The chaos of COVID-19 is here and life as we know it has changed pretty drastically. All large gatherings have been canceled, businesses are temporarily closing, and we have been encouraged to take part in this thing called “Social Distancing.” For some of us, the stay-at-home life is normal. For others, being confined to your home with your children each day is brand new. Some of you are ecstatic to have an excuse to stay away from people, while others of us are not sure how we are going to handle such isolation.
As we live out this season, not knowing how long it will last, I want to encourage you to give yourself some grace. Some days will be long, your kids are going to argue at some point, and you’re going to lose your patience (probably more than once). None of us have ever walked this road before, so we won’t be perfect at it. Here are a few tips for giving yourself some grace through this process:
Establish a Daily Rhythm
Kids (and adults) thrive off of predictable routines. If they know what is coming, they are more likely to handle it with ease. I realized very quickly when we began homeschooling that our routine days went so much smoother than our “fly by the seat of our pants” days. Establishing a daily rhythm will give your kids (and YOU) some predictability in the midst of chaotic change. This doesn’t mean that you have to stick to a rigid schedule or have an activity planned for every second of the day. I use the term rhythm because you can order your day without having to stick to a specific time schedule. This is the beauty of having a free and flexible schedule. A daily rhythm may look something like this:
- Free Time/Play Time
- Snack and Activity
- Outdoor Time
- Rest Time/Mom’s Work Time
- Snack and Reading
- Free Time/Play Time
- Dinner and Bedtime
By setting a rhythm in your home, you take out the guessing game and allow yourself some room to breathe.
Give Yourself a Time-Out
It is inevitable that we will lose our cool more than once with the abundance of time we are about to be spending at home with our children and away from other adults. It’s going to happen. So when it does, let yourself have a time-out. You can even tell your kids that you are sending yourself to time-out. I’ve done this before, and the look on my daughter’s face completely shifted the moment. She couldn’t believe that I was willingly disciplining myself and it allowed both of us to step out of the high emotions and think more clearly.
Put Your Phone Away
We all know how easy it is to get sucked into the world of social media on a normal day. Add a worldwide pandemic and we are literally glued to our phones. The news, the memes, the updates. We feel the need to stay connected every second of the day so that we don’t miss a thing. It’s great to stay up to date, but do you know what this does to our attitudes? It makes us snippy. It turns our children into distractions and pests because they’ve interrupted what we were doing. And I promise this won’t end well. So, put your phone away for one hour each day. Let your brain rest, let your kids talk to you and let the memes make someone else laugh for a few minutes.
Don’t Play the Comparison Game
Just like social media, the comparison game is already hard on a normal day. But being stuck at home with your kids and seeing all of the homemade activities that Susie across the street is doing with her kids, takes the comparison game goes to a whole other level. There will be a lot of moms who post pictures of their COVID-19 homeschool lessons and their beautiful Pinterest crafts and their homemade buttercream cupcakes, and that’s wonderful. But that doesn’t have to be you. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing and think that you don’t measure up. Remember that you’re kids are breathing, they are fed, they are safe, and they are loved. That’s all you need to worry about.
Where are my Parks and Rec Fans?? Donna taught us well that we should all have moments of self-care. I know this will be more challenging in the days ahead as public outings and time away from our kiddos will be scarce, but be creative! What can you do to fill your cup after the kids go to bed? Grab a new book from Amazon, find a new show to watch, learn a new hobby. If you don’t take care of yourself in the days ahead, you’ll struggle to keep up with your kiddos and persevere through these changes.
I’m cheering for you mamas! With a little grace, we will all make it through this!