Alisha Schilbe reflects on the village, the scale, and the pandemic.
Long-held wisdom has stated that it takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when you lose the village? When COVID hit, I had a three-month-old and a four-year-old. I was also in the middle of what was supposed to be the final semester of my bachelor’s degree. Just when I needed my village the most, I lost it, just like hundreds of millions of women around the world. As moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be everything, be everywhere, and do everything. Even on the best day, the balancing act that is our lives is precarious, and one small misstep can knock the entire thing askew for days or even weeks. So, can you imagine how it has felt for us, as mothers, to not just have the balance tipped, but to have the entire scale tossed into the air; pieces of our carefully organized lives scattering as we frantically try to keep it all together. Every mother I know has this feeling right now. Some of us just let the less important things fall and focused on those that really mattered. For nearly a year now, we have been in what so many of the other mothers that I know have described as “survival mode,” one more minute, one more hour, one more day. Some of us were able to move out of survival mode over the summer as cases dropped. We could go to parks or beaches, see some family and friends safely again, we got a small bit of normalcy. Now we are back in lockdown, back to the scale being tossed in the air, and once again we are all in survival mode.
Now we have to be everything for everyone, all at once, and every single day, we feel like we are failing. Last March, we dropped everything we could to be with our children, and to keep them safe. We put careers, school, hobbies, and everything else on hold to be there. We worked while trying to be teachers and parents because that’s what moms do. With, or without our village, we just keep going, but we are exhausted, and we ask that anyone reading this just please remember that.