There are piles of laundry dispersed throughout the house. The sink is filled with dishes. You’re prepping for a conference call while simultaneously aiding your little one with their homeschool lesson. You walk past the mirror and barely recognize the woman staring back at you. You’re on edge and everyday is a never-ending cycle of cooking, Zoom calls, and pretending that everything is normal. And the truth is- none of this is normal. If this sounds familiar, that’s because this is all of us.
To be honest, I struggled a bit writing this because, for a moment- I felt that anything ‘Wellness’ related had to be rosey. Well, Wellness isn’t eternal ‘positivity’. To be well means to be honest- brutally honest. Sometimes shit ain’t right. Call it out. Pretending that all is well is, not only disingenuous, it’s counterproductive. Wasting time pretending everything is fine is wasting time that could be used to find solutions to whatever problem you’re denying but I digress…
I love my kids more than life itself. Everything that I do is, somehow, motivated and inspired by them. My greatest memories involve them and I am confident that my future will be filled with even greater. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a ball of emotion. One moment, I’m slightly relieved by the new found stillness and simplicity of life but the next moment- I’m frozen by racing thoughts of what our future may hold. What will our new normal look like?
I strive to give the best of myself to my children. They didn’t ask to be here and deserve a mother fully committed to their growth and wellbeing with love. I try to exercise patience and remember to give them grace knowing that that the little bit of wisdom that I have is from years of trial and error. But lately, I’ve been short. It doesn’t take much to set me off. I’ve found myself being less affectionate, more likely to dismiss my oldest to his room, and/or raise my voice. I shamefully had to have a meeting with myself to check myself.
I realized that:
Mama is tiyad.
Mama needs her space.
Mama is overworked.
Mama could use some help.
As the saying goes- you can’t pour from an empty vessel. And, in the past several weeks of sheltering in place- I did nothing to replenish my spirit. Self-care– girl, what was THAT?! For someone who preaches the importance of self-care, I feel like a complete hypocrite. And that doesn’t sit well with me. So, I’m actively making some changes to remedy that. If you find yourself in a similar space, I’ve shared those tweeks below.
We’re all accustomed to being forgiving, understanding, and compassionate to others. While that’s important-it’s even more crucial to give yourself grace. We’re living in unprescentend times; be especially kind to yourself as you navigate challenging times. When those negative, unkind, and critical voices in your mind start to chime in- make your duty to counter those with positive thoughts.
Different times call for different measures.
Gone are rigid schedules and inflexible deadlines. With children in the home (and being abruptly thrust into the role of their primary educator), productivity measures deserve a brand new scale. Don’t hold yourself to the same standard that you had before. Things have changed and so must expectations.
Children know and understand far more than we give them credit for. I’m always surprised at how intuitive my 5 year old is. When things aren’t ‘right’, he usually senses it and questions/addresses the changes. I find it’s always in our best interest to be up front with our kids especially now. Their lives have been just as disrupted as ours (i.e. distance learning, cancelled birthday parties/graduations/etc) and we owe it to them to be as transparent as possible.
We don’t expect our electronics to function days on end without recharging, why do we expect that of ourselves? I’ve started putting my kids to bed a bit earlier to give myself some alone time. In that hour, I watch something other than children’s programming, read a book, or catch up with friends without being in earshot of my human tape recorder. Commit to at least an hour per day of doing something just for YOU.
The news sucks. Turn it off. There’s a difference between being informed and suffering emotional abuse at the hands of the current news cycle. While the COVID-related news and CDC recommendations are constantly evolving- there is little to learn by being constantly connected to the news. To take that a step further, spend some time disconnected from social media. Although social media have always played a large role in our lives, most of us have been glued to the different social media outlets in pathologic proportions. One article cites that we’ve collectively increased our social media consumption by 20%- yikes!