This week I snapped. In the middle of a global pandemic. I curled up on my bathroom floor, ugly cried for half an hour, and called my mom grieving because I couldn’t do it all. Deep down I know that this global life pause has the potential to produce so much beauty within mankind as we work through this crisis together, but this week I swam solo, desperately keeping my head above the water. If there is an inner work going on, which I’m sure there is, I have a very low capacity to give it the attention that it deserves in order to become something meaningful. So many are going stir crazy with all the down time that they have now in the quarantine, but I know there are many moms out there who, like me, suddenly have to carry more responsibility than they feel is humanly possible for one person. This is the person I am speaking to right now. What you need to know is that it’s ok to not be your best right now.
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The most life changing advice that I received all week was this, “It’s ok to NOT be at your most productive during a f**king global pandemic.” As a high performer and my own worst critic, these words gave my mind invaluable liberation. I could finally see the larger picture. My personal life was in the messy middle of responding to the chaos that’s happening on a global scale. The world is in a crisis, so if my dishes aren’t done everyday or if my kid is wearing the same clothes for the third day in a row, it’s not because I’m a lazy, disorganized mom. It’s because, like everyone else, I’m working to figure out a new normal while juggling big responsibilities in a new uncharted way of life. We are in the messy middle part of finding good routines, learning how to homeschool our kids, and working from home.
To some, this may feel impossible.
But remember, this “figuring it out” part is supposed to be messy.
And yes, it’s hard.
You’re one human trying to do the full time job of multiple people while adjusting to a new way of life in mandated isolation. The world is changing before us, and you cannot expect to know how to change with it seamlessly, and remain an excellent parent, teacher, employee, cook, counselor, cleaner, friend, and wife.
The best advice that I can give at this point in the isolation journey as a parent is to be proactive, not reactive.
- Build an ever-evolving routine: Create a schedule for the day the night before with the understanding that it may utterly fail upon execution. But what it will do is create loose structure and expectations for the day with your kids. It will answer a couple frequently asked questions like when is lunch or when can I play video games? Take it one step further and list out the questions that your kids ask you multiple times a day, and write out the answers. This will eliminate the number of interruptions you will have, and give you the freedom to have two consecutive thoughts to yourself! Hello, more brain space!
- Don’t ignore your feelings: For the love of all tired and weary moms out there, it’s ok to cry. Allow yourself to acknowledge your emotions. Emotions are in motion. It’s healthy to recognize them and give them an outlet. Oftentimes we ignore them and don’t recognize how our body is processing circumstances until it’s too late and suddenly our back goes out or we get a migraine. By addressing your feelings, you are making yourself stronger and avoiding a meltdown or burnout. You can practice this through meditation, prayer, or even talking with a friend or therapist.
- Find peace in the messy middle: Remind yourself that the journey is never perfect in anything. During the quarantine, we will have many opportunities to autocorrect as we start new habits and routines attempting to settle into this new life. We will learn what’s best, and what’s not for our family. Some ideas will stick, and some won’t. Some plans will work great, and then overtime not so much. The messy middle is constantly evolving and improving. Learning to be adaptable during this time is key to finding more peace.
Photo Credit :: Lauren Samuels Photography