Bradenton Means Business: Empty Spaces

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Amber Isaac

This is me, Amber Isaac, inside an empty MI-BOX container on March 4. I am the owner of MI-BOX Moving and Mobile Storage and I was doing a video clip for social media. I was trying to appeal to all the mommas out there doing it all and adding the stress of a move or a remodel on top of it. I have three kids of my own and I know trying to balance everything is a challenge. This was one of my first video clips, which I find totally awkward, so I thought I’d start with an audience I felt connected to and I understood. I simply wanted to say, “I get you and I am here for you.” That is what I was thinking and trying to convey to the moms of my community on that day.

Fast forward a month, now I’m hiding in empty MI-BOX containers to sneak away from 3 kids virtual schooling at home while I try to simultaneously run a small business. I am only half kidding, as you can see in some of my lighthearted “Think Outside the Box” videos I made during the first week of social distancing.

I am a creative person in a portable storage world, so I typically try to think outside the box – pun intended – and figure out how to blend those two things. The week I made the fun videos was an extended spring break week for the kids before virtual school started.  Again, I had no idea what the next week would bring. My kids are at three different schools with eighteen teachers between them. To say the weeks have been overwhelming would be a major understatement and I know I am not alone. This has been my favorite meme to sum it up…

Just like Sue, I signed up for motherhood, but this was not in the contract. Have you ever heard the saying with kids “the days are long, but the years are short?” That no longer applies. The days are long, the month is longer and if I think about finishing the school year like this I might cry. No thank you corona. I do not want to participate. I did not sign up for this. A small piece of my soul dies each time I attempt to help with Algebra or Chemistry. And don’t even get me started on IXL.

“We are all finding our way through uncertainty and that looks different for all of us.”

It is true we did not sign up for this, but we are in the trenches figuring it out and making it work because that’s what moms do. There have been so many joyful moments I will always cherish in this, but there have been an equal number of “Jesus take the wheel,” moments I would like to forget and that’s okay. These little people we created will be okay because we love them fiercely. They are learning resilience, flexibility, and important real-life lessons during this time.

This is a time to give yourself grace and leave the judgement at the door. We are all finding our way through uncertainty and that looks different for all of us. Some of us are fortunate to still be working but are struggling with how to homeschool children at the same time. Some of us are fortunate enough to have time off and still have job security but are extroverts and struggling to be at home. Some of us are cut out to spend all day at home with our children and some of us are better parents for going to work every day. Some of us are worried about how we will pay our bills and some of us are worried about a high risk or elderly family member. 

So, my heart goes back to all the moms trying to figure this out, I get you and I am here for you.

I am here to tell you –

You are doing a good job.

It’s okay if your kids are sleeping in so you can have a few productive hours in the morning.

It’s okay if your kids are watching too much TV or are on electronics.

It’s okay if someone didn’t finish their schoolwork today because the frustration was just too much.

It’s okay if cereal is for dinner because that is the best you have today.

It’s okay if Bobby stayed in his pajamas all day.

It’s okay if you are doing it different from Karen down the street with the whiteboard.

It’s okay if little Suzy didn’t get in her PE today.

It’s all okay.

Now I look at that photo of me standing in the MI-BOX container and I see the empty space. It reminds me that every day, despite the challenges, we have a choice on how we will fill our space. When we are packing up a house for a move, we decide what will go with us and get packed in the container and what no longer serves us, and it’s time to let go of. What will you fill your space with? What will stay when this is all over and what are some things you have learned you can get rid of? There are lessons to learn in everything. Let this empty container be your reminder of all the intangibles we’ve been gifted with and fill your space with the silver linings. Let the rest go.

Amber Isaac is the Owner/Operator of Mi-Box Moving & Mobile Storage in Bradenton, FL.

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