If you are anything like me, you are wondering how long this social distancing is going to last. Being stuck at home with kids who are sad and angry that they cannot go to school, play at the park or with friends is starting to take its toll. This is hard! And being a mom during this time is really hard! Especially if you have young kids who don’t understand what is happening and ask a lot of questions about why they can’t do their favorite activities. I thought I would compile a few ideas on how to make sure you are not being too hard on yourself as a mom during this time.
If you enjoy social media and scrolling through instagram or facebook, that is fine. But if you are finding that it is making you feel like you are not being a very good mom, then limit your exposure. You are doing your best! Let your best be good enough!
Look for one thing that went well during the day and focus on that. Focus on what you can control in your daily life. Exercise, eating well, treating yourself to something you enjoy, and washing your hands. Don’t focus on how much screen time you let your kids have, how you lost your cool during home schooling (which you probably did not choose to do), how you did not spend enough time with your kids doing fun activities. Let yourself be ok with one thing that went well. If more went well, then celebrate that! It is all about the small things right now!
2. Strive for “Good Enough” Not Perfect.
You need to remember you are entertaining toddlers and kids, trying to stay indoors and keep them occupied. You are home schooling and trying to juggle several kids most likely. What can you let go of? Don’t feel like you need your child to finish all the work that was assigned. Your relationship with your kids is the most important thing right now! Strive to get through this with your kids knowing they were loved and had more time with you, even if it was not always ideal. Let your kids watch educational TV instead of doing the worksheet. If you are overwhelmed with helping them get all their work done, let it go. Your kids will remember how they felt during this time, not what they learned. They can catch up when life is in a more normal rhythm.
3. Be Gentle With Yourself.
If you are feeling like a failure or having negative thoughts about yourself, let them go. Recognize them and then let them float away on a cloud. They are not helpful right now. Accept the fact that you are parenting during a very traumatic time that is affecting everyone in your family and community, including you. Re-frame the negative thought of “I’m a failure” (or fill in the blank) to “I’m having the thought that I’m a failure.” This will help you to let it go and not let it define you. Try changing your negative thought to “I’m doing the best I can right now.” Or “I’m doing pretty darn well right now.” There is a lot less support right now – no babysitters for a break, no school to drop them off at and no ability to do many fun activities and see friends. It can feel very lonely and isolating. This is hard!
My reminder to you today is that this will end at some point. We need to focus on keeping ourselves and our families healthy and safe. We will get back to a new normal but right now there are some ways to get through this.
Try to find a few times a day where you feel joy. Whatever that may be. For me, it has been cooking or baking for my family and trying new recipes. I also try to get outside daily if the weather permits. Breathe deep from your belly and try to relax your body. Go for walks and smell the spring air, flowers and hear the birds. Be mindful of the here and now and be grateful for this time to slow down even though it comes with stress, anxiety and some fear. You are not alone.
You can do this brave Mamas!