Lara Pingue is a programming editor at The Globe and Mail.
Anyone on the fence about motherhood would be forgiven if, after witnessing the utter hellfire unleashed on parents this past year, decided “nope, definitely not for me.”
It’s Mother’s Day, 2021, and the moms are not okay. At this writing, the luckiest among us are juggling homeschooling and full-time jobs while fending off an onslaught of terrible news and wondering when we might see our friends and family again.
So while I don’t have any sage words about surviving motherhood right now, thankfully my coworkers do. Here’s what they said about letting go, making the best out of a terrible situation and finding small joys in a punishing year. Happy Mother’s Day. – Lara Pingue
On carving out family time:
“One thing our kids love is having a family dinner each night. We talk about our roses and thorns, share stories, listen to music. You know what they don’t seem to miss? The frenetic drives to soccer practice or music lessons. We’ll need to strike a balance in our post-pandemic future.” – Roma Luciw, personal finance editor
“I’ve learned we all need recess. Working from home while they’re in online school has forced me to take breaks from the computer, actually gather at the table to eat lunch together and get fresh air and exercise, compared to my usual routine of sitting at my desk all day and spilling crumbs on my keyboard while I scarf down lunch.” – Lori Fazari, programming editor
On being together:
“The lockdown has really given us a chance to hang out together as a family. Of course we love each other – but after 14 months of being cooped up together, we all still like each other, which is a great relief.” – Sonali Verma, senior product manager, analytics
“When my son walks in the door from school at 3:15 or so (yes, we still have in-class instruction in B.C.), I hand him a proper snack (really a second lunch), and then I plop down on the couch next to him to watch whatever he’s into at the time – The Simpsons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, WandaVision. Even if it’s just for half an hour before I return to my computer, it’s a good check-in time and beats the usual conversation: ‘How was school today?’ ‘Fine.’ ‘What did you do?’ ‘Stuff.’” – Marsha Lederman, Globe Arts reporter
On bending the rules:
“I’ve always been militant about screen time, especially video games. But as a working mom with two kids in virtual school, I’ve had to seriously relax this stance. The reality is that they are on screens for many hours a day now, and as long as they’re also outside playing, reading, doing their schoolwork and helping out, I don’t have the time or energy to police them. It’s called pandemic parenting, and it will have to be okay, for now.” – Roma Luciw
“Pre-lockdown, I would feel bad about my kids having too much screen time. Now that doesn’t bug me so much. I have no qualms with my kids using apps like Discord or Messenger Kids. It’s the only way my kids can keep in touch with their friends and not feel isolated while they’re stuck at home.” – Belinda Lloyd, deputy foreign editor
On finding just a moment of peace:
“At the beginning of the pandemic, I spent a lot of money on things to try to keep my 3.5-year-old entertained while I have my hands full with a 7-month-old who wouldn’t nap. A bouncy castle was the most extravagant, but like most things, it turned out to be not much fun without a friend. A tablet was the only thing that has truly bought me some peace, and it has come in handy for our many bouts of virtual kindergarten this year, which my daughter pays attention to for about 30 seconds at a time.” – Claire Neary, Report on Business editor
“This past year, I’ve bought more silly toys and family-sized chips than I ever thought possible, and relied far too often on Disney+ for moments of peace.” – Kelly Cryderman, reporter
On not being Martha Stewart:
“Two words: Uber Eats. I have let go of that mom guilt many months ago – two lockdowns ago – and I am embracing the fact that at least I am supporting the restaurant industry, one click at time.” – Clare O’Hara, financial services reporter
“I’ve embraced the fact we don’t need to sit around a table at dinner time. We’re locked in together all the time. Plates on our laps, TV on is just fine. And yes, there’s dessert most nights, because why not?” – Caroline Alphonso, education reporter
“I have let go of the guilt of sometimes eating dinner in front of the TV. We do that now. And you know what? It’s fun. It’s fine.” – Marsha Lederman
“After a year of the pandemic, I finally stopped stressing about what to make for dinner and signed up for meal subscriptions. So worth the money to save my sanity.” – Chandra Severin, executive assistant
“My key takeaway: Popcorn is a delicious, one-pot solution for dinner.” – Elizabeth Renzetti, Globe columnist
What else we’re thinking about:
There is virtually no TV show or movie I won’t watch these days in my pandemic-fueled desperation for escape, which has robbed me of many, many hours of my life (you warned me, Barry Hertz – I wish I listened). Thankfully, I’ve also stumbled upon the gem Mare of Easttown, an HBO miniseries that takes everything I loved about the murder-mystery The Undoing and turns it on its head: nobody is rich, nobody is glamorous and (spoiler!) the husband definitely didn’t do it. Kate Winslet stars as a small-town detective in a career-defining role in which she looks, mercifully, exactly like the 45-year-old woman she portrays. Television at its best.
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