Okay: The Phrase Helping Me Survive Motherhood During the Pandemic

  1. This is one of these post where it’s hard to press “like”.
    I think we need to write more about what we suffered during the pandemic.
    If we don’t write about it, we may not process it, and we might forget.
    Thank you very much for sharing…


  2. I love, love, love this whole “drafts folder” concept. You are so creative, Kat. And I especially love it when you share your schooling experiences at home with the kiddos. And I love (even more), the list of “It’s Okays.” They were spot on. I figure that any progress that we could do during those difficult 2.5 years was a blessing, even if it didn’t meet our usual standards. Plus, it does feel good to play hooky with the regular routine every once in awhile.


  3. I’m the exact opposite. I’m a solid Type B personality, and so nonchalant about most things, I’ve been accused of being lazy and apathetic (only sometimes, *wink*). I just like to get things done in my own way, and it makes no difference to me if the vacuuming is done in the morning or evening. On the other hand, I’m very punctual when it comes to food, lol.


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