All posts filed under: Essay Archive

By 11 am

By 11 am, I am on the verge of collapse. On any given day. I didn’t know exhaustion until I was forced to become invincible, one day to the next. “Please, give me a minute. I am not an octopus,” I yell to my eight and five-year old boys when they hurl commands at me. Attempting to catch my breath like a first-time swimmer flapping her arms, struggling to stay afloat, struggling not to drown—this is what parenting during the pandemic feels like.  Some days, I want to cry because I have nothing left of myself to give. Not only am I parenting during a pandemic, but I have been forced to take on the role of “co-teacher” as well, to ensure that the boys are grasping some of the lessons being taught remotely. They both refuse to be in separate rooms, “away from the distraction of siblings,” as the virtual-learning handbook mandates. On the contrary, it is loud, messy, and full of distractions because they prefer to be huddled in the kitchen with me, …

Backscatter

Feedback 1. Ooooooh, girl. I don’t know how y’all parents of small children are managing all this right now. Work. Homeschooling. Loving on your boo. All your creative endeavors. There isn’t enough time in the day! Hell, I’m super stressed juggling the full-time job and two side hustles I’ve got going. My teenagers? Oh, they handle school and the chores without me having to do too much. You’ll see. Ain’t nothin’ like this independent stage. Tuh! I know one thing. I am glad as fuck that mine are older! I couldn’t imagine chasing forty and some little ass kids. If you need anything, just let me know. I’m here for you, but I’m super busy during the week so if I don’t answer, just leave me a message. 2. I’m so sorry, babe, but I can’t have open-door meetings. I just can’t. You do want me to keep my job, right? I’m the only one on the team with a child, so it’s probably best that I save the FFCRA until we really need it. …

Keeping On

My son Kyle turned seventeen the same month when the shutdown started. My husband and I planned to take Kyle and a few of his friends to RPM Raceway. It had been our long standing tradition—birthday excursions like paintball, bowling, escape rooms, and DJ lessons to name a few. Because of COVID, we cancelled our plans. Instead, we had a quiet dinner at home. Just Kyle, his boyfriend, my husband and me. I thought that in a few weeks, we would be able to celebrate the way we had in years past. That things would get back to normal.   Except, they didn’t.   Before COVID, Kyle would wake up and pick out his favorite hoodie, sweatpants and throw on his 80’s styled rim prescription glasses. A few times a week I would prepare him smoothies to get him to stay for breakfast. Some days it worked, other days I had to chase him out the front door, urging him to at least take his coat. Kyle would fly down the stairs, his tall lanky frame skipping …

Eating in Pandemic Times

“Can you look at this?” My mother asked as we sat and waited in the car for our turn at the food pantry, masks on. She shoved a piece of paper in my hand. It was a letter from a life insurance company. My mom recently turned 73, which makes us 38 years apart. When my father died in 2003, she relented and purchased her own policy. Month after month, she religiously pays $120 for a $100,000 payout when she dies. “It’s just a letter stating that they updated your address,” I said in Vietnamese. “I told them a few years ago to add your brother Long to the policy, but somehow they never did!” she exclaimed and sighed. For all the things my mother and I talk about, life insurance is typically not one of them. I asked her what she wanted done for her funeral. “Oh, don’t worry about it. I already purchased a plot!” This was news to me. I had no idea that she’d already prepared for her death. It was …

School-to-Prison Pipeline: Disabled Black Indigenous Boys in the Time of Covid-19

RESOURCE: Are Native Children Being Pushed Into Prison? An infographic produced by the National Congress of American Indians http://www.ncai.org/policy-research-center/research-data/prc-publications/School-to-Prison_Pipeline_Infographic.pdf All poetry & collage by Se’mana Thompson Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Raising Mothers, please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution to help us remain ad-free. If even a fraction of subscribers signed up to contribute $1 per month, Raising Mothers could be self-sustaining!