In normal times, Mother’s Day is an occasion to appreciate and honor the moms in our lives for everything they do — from doctoring skinned knees, to dispensing life wisdom, to going to work each day to support the family. Of course, this year is different. The coronavirus pandemic may be disrupting our usual plans for the holiday, but it’s also giving us more reasons than ever to appreciate them.
Here’s what Mother’s Day looks like this year.
Women on the Front Lines
Women have always played key roles, both at home and in the workplace. During the pandemic, that’s truer than ever before, with the majority of the country’s essential workforce made up of women. Surveys have found that 77% of health care workers in the U.S. are women, and women make up 52% of all essential workers.
At the same time, women are working harder than ever at home as they pick up the lion’s share of childcare with kids home from school. One survey found that 28% of women report working three to four hours a week planning or managing their children’s education, and a quarter say they spend around the same amount of time actively teaching or facilitating their schooling.
“I feel overwhelmed,” says mom Sandy Williams of Olympia, Washington. “Working full time while trying to manage an extremely confusing distance learning program for my kids has been the thing that has challenged me most during this pandemic.”
A New Appreciation For Mom During COVID-19
Whether it’s the pressures of lockdown or the difficulty of not being able to visit loved ones, the COVID-19 pandemic is giving many people a new perspective on what they appreciate about their mothers.
“As an only child, and (with) my son, Riley, (being) my parents’ only grandchild, it breaks my heart to be apart from my mom during this pandemic,” says Honolulu resident Lynn Araki-Regan, who can’t fly to visit her parents on the nearby island of Maui. “We talk and text. I am blessed to have my 84-year-old dad and 86-year-old uncle who are there for her. At 83, my mom still goes to her office to work, goes food shopping during kupuna (“grandparent”) hours, keeps busy watching K-dramas, and cooks dinner for them.” She was grateful for the friends who check on her mom, recalling a time when her mother ran out of rice and couldn’t find any. “My friend Satoko shared some of her rice with my mom,” Araki-Regan says. “For that kind gesture, I will be forever grateful.”
Kris Bordessa, author of Attainable Sustainable, has been inspired by her mother’s resilience during COVID-19.
“My mom is sheltering in place by herself in California,” says Bordessa. “She amazes me, in her ability to just roll with this. She’s a gardener at heart, but she’s increasing the amount of food she’s growing in her backyard. She’s figuring out (or remembering?) how to make do with what she has on hand. She’s shifted easily into using technology to keep in touch with friends and family. I see such strength in her.”
Many people, like Elizabeth Loomis of Palm Springs, California, say the pandemic is giving them a new perspective on what their mothers have experienced during their lifetimes. “My mom is tough,” says Loomis, who is sheltering with her mother, Maureen. “She lived through WWII in England (where they cut up newspaper for toilet paper and only had one egg a week) and every war after that. To her? This is no big thing, a temporary inconvenience. I am glad we are together. This is valuable time to spend with her for the lessons she has learned and can share with me. Patience, fortitude, optimism and hope.”
A New Normal for Mother’s Day
From brunch at her favorite restaurant, to flying home for a family gathering, many people are finding that their Mother’s Day traditions aren’t an option this year. Instead, families are getting creative with virtual celebrations, flower deliveries, and special take-out meals.
A local tea room provided the answer for Elizabeth Hanes, when it offered its full tea service packaged for curbside pickup.
“I am picking up a complete afternoon tea from the St. James Tea Room, and we’ll enjoy it on the terrace,” says Hanes, who lives with her mother, Joann Holmes, in Albuquerque, N.M. The menu includes sweet and savory goodies, scones, clotted cream, tea sandwiches, and a variety of teas.
And remember that you don’t have to wait for Mother’s Day to do something nice for your mom — especially now. Worried about and unable to visit her mother, who has cancer and lives alone in Long Island, N.Y., Boston-based Chelsea Lowe arranged for deliveries.
“She’s my mom, so if she needs or even wants anything, I try to get it. When she was having trouble finding someone to shop, I mail ordered ready-made soup and other delicacies. I also ordered a fruit basket, figuring she was having trouble getting fresh produce,” she says. “I’ve sent my mother so many little things that she’s urged me to count her upcoming toilet paper delivery as her Mother’s Day gift this year.”
Keep in mind, if you’re ordering a gift, don’t forget about delayed delivery times, and shop for special Mother’s Day deals soon.
Ilima Loomis is a freelance writer and journalist who specializes in writing about health care, HR, science, travel, and Hawaii. You can find more of her work at ilimaloomis.com. Ilima is a regular contributor to the RxSaver blog.
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