If you have been following my blog, you know that I have been working on a series for you entitled “Don’t make it normal, make it EPIC” where we talk about ways to make the holidays special during the pandemic.
I was going to work on one of those posts for you today. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I got up, drank some coffee, took a shower, scrolled through Facebook and Instagram, drank some more coffee… and I just felt… “off”. (And, don’t worry, we will be back to our regularly scheduled awesomeness momentarily). But the fact is… I don’t feel like “making the best of it” today. Trying to force myself to be inspiring didn’t work, so I’ve decided to just lean in to the experience.
Some news outlets are calling it “quarantine fatigue”. Maybe its “cabin fever”. Whatever you call it, the fact is, a lot of us are feeling it.
Cases are up. Hospitalizations are up. Deaths are up. In my state we are in a “stay at home advisory” for the next 3 weeks. All of this culminates in… well, not feeling so “cheery and bright”.
And why should it?
Why do we latch on to this need to act like nothing is wrong, to look on the bright side when it feels like the world is crashing down around us?
Maybe its just human nature. The way that we cope with horrible circumstances outside of our individual control.
Especially as parents.
We constantly feel an intense obligation to put on the brave face. We have made it our collective mission to turn the pandemic into a fun memory instead of a traumatic experience. All while ensuring that our children’s education and daily routines don’t fall completely apart in the process.
At the same time, we are dealing with our very own, completely valid, stresses and frustrations and emotions surrounding living through a real life plague.
Now, on top of everything else, the holidays are upon us. And parents of young children can’t just order a pizza, put on a Lord of the Rings marathon or a Lifetime movie (depending on your preference) put our feet up and skip the holidays this year.
Whether we feel like it or not, we will still be celebrating. And we will be doing it mostly alone, without the usual support of extended family that makes the holidays so special. There will be no play time with cousins, no bear hugs from their favorite uncles, or cookie baking with grandma.
And it sucks.
And its okay to say that it sucks.
When it comes to negative feelings, you have to feel it to heal it.
So, between Pinterest scrolling for your next holiday themed craft, cracking out the family cookbook for holiday recipes, and shopping for the perfect wrapping paper, remember to let yourself feel.
Feel however you need to feel. Give yourself permission to cry, to be angry, to sulk, to rest.
Then we can heal.
Its easy to “grin and bear it” through the holiday season. But, if we really want to make this year special (or EPIC), we have to make the holidays a joyous time, not just for our kids, but for ourselves too.
Treat yourself the way that you treat your kids. Find ways to make the pandemic holidays unique and fun in ways that make you happy.
Because if you are happy, truly happy, your kids will see it. They will feel it.
And that is the best gift you can give them.