Hey Mama, How You Doin’?


Hey Mama, How You Doin’? I imagine myself asking you that question like Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S because it might make you laugh and give us a chance to talk lightheartedly about anything but how we’re really doing.

But I really want to know. How are you doing?

Are you lonely? Me too. We nod in our heads in agreement that the extra family time has been so wonderful, but those nods slow as our eyes drift to the ground. It hasn’t been a bed of roses. Are you weary of the constant noise? Do you long for a conversation with an adult? Do you feel guilty for feeling like this? Yeah, me too.

Are you worried? Me too.

I don’t recognize this new world we’ve found ourselves in. How will we help our kids navigate a world that is unfamiliar to us? It’s just so heavy. How do we make sense of it? I’ve emptied myself to make sure their world goes on as normal. Their little eyes are always watching. Do I look relaxed to you? I’m trying to stay breezy in front of them. (I hope you laughed at my second F.R.I.E.N.D.S reference in an attempt to lighten the mood.)

Are you exhausted? Me too.

There’s just so much laundry, cleaning, dishes, vacuuming, mopping, snacks, snacks, and snacks. I’m drowning in the mundane tasks of housekeeping. Nothing to break the monotony. You too? Do you fall into bed exhausted and then lay awake thinking of all the things you didn’t get to? Girl, if I had a hack, I’d share it with you. I don’t know how everyone else is getting it done. I suspect they’re not either.

How’s your marriage doing?

I know it was already hard to find time for each other between the kids and their activities, but it seems impossible now, doesn’t it? We both nod that dating your spouse is important and a top priority, but…how? We’ve had to reimagine “date night” in a world where we can’t really go anywhere. I’d be happy to share our ideas if you need them. I really do think it’s important.

Are your kids okay?

I know this is hard for us to talk about. You want to brag on your kids, share their accomplishments, but they’re struggling and you sure could use a listening ear. A nonjudgmental ear. It’s been a hard year for them, too. They’re learning at much too early an age that the world is not as predictable as they’d like. This is where our first tears fall, but I’m so glad we talked about it because you’ve got a great idea I’m going to try as soon as I get home.

Then, we carefully dab our eyes so as not to ruin the mascara we applied for the first time in six months. This was really nice — talking with another human. Did we take that for granted before? I guess I never had a reason to think that should be considered a luxury. We laugh but then quickly return to a serious tone. This isn’t a luxury. This is a necessity. Talking with humans. Adult humans.

Before we go, we pause and say, “Thank you.” I feel lighter. Just knowing I’m not alone. Knowing that you’re in it with me. I’ll return to the same house in disarray and the same kids asking for a snack, but now it doesn’t feel so heavy. We set the bar way too high for ourselves given the current circumstances. I wouldn’t have known had I not talked to you.

Friends, you’re not alone. We (as I gesture wildly at all the mothers) feel it. When it feels heavy, reach out. I promise you’ll find an understanding ear. I promise you’ll feel lighter when you let the true things out. Let’s check on each other. And don’t stop after that first “How you doin’?” Ask it again. And let it out.


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