By Jennifer Schultz
I wasn’t sure I should write this post. I have been reading the blog posts written by moms who seem to have the the most beautiful grasp on their spiritual lives. That is not me. Don’t get me wrong- I have faith, and express it in my own way, but putting it into words is more difficult for me.
During these crazy Covid times I have been giving a lot of thought to the religious aspects of my life. Despite all the fear and uncertainty this tiny virus brings, I am finding unexpected blessings in my life as well. Let me tell you more.
I am a physician and I work almost full time, my husband works full time as well. We have 2 kids and all the craziness that comes with 2 working parents and kids with full schedules. This winter flew by in a flurry of basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, school projects, Christmas programs and band concerts. More than once I wished we could all just slow down!
As a working mom I struggle with a large amount of ‘guilt’ over the time spent away from my kids. It seemed I was spending all the time I had with them chauffeuring them to practice and throwing sandwiches on the dinner table before moving on to the next activity. I spent innumerable hours in the bleachers, waiting for games to start, or finding rides for one of them on the days we were double booked.
In January this all began to weigh on me. I felt like I was spreading myself too thin and kept debating on how I could fix this. Could I find a more flexible job that would let me be home when my kids need me? I work as a primary care doctor and one of the joys of this profession is getting to know patients and developing relationships with them that lead to a therapeutic partnership. Many times moving to a ‘more flexible’ job in my profession involves sitting behind a computer and losing some of those relationships. Should I hire a nanny that could help with all of life’s logistics – or would that give me more guilt about not being there for my children? Not to mention my disorganized mess of a house! At times this was all very overwhelming.
A bible verse came to mind: “Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you.” So that’s what I did. In my prayers I asked God to help calm my fears; in fact, I asked him to give me a sign. I was hoping for something big and obvious — to help me decide how to proceed so I could be a better mom and wife. I asked him to help me find balance and quiet my mind.
Well, I guess in a way- I got what I asked for. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think God sent a global pandemic this way just so I could straighten my life out — but certain things are being brought into perspective! Now my life is upside down — we stay home ALL the time. I cook almost EVERY meal. No one has practice and the kids are with us 24/7. My work hours are reduced as I see patients virtually and try to practice social distancing. I can actually see the top of my desk and I’m working on purging the clutter from my home. I might have time to sit and read a book! How many times have I wished for this slow down? Amidst all the Covid chaos I should be grateful for this time — right? Is this the sign I asked for?
My daughter may have put it best when she said ‘Staying home all the time is no fun!” It’s really not. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay far away from everyone, wash your hands again, leave your shoes in the garage, did you wash your hands? Did I mention the virtual schooling? Or the dishes? The uncertainty of these times is a new form of anxiety- what will ‘normal’ be when this is all over? When will it end? So now my prayers have changed.
Keep everyone healthy. Help get this infection under control so we can see our extended family. Give me the patience to help my 5th grader write a persuasive paragraph about the pros and cons of e-learning (con: ‘My parents are not good or experienced teachers.’ Nope — we’re not). Give me the grace to realize I can’t be a doctor/mom/teacher/cook/coach/therapist all at once – and that’s okay. Help me to realize the ‘bad’ days aren’t a sign of my failure as a parent.
I pray for the Ascension community and look forward to the day we can all be together again. I pray for my colleagues who work on the front lines and have to confront the terrible realities of this virus.
I do think that when this is over, God expects me to have a new perspective. Somewhere in between our pre-Covid life and our quarantine life. Maybe we will sign up for fewer activities. Maybe we will carve out more sacred time to spend together as a family. Maybe I will live in the moment and enjoy the kids’s sporting events while I’m watching them instead of worrying about where we have to be next. Maybe I will make self care a priority. Maybe I won’t worry if the house is messy as long as everyone is healthy and happy. Maybe I will be able to ignore my Type A tendencies and live more spontaneously… well that may take more than a global pandemic! So God has given me my ‘sign’ and now I guess the rest is up to me.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you what path to take. Proverbs 3: 5-6