What a crazy season of life we are in right now. The world has been faced with a virus that has spread everywhere, with no place to go, mandated to stay home and we find ourselves trying to navigate these very new and uncharted waters. If you spend but a minute on social media you will be bombarded by memes, words of hope, words of hopelessness, natural remedies, reminders about Lysol, washing your hands, and oh yea, sharing the toilet paper.
I know many of you are feeling all kinds of emotions: fear, anxiety, overwhelmed. Maybe you’re working from home, maybe you are working from home AND now homeschooling your kids. Maybe you are not working at all or maybe you are hoping to be able to keep working. There are so many unknowns right now and it can make you want to back into a corner and close your eyes and wish it all away.
But if I could gently reach my hand out to you and lift you up, I would have you take a deep breath and tell you that this will pass over. I would remind you what I believe, in hopes it would breathe life into you no matter what you believe in. And what I believe is that God, the King of all kings, is still on the throne. That He’s got the whole world in His hands. (Go ahead sing the song). And we will be okay.
Better than okay, I know that while we go through this; we can grow in this. That maybe this is your chance to re-think what’s most important. Maybe you have been feeling like everything is going too fast and you want more one-on-one time with your kids. Maybe you want to eat more meals at home. Maybe you want to create a new schedule for your family, you know that one you have always dreamed of creating. Well here is your chance.
So, I am here to come alongside you and give you a hug, wait no hugs, I mean a high five, oh still no to that either, let’s just wave, to say that you are not alone and you can do this. I have a few tips for you to make the most out of this moment in time. Let’s find the good in it, and plant seeds of hope in our children. You are your children’s safe haven and your home can be an environment that is filled with peace and joy regardless of what is going on outside of your front door.
5 Tips for the Mama during this Virus:
This probably isn’t the time to try to do something new and fill your schedule with something every hour. But this is the time to simplify your life. Take it all back to the basics. Reading, coloring, games, movies, and just the beauty of being together. That is the good in this, that we have no agendas, no rushing to work, car line, or to day care. ALL of those things have been removed. So, look at each day and simplify it. This will help you manage stress; this will encourage you to look at each day hour by hour. No need to get overwhelmed by how long this is going to last. Stay present. Simplify.
2. Create Not Consume
We were created by God to create! This is a great time to teach your kiddos that they are creatives. No matter their level of artistic ability, this is deeper than that. Just give them the freedom to be creative. Let them make a mess, use their hands and build, draw, mold, bake, just let them create. Now don’t get me wrong we are watching plenty of movies over here, it’s just all in balance. Maybe you combine this with their school lesson for the day, knocking two things out at a time, you get to choose. And it doesn’t have to be crazy, remember number one, simplify. The goal here is to let them feel free to create. And you mama, just make the space for it.
3. Get Them Moving
Now all kiddos have different personalities and different priority needs, but ALL of them need to move and get the energy out and the blood flowing. So maybe you work out together. Maybe you put on music and dance, maybe you set up an obstacle course for them. There are many great resources online for ideas on how to get them moving. But getting movement into your day will help them with their mood, immune system, energy, and sleep!
4. Have Low Expectations
Have low expectations on yourself and on your kids. Raise your hand if you have been quarantined before? This is all new for many of us! This is also new in other ways. Maybe this is your first-time homeschooling and you don’t feel equipped. Maybe you are usually at work and you’re not used to being home so much. Every part of this might feel new and completely overwhelming! Give yourself a lot of grace and have low expectations. Look at what’s most important for the day and set a goal to accomplish that. There is no need to fit 36 hours’ worth of work into a 24-hour day. Take it all on hour at a time. And when you get something done, celebrate!
5. Enjoy Learning Your Kids, Not just Managing Them
This is a big one. I have personally caught myself just managing the household. I am physically present but not emotionally or mentally there. I will go through the day managing everyone, checking things off, accomplishing tasks and realize I missed out on being with them. Did I hug them enough? Did I stop what I was doing when they were speaking and make eye contact? Did I play with them at all or was I so focused on my “to dos”? You have been entrusted with your children. Learn them. Enjoy them. Play with them. Laugh with them. You get to create the atmosphere in your home. Let’s show our children that being a mother is full of joy!
In the midst of this crazy time, everyone’s world has basically been put on pause, but yours has not stopped at all. You are still Mom and your world keeps spinning. I see you. I see you still serving your kids, still taking the time to color and create space for them to play, imagine, and dream. I see you working hard to keep them protected, clean, happy, and full. These are the long days, but they are the good ol’ days. The days we will never get back, the days we will miss. And in this strange moment in time we are in, we have been gifted with the ability to just take them in right where they are. Don’t miss the gift. Unwrap it. Savor it. Be present. No matter all the unknowns in the world right now, one thing is for sure, they still call you Mama and they will always be your children.
Love, Heather Gilstrap