Let’s face it, this year is a straight up 5 alarm dumpster fire. It’s the kind of year where coping mechanisms need coping mechanisms. At some point or another (sometimes simultaneously) I have felt as though I was failing in almost every aspect of my life. In speaking with other women, this doesn’t seem to be a unique phenomenon to me. Does that mean all is lost? Nope! If I could make it through the movie with the same title (All is Lost with Robert Redford- he about drowns for 3 hours and says 2 words…this year in as a major motion picture!) there is hope for us yet!
So Do We Ever Really Learn Anything When Life is Easy?
I would love to pretend that my most amazing life epiphanies have happened while hiking mountain tops or walking along the beach perfect beachy hair whipping in the breeze, but no. They happen while I am struggling. They happen when I have to fall off the same horse a hundred times and get right back on. However, even in the struggle we have to decide to lean in. To really see what God and the universe are trying to teach us. As much as my faith doesn’t believe that God sent us this year as a punishment, I do believe He can use it for good. When I am getting down, I like to look at biblical heroes, who were all pretty much hot messes. If God can use them, maybe I’ll be just fine.
Supplemental Reading: 7 Famous Sinners And What We Can Learn From Them
2020 Issue #1: Body Image, Yep Even in a Pandemic That’s Still a Thing.
I don’t know a single mama out there who is in love with her body. Maybe I don’t know the right kind of mamas. I am not saying I don’t know smokin’ hot moms, or moms who respect what their bodies can/have done. But truly everyone I know has some level of body insecurity. It’s been a life long issue for me, as for many others.
I do find that the better I treat my body, the more I seem to like it.-Meredith
So just for example if I get in the habit of wine and snacks on the daily post bedtime, don’t get enough sleep, and let my exercise slip: I feel worse. Yes, I realize it’s a little ridiculous to write that out, but sometimes I know I need a kick in my own pants. Take care of your body, its the only one you get! Self care isn’t lost. Manis/pedis, too much shopping or indulging in food/booze aren’t really self care. It’s sleep, movement, and nourishment. All things we can still do this year. Well, kid dependent on that first one. Wink!
2020 Issue #2: It’s Really Hard to Disagree with Loved Ones
Remember a few years ago when before major holidays people who say things like, “Avoid religion, politics, and controversial issues at the table!” Well at the table of 2020, it sometimes feels like that is all there is to talk about. These issues have gone into the blender that is 2020 and things that were once taboo are mixed with morality, bias, and entangled in families in ways I have never before experienced. I am going to be really bold here. It is 100% ok to love someone you fundamentally disagree with. It is also 100% ok to pause or discontinue relationships that hurt you. You can do both at the same time. Some things that help:
- The 30 day snooze feature on Facebook
- Learning the phrase, “I disagree strongly, but I am going to choose to discuss this with you when you can do it civilly”
- Taking a little distance
- Changing the subject to something lighter (this doesn’t mean you’re ignoring the issue, it means you’re taking the time to remember why you love the person)
- #mute in Group me
- Praying for those that disagree with you may help you to see where both your and their biases lie
2020 Issue #3 Feeling Helpless in a Heavy World
Because of the ages of my children, the to school or not to school is heavy on my mind, like with many other families. We’ve made our decision, and for the current time, I feel at peace with it. (Another struggle of mine this year, obsessing over decisions and the weight of it all.) I still found myself consistently going down the rabbit hole of education, care disparities, and utter ugly rhetoric on social media surrounding these choices. This (added) anxiety coupled with an extra glass of wine, kids without their standard routine and peer interaction, made for a very tired, very cranky mom.
Now I have far from solved anything, but I did something I almost never do. I tried to solve a small piece of this problem myself. I started a group to connect local moms to supplemental care options, promote local businesses, and community resources. Will it be a success or a major flop? Who knows! But, the stress of the rabbit hole is a heck of a lot better when you step back and find SOMETHING to do about it.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things WITH GREAT LOVE.-Mother Theresa
So I encourage you, reader of many talents. Look at yourself and your fears. Find something you are capable of actually doing to climb a bit out of the helplessness that colors this year. Treat your body with respect and love, so that you might love it back. Establish good boundaries in relationships that are both loving and self-protective. And for the love, avoid the movie “All Is Lost”.