Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.
Working single Mom? Homeschooling mom? Mom, mom?
It really is okay to not be okay.
We are in the middle of a Global Pandemic and have been for most of 2020. We are working single mothers trying to hold it all together in a pandemic that the world has not experienced for 100 years.
I read in a study today that revealed that working mothers are taking the brunt of the COVID19 effects on their jobs.
In normal times, they already worked a double shift by working all day and then expected to be the caregiver of the family at night.
But now with so many women working from home and also juggling the expectations on them to manage their kids during the day with online school, and still handle all of their other responsibilities, it is causing many women to leave their jobs altogether. But that isn’t an option for most single working mothers.
We have to keep it all going 24/7.
Working single mom? Homeschooling mom? Mom, mom?
When my children were small, as a single mom I had a hard enough time with coordinating the school drops offs, pickups, sports, clubs, play dates, homework, baths, and then dinners all… while balancing a full-time career and the expectations that were placed on my shoulders as an executive woman.
There were days that I just wanted to disappear so no one would ask anything more of me.
But working single mothers right now have it especially hard and they are feeling it. I coach single mothers and I have spent a significant amount of time talking these women off the ledges ever sense COVID19 befell us and homeschooling sat squarely on their laps.
In each case, these women are carrying the responsibility of being teacher mom and working mom and mom, mom.
So where do you go to catch your breath?
And what do you do to find any semblance of balance?
I have to be honest; I really had to sit and think and talk this through with them. My experiences as a single working mom had nothing to do with existing and operating in a Global Pandemic!
How was I going to advise these warrior women, whom I was in awe of, how to even attempt managing through this?
I decided it was time to employ my business mind to this. After all, it really is all about slicing yourself up into a million directions to cover all of the expectations placed upon you.
Eisenhower Decision Matrix
I decided to utilize a time management matrix called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. This was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and he used this method while serving as an Army General and well into his time as our 34th President.
The matrix is divided into 4 quadrants and is prioritized by
1: Urgent and Important
2: Urgent but Not Important
3: Important but Not Urgent
4: Not Important and Not Urgent.
Now that all sounds like gobbledie gook I know. But once they started writing down the things on their mental list, not to mention physical list, and started to thoughtfully place them in order, they found that there were just as many Not Important Not Urgent items in that column as there were in the rest of the three combined.
In other words, they saw that they could actually visualize and then actualize the overwhelming lists that were running in their heads by putting them on a prioritization program.
Each woman had different things that they considered to be urgent or not. It served as somewhat of a permission slip to just acknowledge what they knew they needed to get things done but to also be able to decide for themselves to let things go that were not as important as they initially thought.
This resulted in them being able to take a breath. And surprisingly, what was now included in the Urgent and Important quadrant was taking time for themselves to regroup and recharge… aka downtime.
Even our appointed conversations were placed squarely into this quadrant. It’s very okay to ask for help. That meant asking help from their ex-husbands to shoulder more and share the responsibilities.
It meant asking for help from their support network. Even speaking with me each week was a request for help. It meant just feeling okay to ask for help and making that a priority.
Making YOU a priority.
There has been no better time than now to exercise the slogan, “It Takes a Village”. So, it’s okay to not be okay right now.
My children are adults now, but due to the pandemic one is working downstairs from the kitchen and the other is attending online college classes from the dining room while I am upstairs working in my office.
Everyone has their headsets on or as I call it, our cones of silence. The kitchen is usually a bustle as we all take breaks and make coffee at different times which begins with my daughter and I making sure that my son who sits at the kitchen bar isn’t on a Zoom call with his camera on.
The unconscious movements of before are now laced with an intense awareness of our every move, the sounds of our voices carrying (which is usually mine) and the inability to escape each other’s presence take a toll.
It turns a home into what once was a retreat, to now being a working operation. So, again it’s okay to not be okay. Because this isn’t normal by any means. But it is for now.
“Life imposes things on you that you can’t control, but you still have the choice of how you’re going to live through this.” Celine Dion
Single working mothers are my Heroes. They really are. But they are my Heroes every day, pandemic or not.
They are my Heroes in every generation and every decade of our history.
I am one of my own Heroes and you should be too. Though recent studies have shown how hard this pandemic has been on women in general, it has indeed presented its most profound challenges to single working mothers.
But I guess as is always the case, we move through as just another challenge put before us.
Whenever someone asks me how I did it, my answer is always, “I didn’t have a choice”. We have a job to do and it’s so important that while we work through these challenges as single parents in a pandemic, we also keep in mind that in order to really be successful in this we have to keep ourselves healthy and in balance and invest in ourselves too.
In my case I am and always have been my children’s sole stability. I am all they have. And I am all I have too. So, let’s do this together. Our kids are watching and taking notes on how we manage through this and keep in mind the following….
Your greatest contribution to the universe may not necessarily be something you do, but someone you raise.
And remember, it’s okay to not be okay right now. But you have the power to change that.