“I don’t even know what to do. Earlier, I had time after sending kids off, where I napped or watched television. But now, my whole routine is disrupted. I feel like I’m all over the place and nowhere at the same time. We just don’t know when this situation is going to end, if it does at all.” – These were the words I heard from a group of mothers in the park the other day while discussing the difficulties of being at home since the pandemic began. As it happens, similar thoughts were echoed by almost everyone present there.
Have you too been feeling a little wobbly these days? Like, the feeling of just falling off the beam?
Guess what! You are not alone mama.
Well, it’s been quite a year for everyone, more so for us moms. Being a mom has always been a balancing act, whether you stay at home with the kids, work from home, or work outside the home. And no doubt, we moms are really feeling the strain now.
Whatever your situation is, there are ways to keep a grip on your sanity despite all the craziness that we have experienced with COVID-19, layoffs, and school shutdowns. Life may look different, but our role as mothers hasn’t changed. I know my kids have felt the struggle with school being closed and then opening in a way that felt anything but normal. My husband is stressed about work and when we can go back to normal.
No doubt we have all developed a specific routine in our homes over the past year and a half, but the fact is, the hustle is real. Pressed time deadlines, virtual school, household chores, and zillion other tasks to accomplish- the chaos is unavoidable. And this goes true for everyone at this point- be it a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.
But one thing I learned early in this pandemic is that maybe ‘normal’ was overrated. The reality is we need to take ONE.STEP.AT.A.TIME. Period.
My biggest takeaways for staying sane throughout this pandemic, and here on too would be-
1. Don’t try to be the “ideal Supermom”
We often want to do-it-all or act like a know-it-all mom. But the fact is, your child, and even your family, isn’t looking for a multi-tasking genius ‘super mom’ around. Your children need a joyous, happy, and calm mom. So drop that mom’s guilt and stop seeking perfection in everything. Ask for help wherever needed. Delegate responsibilities. Take power naps. Recharge yourself regularly. And try to be just you, and not a ‘super mom’.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Your 4-year-old dressed herself and not well.
Kids forgot to brush their teeth before bed.
You ate Maggi for dinner, again.
Children watched more TV than the usual norms of the house.
Floors haven’t been mopped 2nd day in a row.
Who cares? Let me guess, you do!
Well, stop. Right now.
Your children’s normally well-balanced diet won’t be shot to hell because they had a single day of nothing but chocolate shake and pizza. TV won’t really turn their brains to mush if they watch too much once in a while. And nobody, read it again, N.O.B.O.D.Y will give a damn how clean your floors are. Those little things that we let ourselves get so stressed out about, turns out they just aren’t worth it. Try it out and let me know how you feel with a few guilts less on yourself.
3. Care for yourself
So if you are still waiting for that perfect afternoon for a salon visit or a spa session, let me tell you it’s time to redefine the term “self-care”. Practicing self-care is more than just taking a bath and using a face mask, although I want to make it clear that those things are important too.
Self-care is giving importance to your body, soul and mind. How many times have you thought of picking up your long-lost hobby? Or attended a workshop to hone your skillset?
As I’ve already said, you NEED to take care of yourself first. It is difficult and draining to take care of the entire family, and even more so if your own batteries are drained. It may feel selfish to take the time to practice self-care, but remind yourself that you’re doing it for the good of your family. Whether you enjoy walking, exercising, meditating, biking, soaking in a hot bath, watching movies, painting or other activities, allow yourself to partake in what feeds your mind, body, and soul. It’s critical to carve out time to relax, reduce stress, and refresh your mindset. No matter what you do, be sure to make time for yourself, and do it intentionally. This will help you recharge your batteries and be prepared and energized to be around and take care of your children all day.
You know what your mind and body need. If your mind needs a little bit of relaxing, and your body a little rest, give yourself the time to do both of those. At the end of the day, mommy’s mood influences the mood of your children, and by extension, the vibe in your household.
4. Ditch the pajamas & Dress-up
One of the best ways to make yourself feel ready to tackle the day and maintain your sanity is to get dressed in the morning. Every. Single. Day. It may be tempting to forgo a morning shower and succumb to wearing PJs or sweatpants day in and day out. After all, why not be comfortable? But I’ve found that getting dressed into comfortable athleisure, putting on some kajal and doing my hair delivers a mood and productivity boost. Try to stick with your usual style routine to put yourself in a ‘ready to work’ state of mind. Trust me- this one works.
Getting dressed in the morning is also a great example to set for your children. If they are already in the habit of getting dressed and ready for the day, then they will be much more prepared to transition into going to school. It can be easy to stay in pajamas all day every day, but there’s something about it that adds a boost to your productivity.
5. Teach your kids to entertain themselves
This one has really made a difference to my mindset of late. And if you have more than one child at home, this one is easy to crack too.
Once you have given your children the time and attention they need, it is important for them to learn to entertain themselves without your intervention. Getting your kids to a point where they can entertain themselves for a few hours can take time and practice but is necessary (for you AND them) and worth it in the end. With more time to yourself, you can take care of your personal needs, as well as other things that are important to you.
6. Plan, not micro-plan
Remember life before the pandemic? Earlier, all of us had established routines of each day, each weekend and went through the processes in a consistent manner.
However, this pandemic and the “new normal” has made it clear- there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to creating a routine for you and your family. It’s best to choose and schedule your day in a way that is most productive and satisfactory to you.
While planning a daily routine lets the members of the family know what to do, and what to expect throughout the day, micro-planning each and every second of the day will only add additional stress. What is more important is to be able to identify the rhythm of the day and go with the flow. As said above, don’t sweat over the small stuff.
7. Don’t get addicted to your phone
Honest confession- my sanity is directly proportional to my social media indulgence. From the first thing in the morning to the last one to catch my attention had been social media. And after a point I could feel the frustration it would add to my mind. While the phone is an indispensable gadget of our age, but it is always good to put a limit to its usage.
Also, screen time can be something that you work into your daily schedule, but being on your phone all day will make any structure and productivity that you create fly out the window.
8. Keep in touch with friends and other moms
One thing you need to do to stay sane as a mom keeps in touch with other moms. You can plan play dates, celebrations etc. Keeping in touch with other moms can help you not feel so isolated, as it is easy to feel this way when your only company all day is your children. You can share your tips and complaints and support each other in your roles as parents.
It is important to interact with other adults regularly, whether they are other parents or not. I get that it’s hard (I REALLY struggle with being social), but socialization is important for both you and your children to have.
Seize the day and look for the little things
How much soever you are told to be a happy mom, none of us is happy all the time. We all feel burnout at times. But the fact is it’s in the little things we can begin to find hope and joy amidst the chaos.
These times are extremely taxing and exhausting for us all. Plus we have these little children to take care of and housework, errands, and work among other things. It can be overwhelming -physically, emotionally & mentally, leading to mommy burnout. We all seem to get to this place at some point. I’ve been there, I know this feeling !!
At the end of the day, remember that to take care of the rest of the family, you need to first take care of your sanity. By following at least SOME of my tips for taking care of yourself, your home, and your kids, you will be more set up to have a structured life that can keep you sane as a mom.