Getting Through, Together
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Writing is cathartic for me, so I’m here, again. Lucky you, right? I have the day off of work and I’m doing what I love, because it brings me peace. And my goal as a writer, has always been one thing, to bring that same peace, kindness, and gratitude, to you.
I am beyond fortunate to still be able to go to work through this pandemic, but I’m still challenged daily. The stress of parenting, homeschooling, and getting my responsibilities done at work on projects, is paralyzing at times. I am the mom of two little boys, and they are cooped up in this house, with me, too. They can see, and feel, the energy I’m giving off.
Yesterday, I didn’t like what I was giving off, so I put myself in a timeout to think about the situation I was in. You know, the one we are all facing as momma bears. I thought. And then I did something with those thoughts. I wrote them down, to share with you.
Alrighty, now that I have your attention, I’m going to keep this nice and short. I’m going to give you some ideas to help you get through this time with your kiddos, alive. I’m going to enlighten you with the five magic tips I plan to incorporate, or already have, in our home.
1) Grace Over Guilt The day school was shut down, I made a plan. (Typical Type A Personality over here…) I planned out our school days, by the hour. Math and reading in the morning, along with a recess to break up the art project before lunch. Walk dogs and get mail over noon hour. Piano and quiet time from one to two thirty. You get my drift.
Yesterday, I threw out the plan.
I erased my board and scribbled out a less stringent one. I have all of the subjects we need to get through the day, but with no hours attached. I added Art. I added Games. I added Dance. I added Fun. I added more Breaks.
We are dealing with kids, not adults in a board room. They need space to breathe, just like we do. And now, as soon as I see resistance to homework for actual school, I stop. We enter into a break and have fun instead. I believe teachers are excellent at what they do.
Now is the time to give yourself some grace over guilt. When we get back to school, and we will, our teachers will get our kids back on track. Our job, as momma bears, is to survive right now and have fun while doing it.
So, drink your water, perhaps learn How-To-Floss (my niece said, “It’s not 2018, Aunty”…), and add some dazzle to your old dance moves.
2) Let Go of Perfection As the new Sheriff in town, I have a new rule: Leave The Mess For Later. I have to work in between the bum wipes, the snack requests, and the setup of activities. My work day is a constant repeat of standing, sitting, being interrupted, working, thinking, then being interrupted, again. And I had to let go of the cleanliness of our house, for my sanity.
The kids need an outlet right now, and our home is that space for them. So is yours. Let them make a mess, let them paint on the table, let them break things without getting too upset about it. Let the wall paint get chipped. Let your iPad fall. (PS – I’m still mad about this…) My living room floor is a minefield of game, Lego and blocks right now.Now is not the time to crave perfection, it’s the time to let it go.
Honour this time for what it is and let your house and material items figure out the details. You can paint after this is all over. You can replace what gets wrecked. You can’t take back yelling.
As hard as this is for me, I’m also teaching them Home Economics at the end of the day. I’ve inserted Clean Up at five o’clock, and I’ve made it enjoyable for them to help me out.
3) Leverage Your Strengths I can’t go out shopping for new toys and activity books, although Amazon has been a wonder right now. (Sorry, Kristen, for all of the extra packages coming through the Post Office right now. I’m sure you are as busy as the Christmas Season…) So, I’ve made do with what we have in the house.
I’ve become resourceful, thinking outside of the box, to keep the kids busy.Our Scrabble and Letter Boards have become Spelling Tests. Jenga and Battleship have become Critical Thinking classes. Lego, thank God for Lego, have become logic competitions. Plastic Cups above my fridge cupboard, have become moveable, breakable building blocks. Press Repeat.
Small marshmallows and toothpicks have become a building activity. Toilet paper rolls have become pieces for art projects. (By the way, I never knew how much toilet paper we would go through all being at home. Apparently, the memes had some truth to them…) Just as of lately, we pulled out Twister and created another body movement break.
We’ve moved piano lessons to virtually through FaceTime. And I’ve set up calls with their buddies and cousins. I’ve downloaded Messenger Kids to keep him connected socially. Be resourceful and keep some normalcy where you can to stay sane.
I’ve downloaded Apps and utilized live links on the internet. Our favorites right now are Starfall, Go Noodle, and Art Time with Mo Willems, author of Piggy & Gerald, and one of my favorites. I love art and am really good at it.
I’m not crazy about science projects and math. So guess what, I’m leveraging my strengths, and might I add, enjoying it while I teach it. You’ll enjoy teaching what you love. My kids are going to learn more about English, Writing, and Art during their time with me. Remember, I’m the new Sheriff in town…
4) Insert Natural Medicines I’m not talking about essential oils and voodoo, hoodoo items, although I like both. (just joking, or am I?) I’m talking about welcoming the magic of Song, Dance, Nature, Laughter and Art into your home.
All of these free items have the power to give you immediate endorphin pick-me-ups.My new, and improved, list for the day includes Dance Parties, a game of Twister, or a short fifteen minute recess. For myself, I’ve included a half hour work out in the morning to pick up my spirits. When I decided to work out of a home office three years ago, working out in a gym became a luxury. I adjusted and became resourceful.
I downloaded in-house Apps to be able to get a sweat on, without leaving my home. BeachBody OnDemand is great for a sweat session. If you’re leaning more towards Pilates or Barre, I highly recommend using The Balance Life Sisterhood App.
If you’re more of an outside-gal, I’d recommend a walk outside. Nature does wonders for a terrible, no good case of Baddayittis. Hook up the pups and go for a jog. Take out those training wheels and go for a bike ride with the kiddos. Walk slow and breathe deep, girl.
And allow laughter to enter into your home. If you live with solemn people who don’t enjoy a good laugh, tune into funny shows. Watch Ellen, stream The Office. Funny is everywhere and has the power to light your spirits.
5) Find Your Outlet And finally, welcome quiet presence into your life. Meditate, take a bath, knit, drink wine, write, create a vision board. Create and Do You.
Set boundaries for yourself around your kiddos. Yesterday, I implemented No Kids Sleeping In Our Bed and No One Allowed Out of Their Rooms Before 7 o’clock. I write and edit in the early morning, and it’s my time. I need that time to think, create, and be me. I need alone time, too. I need to keep sane during this time so that I can be the best mom I can be during the day for my kitty-cats. Boundaries will help you accomplish this.I can handle the cray-cray all day. But at some point, this momma bear needs a glass of wine and a hot bath.
So for now, stay sane, girl. Spread kindness, virtually, where you can. Reach out to those who might need a pick-me-up. And remember to take care of yourself, first.
Until Next Time,