First, just take a minute. If you’re like me, your brain is coming at you full-steam right now, with fearful thought after fearful thought, and you’re up in the middle of the night worried about your family and how Covid-19 will affect your precious babies, your elderly parents, your partner, your brothers and sisters, your friends, and your neighbors…
Just. Take. A. Minute. Take a giant deep breath. Now another…
Do it until you can literally feel the oxygen in your brain start to relax you. Now do it again. Do it until you feel your shoulders start to drop and tell yourself, “I WILL GET MY FAMILY THROUGH THIS.” Now tell yourself again, “I WILL GET MY FAMILY THROUGH THIS.”
Yes, this is a different world than we woke up in just a few short days ago, but with some critical mental preparation and some very intentional parenting, we’ll be rocking the next few weeks with more strength and passion than Shakira at the SuperBowl.
So, by now, if you’re able, you have likely gathered the essential supplies you need, and you’re headed into the next few weeks with a plan to take care of the physical needs of your family. I’m going to share with you why as moms WE HAVE TO APPROACH THIS TIME WITH THE PROPER MENTAL PREPARATION AS WELL. We need to be ready with a plan to handle several weeks completely housebound with children during a worldwide pandemic. (Which sounds absolutely unbelievable even as I write this.)
Here’s what we know for sure:
It will be a time of fear and uncertainty.
Here’s something else we know for sure:
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE AN ATTITUDE OF STRENGTH, PEACE, AND CALM AROUND OUR HOUSES.
How in the heck do we do that in this crazy time?
We approach it with a three-step attack:
- Take care of yourself.
- Have incredible communication with your partner.
- Make this time as fun as possible for the children.
WE HAVE TO BE STRONGER THAN THE FEAR TO SET THE RIGHT TONE FOR OUR FAMILIES.
- Take Care Of Yourself
This is the hardest one of all, but absolutely the MOST important. There’s no way you’ll be able to make it through the next few weeks if you don’t carve out space to take care of yourself. Now, I have to say, I absolutely hate it when people say that to me. I feel like they’ve never spent a single day in their lives at home with a child. Anyone who has spent time with a child knows right away what I mean – as we sit in pjs at 3pm with our house and with our sanity crumbling around us.
This is a hard one, but it WILL WORK. Carve out space IN THE MORNING. Like EARLY. Like-before-the-kids-wake-up-early. I know, it’s so dang hard, but everything is going to be hard the next few weeks. Do this for your family, it will change the whole day.
Wake up one to two hours before the kids wake up. Do whatever you love to do with that time. It is YOURS. Enjoy a nice quiet, HOT cup of coffee, read your favorite magazine, exercise, or take a long shower or bath completely uninterrupted. Take a moment to express gratitude for your families in whatever way works for you: meditation, prayer, sitting quietly. Listen to the birds. Enjoy the sunrise. Watch the Bachelor. NO JUDGEMENT! Do something that is uniquely, truly for YOU. Something you love to do, something that makes your heart happy outside of your family, whatever that is.
Now, guess what? By the time the kids get up YOU’VE ALREADY HAD TIME FOR YOURSELF! You’re not “chasing” time all day to get them to nap or to bed for the night so you have a few precious moments to yourself.
Bonus, you’ve also already taken care of your most basic mom needs:
- A shower
- Hot coffee
- Peeing alone
Most importantly though, you’ll be in the headspace to handle whatever the day throws at you.
- Have INCREDIBLE Communication With Your Partner
This one’s big. Even if you struggle with communication in your relationship right now, let your guard down. Have an honest conversation about communication, and set aside the time to talk every single day.
Talk About Work
Let’s just admit it. It is completely bananas that we’re expected to have two working parents and no childcare right now. But, we will adapt. There are a lot of moving parts to two parents working from home and taking care of children at the same time. Sit down together at night and set priorities and a schedule for the following day. Know who will work when and who’s watching the kids. Be flexible and respectful. We all have important roles in life. Find out what phone calls, video meetings, or work time is needed for both of you, and try to make time for at least each of your top three items every day.
Talk About a Plan
Have a plan for how you’re going to approach the next few weeks. Our plan? Our plan isn’t just to survive. It’s to THRIVE. That’s right. We’re being intentional from the very beginning about how we want this time to go. We want to use the extra time to work out every day, have fun, and cherish the extra time with the kiddos. Our goal is to emerge from this crisis healthier as individuals and stronger as a family. Set goals for your family during this time, and talk about them together. It will help everyone move toward something positive.
- Make This Time Fun For the Children
If you have young children, you need to be especially sensitive to how they’re feeling right now. My sweet four-year-old daughter has TONS of questions about what is happening. Why is Daddy home from work? Why can’t we go to the store? What is a virus? Am I going to get sick?
We can be concerned. I’m going to say that again, we CAN be concerned. We are moms. We can be fearful. We can be downright terrified. This is a scary thing the world is facing right now, so whatever your personal level of fear is, that is okay!
What we can’t do is let that fear come out as aggression or negativity toward our children or our partners. IT’S HARD. I’m writing this right now as a reminder for friends as well as myself. I’ve already caught myself being way over-amped after watching the news this week, and, as a result, overreacting to something the kids did. I’m deciding now to get out ahead of it because I know, if I don’t, I can’t imagine what the next few weeks with all of us in the house is going to be like.
So, what can we do? Make it a goal to know the fear is there, but do not allow it to affect your interactions with your families. In fact, you’re going to turn this situation around and see this time as a blessing. You get extra precious time with your children. If you and your family members are healthy, use this time to make good, positive memories.
So, go out there today and make it the best day yet! You can do this, and, more importantly, your family needs you to do this. Believe me, I am struggling to be my best mom-self every day. But each day is getting a little better as I take care of myself, keep the communication up with my partner, and make the time fun for the kiddos.
WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY OVERTAKE US. WE ARE GOING TO BE STRONG FOR OUR FAMILIES AND NOT JUST SURVIVE. WE’RE GOING TO THRIVE!
NOW GO THRIVE!