This pandemic has lasted way longer than any of has anticipated. At first it seemed like a good thing to be at home for an extra Spring Break, and then a week spread into a month and then another and then finally over a year. As parents we have had to adjust to being not only a breadwinner, but also teacher and parent.
For my family, we decided last year was the time to move clear across the world! As if we had nothing else going on. My older son is independent and continues to go to school online, but he needs constant attention. He is also intellectually disabled, and therefore needs more care than an average seventeen-year-old. I was always respectful to his teachers for their work with him and other students like him or with more severe disabilities. However, when the pandemic began I felt as though I wasn’t capable of doing everything. (or Anything) Add on my five-year-old, who was four when all of this started. He needed to learn a lot to get him for kindergarten, which was a bit much for me, considering that I had my own students to teach online.
My students may have been older, but I still had over 42 students, including my own.
I am sure, like me, we all started looking at the lockdowns as a great thing. We were spending more quality time together. My inner 1950’s housewife was jumping with joy at the opportunity to be the mom I wanted to be, but then as time went on and things became increasingly stressful I began to realize that I needed a break.
Of course, mom guilt set in.
So what should any parent do when they need a break or are feeling the stress of burning out?
Here are some tips that I use for myself!
- Take Ten! Self-care is vital, especially now. Taking ten minutes for yourself will not only do you good but will benefit your children. You will notice the difference! Take time to drink coffee, stretching to Sade! Just make sure that really take a break, stay off of anything with a screen, that means phones too! Schedule your break so you make sure to take it, and then relax. My moment is first thing in the morning with my hot cup of coffee. Afterward, I feel charged and ready for the day.
- Set boundaries! Talk with your kids, letting them know that you are carving out some time for yourself. When you take this time, really take this time for yourself, without interruption. I know, with a five-year-old, that is not easy. But when I tell him “This is mommy time.” he leaves me alone. Because I promise the rest of the day is his time.
- Remember to keep a work/home life balance: If you haven’t read my post on a work-life balance check it out here! When you are stuck at home and it feels like Groundhog Day, it is more than important to maintain a work-life balance. When it is lunchtime, it is lunchtime, not a time to take meetings or check emails! When it is time to clock out, it is time to clock out. You have to live your life! Trust me, I crashed and burned last year working 14-19 hours a day!
- Connect with your kid on their level. This time has been both a headache and wonderful. Get to know your kids! Spend time with them with all your attention. I love to interrupt my son when he is playing pretend and join in. My older one I love to tease him about playing whatever game he is playing, this always starts the conversation and allows me to check in with them. I don’t need to spend every waking moment with them but we do spend time together. Often times my younger son and I go on long walks through the city.
- Know when to stop: If you forgot to make the beds in the morning, that’s ok. If you forgot to do the laundry it will eventually get done. Not having a washer and dryer in my home has made me really focus on carving out time to get down to the laundry mat, but I save it for early Sunday morning. This way I have the rest of the day to hang out with the family. This is the time when you should focus on things that are important, such as ordering groceries or heading to the grocery store. What activities can you do in the backyard or park? What movie can you watch, or a book you could read? Things that will support you not only mentally but spiritually!