Pandemic-exhausted moms gather in an empty field and let out a collective primal scream
The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but there are certain groups of people who have faced particularly intense challenges these past two years. Healthcare workers? For sure. Teachers? Definitely. Parents? Um, yes.
Moms specifically? Yesssss.
It's hard to describe how hard navigating the pandemic with kids has been. Figuring out childcare when schools and daycare centers shut down, managing kids' remote or hybrid schooling, constantly making decisions about what's safe and what's not, dealing with the inconsistency and chaos of it all, weighing risks with who is vaccinated and who isn't—none of it has been easy. Many parents are also raising kids with mental, emotional, behavioral or physical challenges that have only been made harder by pandemic life.
COVID-19 has forced us to give up and/or alter the systems we rely on to keep our lives running smoothly, and because moms tend to take on the lion's share of child-rearing and logistical household management, we've felt those changes intensely. And at this point, heading into the third year of pandemic uncertainty, we're exhausted. Wiped out. So done.
That's why when editor Lucy Huber shared that her online moms group had invited everyone to an empty field to scream, it resonated with so many:
If you're wondering what things are like for parents right now, someone in my online moms group invited everyone to a Facebook event that is just going to an empty field and screaming and a LOT of people RSVPed yes.— Lucy Huber (@Lucy Huber) 1642034660
Some days we just want to scream because it feels like we can't do anything else. We need to vent somewhere, let out some of this tension and frustration and exhaustion we're carrying around, and we don't want to take it out on our families. The idea of getting together with other moms who get that feeling is incredibly appealing.
The group Huber mentioned actually did this, gathering at a high school in the Boston area on the evening of January 13. Around 20 moms showed up and participated in a group scream session led by licensed therapist Sarah Harmon, according to GMA.
Looks cathartic, doesn't it?
The idea of a primal scream isn't exactly new. In fact, The New York Times set up a "primal scream" hotline for parents to call and scream or cry or vent about anything they feel like getting off their chest. The hotline number is 212-556-3800, and you can let it all out for a full minute.
"Any of our readers or anyone who is not a reader can call to scream, laugh, cry," said the Times' editor at large Jessica Bennett, according to WCBS Newsradio. "We've been hearing for months now about how women have been disproportionately affected in the pandemic and we've been hearing about parents who are struggling to manage work and child care."
Anyone can utilize the primal scream hotline, but most of those who have called in have been women. Shocker.
Ironically, Huber herself wasn't able to attend the in-person scream session because she had to put her toddler to bed. That's how it is, and part of why the scream space is needed in the first place. Even under normal circumstances, mothers need an occasional space to vent. In pandemic times? Absolutely vital.
Really, anyone could probably benefit from finding a place to scream right now, whether it's to the air in the middle of an empty field, into a pillow in a closet or to a random someone on the end of a newspaper's hotline. Times are hard, folks. Let it out, let it out, let it out.
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