Almost two years. it has been that long since COVID-19 knocked the world on its knees with fear and uncertainty. Let me ask you, how have you been? Are you able to cope, still struggling, or have you reached your wit’s end over this crisis? This pandemic may be a health concern but it also affected us economically, socially, and emotionally. So much so that personal lives went from one crisis to another. I am one of those who had to face multiple issues during this pandemic. Like some of you, I had to wear a mask of strength in my struggles.
The face of lifestyle crisis under the mask of contentment.
Job loss, business closures, and loss of income were experienced across all income groups last year. This resulted in financial struggles and lifestyle changes for everyone. In the case of our family, we had to cut down on some expenses to make sure that we don’t spend more than what we earn. This meant giving up some of the treats and perks that we’ve gotten used to in the past.
Although I don’t consider it a big deal, one couldn’t help but feel a bit of self-pity when you suddenly have to ask yourself if you can afford items that don’t even put a dent in your budget during pre-pandemic times. But it is what it is, so I simply dealt with it by telling myself that this is just temporary and life can still be good without treats that are beyond our budget. Squashing away the self-pity with a sense of contentment and finding happiness in simple things.
The face of parenting crisis hidden under a carefree smile and a show of confidence.
As parents, we all want to be good providers for our kids. But with the economic crisis, we suddenly feel unsure about our ability to provide for our children’s needs. Getting Sammy on board with our lifestyle adjustments was heartbreaking for me because as a mom I want to give her everything she wants. I also find joy whenever I see the delight on her face whenever we give her surprise treats. But this won’t happen quite as often anymore because our regular treats are going to be a bit rare for now.
Another parenting crisis that I had to deal with was helping Sammy adjust to the new learning setup brought about by the lockdown. Like most parents, the initial stages of online classes were really challenging. But as parents, it is also our job to encourage kids and help them enjoy learning. Thus I decided to brush aside the stress and difficulties I was feeling and replaced it with a carefree smile to show my daughter that we can face this challenge together and have fun with it. This carefree smile also helped boost our confidence in overcoming any challenge that we face.
Fear of COVID-19 itself is also felt by most parents like me. A year after the pandemic, we all felt the fear of the pandemic ebb away. But as the surges started again and COVID-19 infections moving closer to your circle of friends, the fear resurfaces. I’ve shed a lot of quiet tears over friends and loved ones who were lost due to Covid 19. There were also a lot of secret tears shed for my fears of getting infected. I couldn’t help but worry about my daughter if one of us or both of her parents get Covid. She is too young to cope with having both of her parents sick, hospitalized, or…… that’s something I’d rather not think about. It’s this frightening thought that keeps me vigilant in observing health protocols. It also reminds me that life is precious so we have to make the most out of it every day.
The face of family crisis hidden under a mask of courage
Our family is our strength but it can also be our weakness. The biggest blow that we got during this pandemic is tearing our family right now. My parents are going through a tough marriage crisis and as their children, we are affected too. I’m still coming to terms with this, I suppose we all are. This is why we haven’t shared this news with anyone except a handful of our closest friends.
I’ve heard about people going through some mental health issues during the pandemic. I couldn’t exactly say if this was a factor because their marriage issues started way back in my childhood. I think I was in high school when I witnessed my mom trying to take her life because of my dad’s indiscretions. My mom got through that crisis and I have a firm belief that she has the strength to get through this situation. I would rather not go into the why’s and hows of the separation. What really breaks my heart is that we couldn’t be with my mom all the time. I don’t know if it’s just concern over the spread of the virus or the trauma of an event that I witnessed as a tween that’s keeping me from going to her. This is a struggle that I am currently dealing with. My mom is our strength during tough times, but now we all need to be each other’s strengths.
As the eldest in the family, I have to be strong for all of us. That is what I am trying to do even if I feel like “walling” right now. I asked my brother to check in on our mom on a regular basis and it gives me comfort that he is with our mom in these trying times.
Depression can hit even the best of us. Some people are aware of their struggle against this condition while some are yet to recognize it. If you feel like you are not in a good place, emotionally, right now it’s OK to ask for help. There is an USAP hotline that you can call if you or anyone you know needs help. Just dial 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free) to reach the National Center for Mental Health.
Surviving the crises in a crisis
Surges and new variants of the COVID-19 tell us that the crisis isn’t over yet. We may have gotten a better grasp at handling the virus but there is no hard and fast rule in handling a life crisis. I do have some realizations though.
1. Kids can be powerful inspirations or motivators. My daughter Sammy is the most important person in my life right now. She gives me the strength to move on whenever my fears are holding me back. She also inspires me to keep working and growing as a person so I can provide better, not just material things but also good values and guidance.
One time, I had to wear a wig at a zoom conference. Sammy can't stop laughing =D
2. Always look at the bright side. As Catriona Gray said, “see situations with a silver lining”. The pandemic came with a lot of other crises attached to it. But I’m choosing not to focus on the negative side of things and be thankful for my blessings instead. Some of these blessings include the boom of my cake business, #WTFChocoLoco, and a steady stream of projects for blogging.
3. Be a blessing to others. I’ve seen both sides of the coin in this crisis, the struggling side, and the blessed side. This inspired me to be a blessing to others. I try to help whenever I can in whatever way it is. I hope that the people I’ve helped also know that I am not expecting anything in return. Being a blessing is giving unconditionally and wholeheartedly.
4. Cherish every day with your family. Life is indeed short. That is what COVID-19 has taught us. This is why I cherish every moment with my family. We may not live a perfect life but we are happy living it. As long as we are together, happy and healthy, life is just perfect.
At the end of all this, I have this “Note to self” to look back to
Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope, just fight!
And be grateful… Be grateful for the fact that you are alive, healthy, and breathing. Be grateful for this extra time with family and friends. While there is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, one thing is for sure; We will come out stronger, we will learn and grow from our mistakes and circumstances and we will be ready to fight whatever the future holds for us!
I have licenses to use all clips and music used in this video.
This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as a sponsor.