What’s a Mom to Do? Six Practical Things to Keep You Grounded
I want you to know that I am here for you. This is a very difficult and scary time for all of us, and especially hard on you moms. Your kids and teens are going to be home from school and quarantined in your homes for several weeks at least… And the hardest part is that we just don’t know when we will get past all of this.
I feel for you moms. This is going to completely mess up your day-to-day schedule and beyond. Most of us have had to cancel our fun plans for spring break and our teens are disappointed and we are too.
This is really hard because moms like structure, schedules, and certainty. The coronavirus has pulled the rug out from underneath us. Anxiety feeds on the unknown and we are surrounded by it. If you listen to the news for even one-minute, fear and anxiety can overtake us. Besides the coronavirus, there are many other worries.
How am I going to get my work done?
How long are my kids going to be out of school?
What am I going to do with a bored teenager(s) in the house?
How are we going to pay our bills?
How am I going to stay sane?
Will I ever be able to buy hand sanitizer and toilet paper?
I hear you. In this ezine, I will give you 6 practical things that you can do to stay grounded.
What’s a Mom to Do?
1. Stay steady
I remember when 9/11 happened and I was glued to the TV and watching the same horrible videos over and over again. My daughter had just started Kindergarten and I held her little hand tight in mine as we walked to school. Though I obviously was an adult, I was rattled and shaken. Then I called my mom. I don’t remember what she said but I remember how I felt after talking to her. She was strong, steady, and she was going about her day. It wasn’t that she had her head in the sand but her steadiness conveyed to me, “We will be okay and we will get through this.” This was such a huge gift to me. She had lived through World War 2 and the Great Depression. She knew this to be true.
Moms we have gotten through many crises in our lifetime and have been okay. Now it’s our turn to step up and be steady for our kids. The greatest gift we can give them is not our words as much as our steadiness. We want to convey that, “We will be okay and we will get through this.”
Now to be able to do this we have to take extreme care of ourselves, which are points 2-6.
2. Take small breaks
If you are going to be steady you need to take personal breaks and (news) breaks.
You need your personal time. If that is shutting the door to your room and letting your family know that you are taking personal time. It could be going out in your backyard for even five minutes. Do this especially when your teen is driving you crazy. Don’t get into it with your edgy daughter or son. Just excuse yourself and tell them you need a break.
Take a (news) break. Much of the newscast is repetitive and staged to be alarming. Don’t leave the TV on during the day, especially the news stations. Be mindful of what you are talking about during the day. The more you talk about what you are worried about, the more you worry. Worry and fear will grow if you feed it. Find your best thought and choose that as your thought of the day. I am grateful we are all healthy. We will get through this.
3. Hold on to your daily rituals
Your daily rituals keep you grounded. In a time of crisis, you need them more than ever. Don’t skip them. It’s easy to get sucked into the family to-dos and chaos. But everyone in your family will lose if you skip your rituals.
What are your daily rituals? Is it taking the dog for a walk? Is it having your cup of coffee and having your quiet time? Is it meditation, prayer or your yoga practice? Is it journaling? Is it going for a run or doing your exercises? Is it drinking a cup of tea and reading a book in the evening?
Keep doing your daily rituals. It will help you feel normal. And you need to feel normal if you are going to be steady.
Even though this is a time of social distancing this does not mean that we are disconnected. This is a time we need to be intentionally connecting with our BFFs, friends, and family. This is definitely a time we want to maintain our spiritual connection.
4. Seek beauty
I love flowers and spring is my favorite season. Last weekend I had an amazing hike at the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. There were yellow daffodils everywhere. All the trees were budding with white and pink blossoms. I enjoyed walking alongside a beautiful flowing river. It was absolutely gorgeous. In the back of my mind, I knew that later that day I would be flying back to Houston. And I could feel the worry pushing to be center stage. But that worry was silenced the more I became present to what was right before my eyes. The beauty of spring in the mountains calmed my soul. As the chatter in my mind quieted I could hear the geese. They were extremely noisy, and a couple I passed on the trail told me that it was mating season. For some reason that made me laugh.
Seek beauty. Enjoy the evidence of spring. Beauty is still here. You can find beauty in the flowers in your yard or a plant in your apartment. Listen to beautiful or calming music. Look at the stars at night. Watch and listen to uplifting shows and podcasts. Rearrange furniture. Paint. Play an instrument. This is not the time to watch apocalypse movies.
Beauty is all around us. Nature teaches us every year that when things look bleak and dead that life comes back every spring. Beauty calms our stress and restores our soul.
5. Schedule and strategy
Even though the schools have canceled and it feels like you have no control. You do. It’s time to get a new game plan for your home. This is where you want to step into being the CEO of your home and kids. Your teens will want to be on their phones 24/7. So this is a time to get strategic.
Take 20 minutes where your teens are glued to your phone and make a plan. You want to plan out a schedule that works for you and your kids. Here are some questions you can ask.
When can I schedule my work? (I would suggest the morning when they are sleeping in)
When can I schedule my daily rituals?
When is my personal time?
When can I schedule time to talk with my friends and family?
When can we schedule downtime and enjoy some leisure?
When is family time? What can we do? When can we watch movies or play games?
When are we going to have social media breaks?
When are the teens going to do their homework or chores?
I would recommend you getting clear about your strategy and schedule before you approach your teens. Be clear about your guidelines around schoolwork, social media, chores, time with friends, how late can they stay up, and what they can and can not do. You don’t want to micromanage them, but you want to give them your parameters. Then you can be flexible with them. For example, the option is not if they do their homework, it’s when they do their homework.
6. Future focus
When the present time is difficult and challenging, you can find comfort in the past and hope in the future. You can find comfort in the past because you can find evidence that you have already gone through difficult times and made it to the other side. This can help you reframe the present difficulty. For example, you can say to yourself if I can survive having my kids home last summer, I can get through this time.
You want to pay attention to where your thoughts go. Make sure that you are not thinking or speaking negative future talk. This will be challenging because the coronavirus news triggers our fear response and then that’s all we can think of. This is why I am encouraging you to maintain your rituals, social and spiritual connections, seek beauty, get your personal space to get you backgrounded again.
And so you can choose your best thoughts and live intentionally here. You want to seed hope in your conversations like, “we will get through this. ” And some of you who are going for the gold star could take this thought a little farther, “We will get through this and come out stronger.” You can turn this into a question, “How can we use this time and come out even stronger?” This could be a great question for your teens. They love to be challenged. These kinds of questions let them know that there is a better future in front of them. Another way to use the future is to get the whole family involved in planning a trip late this summer or in the fall. This will help shift your imagination from the negative future to images of your vacation destination. “Just think in August we could be hiking in Colorado or on the coast in California.”
Moms we will get through this together.