\u201cI can\u2019t do this anymore!\u201d\r\n\r\nI lamented to my husband by MCO week #4. The novelty of wearing an interchangeable supermom\/teacher cape has worn off by then. I was \u2013 or felt like - a hot mess, a far cry from when MCO had just started and teaching online sounded a lot more exciting.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs a mother of 3 and a teaching staff of the school where both my daughters are attending currently, I found myself being thrust into a whole new terrain.\r\n\r\nTeachers and moms are now expected to run school on our own, and run it online, too. If the internet serves me nothing but a Facebook feed to while my time previously, I will now need to be an instant online influencer of sorts on Google Classroom and a creative content creator for my students.\r\n\r\nAll these, while also keeping house, be responsible for all 3 of my children\u2019s learning and schooling, and manage my writing commitments.\r\n\r\nI soon found that I have bit off more than I can chew. Not that I have a choice.\r\nAs Headless As A Headless Chicken Gets\r\nAs the day went by, I noticed I was always rushing to do the next chore and the list was never ending! The clock well, always ticking double time. What could be so urgent, you ask? Oh loads, I assure you!\r\n\r\nStaff meetings, phone calls with students, video calls with parents, endless messages from students asking the status of their work; oh look \u2013 I need to issue an English test to my eldest today, and hey, what should I cook for lunch? Will my meat defrost in time or should I just bust a can of sardine?\r\n\r\nAnd man, my son's eyes are glued to the TV for way too long now, and I haven\u2019t the time to check out the homework list his teacher sent two weeks ago! And I have a writing deadline due\u2026 well, yesterday.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBy the time I get over our daily school staff debrief at 5pm, a few more conference calls with clients about my perpetually missed deadlines, I feel like my soul has drained out of my body by now. Too beat for anything but guess what? There are mouths to feed at 7pm! So, chop chop, let\u2019s get the stove going or those monstrous appetites that belong to tiny tummies will be spoiled by a sneaky snack of string cheese and crackers!\r\n\r\nNow, I understand that this may either sound unrealistically dramatic to you or you can totally relate. I believe some parents may be dealing with even more intense scenarios at home during the lockdown period juggling work and young children, no doubt, this is just my setting. But let it be known that I am, of course, very, very grateful to still have jobs when many are losing theirs. However, the reality is, burnouts happen and burnouts are real.\r\n\r\n\r\nNorm For Good?\r\nFor many of us, never for a day we would ever imagine seeing and living a life in lockdown in the midst of a global pandemic. We can no longer go back to our old norm. Simple conveniences like eating out or ordering in whenever we want to, hiring childcare when we can\u2019t cope, bringing the kids out for mid-week ice creams, and taking a much needed mom-break by strolling the aisles of our favourite grocer alone seem impossible now.\r\n\r\nAnd you know what? These inconveniences are going to stay for a while, possibly a long while. We will need to learn to cope with the new norm now.\r\nDo It All, Or Not At All?\r\n\u201cThis is crazy! How am I supposed to do it all?\u201d I continued crying.\r\n\r\nSeeing the frustrated exhaustion in me, my husband (bless his heart) quietly says, \u201cYou are not supposed to do it all by yourself. We, all of us here, are in this together. How can I help you?\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAnd he is right. We are living in a very special time now, definitely very different from pre-MCO days and when the circumstance is different, we cannot expect to do things the way we did before. We need time to adjust and it is OK if we don\u2019t have things together, for now.\r\n\r\n\u201cI just can\u2019t sit through another English literature class on Zoom with my daughter anymore!\u201d\r\n\r\nThat is OK. Sit out and eat cake!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cI don\u2019t want to cook another meal!\u201d\r\n\r\nThat is OK. We\u2019ll have cereal and milk for dinner (I\u2019ll have you know that my kids appreciate this combo over my 8-course meal, by the way!)\r\n\r\n\u201cI can\u2019t keep up with my children\u2019s homework as requested by the teachers, I need a break, please!\u201d\r\n\r\nAnd that is perfectly fine! We\u2019ll ask for a later date to send in.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cThis Pinterest list of 500 activities to do with my toddler is making me feel terrible about myself!\u201d\r\n\r\nThen ditch it! Your worth does not come from social-media-worthy activities, instead it is your desire and effort to create memories with your baby that counts! Let\u2019s just cuddle with that chubby little one and marvel at the rolls on his arms before he outgrows them!\r\n\r\nMoms, you feel overwhelmed with all that is going on in the household right now, and that is normal! You can\u2019t adult today and that\u2019s OK too! Go ahead and call the school day off and just snuggle in bed with your kids. How you feel in that moment of falling apart do not determine the you as an amazing mom and the many roles you play!\r\nSo it really is OK.\r\nIf you feel like throwing in the towel (or ladle) today, know that you are not alone. Oh believe you me!\r\n\r\nWe are not supposed to be able to just snap our fingers and miraculously handle this chaos. So it is alright if you do not like this restless time and be as cheery as Mary Poppins every day. You are allowed to call for a time out.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nTimes are a-changing and change is inevitable, whether we like it or not. The ones who can survive these abnormal times are those who are willing to adapt. The good news is, we are in this together! While we maintain social distancing physically, our hearts have got to hold each other closely by being empathetic and kind to one another.\r\nClosing The Gap, One Heart At A Time\r\nCheck in on a fellow mother and ask how she is managing. If your situation allows you to, bless a family with a quarantine care pack of eggs and bread (to the one who sent me this love package and the one who sent me a cup of bubble milk tea knowing I was unglamorously breaking down, THANK YOU!); ask your child\u2019s teacher how he or she is doing and offer a word of encouragement and appreciation! Many of them have their own children at home to mind too, just like you and I! There are so many ways we can show that we care.\r\n\r\nAnd speaking of appreciation... ah, that word goes a long way! When put into action, it will be a word that prevails peace at home, a word that lightens the hearts and puts spring in the steps of our frontliners, and a word that will rebuild the country and eventually, the world. A little a day goes a long way.\r\n\r\nSo if you ask me how am I different pre- and post-MCO? I\u2019d say, humbled but feeling oh-so-empowered. How about you?