You Are Not Alone 

Annie Muller // Tales From the Trenches


April 22  

Once again, I find myself needing to write in a time so unfamiliar to us all, it’s hard to know where to start. When this all began, I was drinking in the love of my family, thrilled to be unscheduled, and happy for the slow pace of life, the board games, and movie nights—filled with gratitude to be surrounded by these wonderful people.

Now we are headed into week six, and I can say with certainty, the honeymoon is over. I love my children, and I love this vocation, but no other season has ever made me feel quite so inadequate and bad at my job—and since I had six of my kids in eight years, there were some years of serious feelings of inadequacy.

The other day, while I was on a work call, my eleven-year-old suddenly jumped up on the coffee table and started making loud celebratory noises, in a “take that” fashion for winning a board game against a sibling. I should have gently asked the patient to hold, while gently admonishing my son to please get off of the table and quiet his voice. Instead, I muted my phone and yelled at him to get out of the living room right this second and use his stinking head! I am on the phone all day, and apparently, it is an invitation for all of my children to yell, argue, sing loudly, or watch Star Wars on maximum volume. Granted, their father is also often on the phone, but they literally never go into his office to ask inane questions or to have a fight refereed.

We are now mothers and teachers, something most of us did not sign up for. The handouts, the emails, the tears . . . How on earth do these teachers deal with my children on a daily basis? God bless them all! There is, of course, the worry that they are learning enough, that their work is done well, but mostly I just wonder how we can get the work done in the least amount of time, and why haven’t they just called it summer already?

Then there is the food: so much food. The great irony, of course, is that we have never needed more food in the house, and yet it has never been more inconvenient to get to the store. I often have a slight sense of dread when I think about planning and preparing dinner, but dinner under quarantine is a whole new ball game. PB&J’s for all . . . wine for mommy.

Why is this what I choose to write about? Because I think at this stage in the game, it’s good to know you are not alone! It’s okay if the initial novelty of it has worn off. It’s okay to be sick of your kids and wish things would change. And most importantly, it’s important to know that the only one who thinks you are failing is you, and that lie comes straight from the devil. 

This too shall pass, and on the other side we will have a new sense of gratitude for our families, for the Holy Mass, and for all things public. In the meantime, hang in there, dear mothers. Christ is truly risen, and our hope and joy are secure!

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