There’s no doubt about it. These times are trying. Hard. Difficult. Confusing. The Covid-19 pandemic is upon us and we are forced to stay home. Now, I don’t want to talk about the coronavirus. I really don’t. I want to talk about being a stay at home mom.
I’ve been having some conversations via text with some friends who work away from home and they are now stay at home parents with full time kids. Life has been a huge change for them.
One friend asked me how I stay motivated. It took me a while to respond. I thought about it…
This is new territory for most of us. Many of you work outside of the home-that’s hard. Now you are staying home-really hard. Your kids aren’t in school-you are now their teacher-super hard. Working from home with kids in the house is super duper hard! Nothing is easy-no one said it would be. You can do it though-because you have to.
Many of you rely on social situations. You have friends and spend time with them. You see co-workers every day and thrive on that connection. You have a support system in family or friends. However, now you are physically cut off from all of those things. Aside from your immediate family, everyone is in isolation.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
Everyone needs support and connection. For me I connect through texting. I send people texts through the day mostly just to get a response, any response to validate that I exist. There have been times that I have gone days without a reply from anyone. That is when I sink into a depression. It’s easy to sink when you think no one in the outside world thinks your are important enough to reply to. It’s lonely.
I look at all of you struggling with this new territory and almost smirk. This has been my life. Yes, I chose to be a stay at home mom and I love it-but it is HARD! I like to have connection outside of my home and I fight hard to get it. I don’t have parents or siblings, I don’t have that familial support system that others do. My husband is still able to work and he isn’t home during the day, he then comes home and goes right out to farm. I am in isolation with my kids all day every day. The only thing that has changed for us is that we can’t go out to public places.
My suggestion is this: have some sort of routine. Have a to-do list, a simple one. My anxiety gets out of control when my house is messy so I clean on a schedule. I’ll post a sample of what that looks like but I have tasks I do every day -make the bed, laundry, dishes. I have weekly tasks-cleaning the bathroom, floors, dusting. Then I have monthly tasks like cleaning the fridge. It’s not rocket science but it works.
Shower and getting dressed will help you get through the day! Basic hygiene is vital when you stay at home. It’s so easy to not want to do those simple things but I promise it helps. I would love to just sit in my pajamas all day and watch cartoons with my kids and yes, sometimes that does happen-but for the most part we get stuff done.
Reach out to people. You aren’t the only one struggling-and maybe you aren’t struggling-but reach out anyway. Whether it’s a text, phone call, FaceTime, email, snail mail…reach out and make some sort of connection. Leave the house if you are able. We are blessed to live on a farm. When the weather is nice we are absolutely outside, moving around and getting fresh air. My goal is 15 minutes but it’s always longer than that. Which brings me to another suggestion…
Have almost zero expectations-expectations lead to resentment. Don’t set the bar so high that you can’t reach it. Set reasonable goals. My kids aren’t school age yet but our goals are simple: get dressed, eat, burn energy, don’t just sit in front of the tv-even though it’s so easy to do. When Oliver naps Jack has independent play-cars, tractors, playdoh, kinetic sand, etc. Occasionally I hand Jack a tablet just to get a break. I need it-and I have no guilt in doing that.
Grace. Lots of grace. Give it away. Give it to yourself. Accept it from those around you and accept it from God. Things will not go the way you plan and that’s okay. You will lose your temper-it’s easy to do in closed quarters. Grace upon grace is my biggest suggestion.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”” James 4:6 NIV
You will survive this because you have to. Make the most of it by spending more time with your family-maybe that’s having regular family meals, playing games, or exercising together. Make it a point to turn off the screens in your home too. You’ll all need a break from tv, social media, the news, games. Take time to just enjoy your family. Make time for your bible. Spending time in the Word will help you. Seriously. A simple devotion can inspire you to function. This time is a gift-even though it may not always feel that way.
Reach out to me- I am here if you need to talk. I may not have answers but I can listen and love.