The celebrations, and events we expected to happen this year were all canceled in March for the foreseeable future. Everything came to a screeching halt. Life stopped. Well, at least, in terms of the life we were used to living. The busy days and evenings slowed to an eerily quiet pace. All our lives have been edited. In many ways, we are experiencing isolation and loneliness that is unprecedented. There is uncertainty. For many, we have experienced a loss. What is reassuring and constant is that we are all mothers and are all figuring out how to make our way through these new challenges together.
We know that all the sacrifices we have to make for our families are worth the enormous love we feel for those little ones we raise up to big people. We also know that sometimes it’s difficult, and we will all have days that hurt our hearts, days that bring us to our knees, and days we feel completely alone during a crisis, we may have moments we don’t like the person we see our child acting like but we know deep down its a stage, or temporary and we’ll get through it. And sometimes, we will look back at our behavior and wish we had handled our child or a situation differently, we have all had those days. The ones we wish we could get a redo on.
Well, don’t forget mommas, there is a whole community of women just like you are going through the same things and doing their best. Our highs and lows might look different, and the challenges we are faced with and our children’s needs might be different, but we are all moms. And this year is proving to be one of the hardest yet but know you are not alone. Here are a few ideas to help you through the hard days and hopefully find a little more joy.
Limit the Noise
We live in a world that we are bombarded with news, advertisements, and commentary everywhere we turn- especially online. We must understand our homes and hearts are sacred places and most of us too easily let in unwelcomed alerts and updates that add to our anxiety or worry. Yes, be informed and then turn it off. We must be willing to look at our patterns of social media and news usage and stop or limit it. I promise you will begin to feel a little lighter.
Acknowledge your Feelings and Connect with Your Friends
Now is the time to reach out to your tribe. Go on a walk with a friend or pick up the phone or video chat- however you need to connect- but just keep in touch with someone who can be your sounding board and you for them. And if you need help- a sanity break, or need to run errands, or are struggling to make ends meet please tell your friends- help each other and be there to hold each other up when you feel like you might just fall down from the weight of it all. Reach out to them- and I mean reach out and pull them in with both hands and keep them close- you need connection now more than ever and so do your kids even if it has to be at a safe distance.
Find time to Reflect and Pray
Another way to find strength in days where we may not be able to take the kids to grandma’s or our regular playdates or on the family vacation; when the days seems to drag on forever is to find a few minutes to pray and read scripture to re-center ourselves (and if praying isn’t your thing then take a few minutes to reflect on the day you want to have, and the things you are grateful for)- I promise it is a sanity saver.
Do not Be so Hard on Yourself
Accept that these days might be messy, and bumpy instead of being organized with perfectly planned out activities- what is important is we focus on being patient, and kind to ourselves and our families. Don’t be so hard on yourself- and have confidence in your choices. And one of those choices might be that some days you don’t get out of your pajamas or you just can’t muster making dinner then learn to be ok with it. There is no rule that says you have to eat a hot meal every night- eat cold pizza or cereal or fruit with cheese and crackers- no one will starve and I promise you it’s liberating to realize sometimes you can take a break from all the expectations put on us moms.
Celebrate the Little Things & Make Every day Special
Maybe you cannot celebrate your son or daughter’s birthday the way they wanted, or you had to postpone your trip or are still staying at home. You can still find ways to celebrate each other- the birthdays, and graduations, and milestones it just might look different and take a whole heaping cup of creativity to make it happen. It will be memorable just in a different way.
We need to acknowledge there will be hard days and find ways to make our time with our kids special. A few ideas are- plan an indoor camping night or camp outback with your kids, have a picnic outback or at a local park, get creative in the kitchen- breakfast for dinner, or a themed dinner night, go on regular walks, bike rides or hikes because feeling the sun warm your shoulders and the wind touch your face is good for the soul. We need to get outdoors to reset ourselves and let the stresses of the world and our day fall off us. We need to let our kids be kids and spend time outside.
More Grace & Gratitude
I think we need to give ourselves more grace during this trying time. We need to relax the rules and our expectations of ourselves and our families. If that means changing course or reworking our days, then we should do that. There is no right way through this time there is only determining what works for our family.
Find Gratitude in the beautiful moments during your day- your new baby’s smile, or playing games with your kids, or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee while your kids are still sleeping. And take more breaks for yourself. Your emotional and mental state is the most important thing. You need to take care of yourself so you can care for your family. It is also a time our kids are likely experiencing new and confusing feelings and we need to be able to check on their mental and emotional health and try to add laughter and fun into their days so they are not living in constant state of worry or stress.
Motherhood, is the most exhilarating, life-changing journey we’ll take. Let’s remember to always support each other and be a little more gracious. So, mommas, do not forget you are doing an amazing job, even on your lowest days and that we know the hard, loving work you do. Keep loving those babies and focusing on the care and support you give those little ones and be a bit easier and kinder on yourself. Keep doing this most important work, and keep loving not only your children, but yourself especially during these trying, strange times.
by Kristin Fitch
photo credit: Dani Vivanco