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Samantha Stephenson explains the real power of self-care for moms during the pandemic.

It’s okay to hide in the shower. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

The first time I did it, guilt eclipsed my enjoyment of my brief escape. I felt selfish letting the rush of the water drown out the wails of injustice and the piercing shrieks of joy in the living room. And yet, these showers have become my COVID oasis, a mini-retreat from cycle of responsibilities that dominates mom life in quarantine.

Reveling in these stolen moments alone doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids. Brokering peace and standing in as a human jungle gym all day long were tough before these walls became our whole world.

In the time Before, we had play dates with friends and dinners with family. We explored nearby parks and examined wild creatures up close at the zoo. Rays of light broke through the gray sameness, making this time when the kids are so very small glisten in its sacredness. In their absence, the day-to-day is less shiny, and I’m left straining to see. I miss the brightness.

And that is okay. It is more than okay, actually, because what we are living right now is not how we are meant to be. This is not who we are meant to be. We are made for relationship, for community.

Togetherness matters.

This is why a gym class is more effective than workout videos and feeling the reverberations of a concert is more powerful than watching the performance from your living room. It’s not the food we consume, but the experience of dining together that makes nights out at a restaurant special. Kneeling, worshipping, praying -- these acts take on a different character when we join in them side by side. We were made to live this life together.

Of course we want to protect the vulnerable. I wonder, though, whether we might look back on this as a time when we were so afraid of dying that we gave up what makes life worth living.

It’s okay that I’m hiding in the shower, and it’s okay if you are, too. It’s okay if there are moments each day that we don’t do life gracefully (which, by the way, is true even when we aren’t living through a pandemic). We need moments to press pause, even in these slower days. We need space to embrace the quiet graces.

Without that space, I only hear the screaming of tantrums and the lies of the devil.

How are you finding the sun these days? I am treasuring the small things. Sips of hot coffee. Long, slow mornings with no rush out the door. All the extra pockets of family time we’d otherwise have missed. So many gratuitous memories sprinkling our lives with unexpected joy.

Gratitude is slow and quiet. It can rush like a waterfall, sudden and overwhelming, but more often it’s a trickle. My soul needs time to soak it in and be filled. So I stand here a little longer and let it wash over me.

Will we look back on this as a time when we were so afraid of dying that we gave up what makes life worth living? #catholicmom

Copyright 2020 Samantha Stephenson
Image: Karolina Grabowska (2020), Pexels