“Mom. Mommmmmmeeee! Look at this!” My son ran into the kitchen with his iPad and said, “Look, this is so funny.” My hands were wet, the dishwasher open and I tried to steer him with my elbow out of the kitchen. “Honey, can it wait until I’m done?” I asked. Each time he discovered a new Star Wars® meme to share, I had to dry my hands and pause the book I was listening to. After the fourth time I was annoyed. Audiobooks, a welcome distraction from dish-washing-purgatory, require focus.
To be candid, I was already on edge. Housework is on the rise and self-care is down. Like many, I’ve also been worrying more and sleeping less. My son was thrilled with his screen time and didn’t notice my frustration. But I still felt guilty for wanting space to myself. I’ve always been the default parent so it’s normal for my kids to seek me out at home. But after weeks of sheltering-in-place with conflicting Zoom calls, homeschool projects and grocery-store-bingo, I craved time alone.
My self-care rituals were invisible to my family before quarantine. Me-time was usually squeezed into the early mornings and late nights. I had also started to reconnect with my friends and professional network during the workday.
Of course, with COVID19, everything’s different.
It may feel impossible to protect your mental and physical health but it’s essential to try. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. Socially distant self-care is possible but requires adjustments. Just remember, we already deal with constant change and Moms are problem-solving-wizards!
It’s an incredible time to reset ourselves. To abandon what wasn’t working and embrace new patterns even with the constraints we have. It’s an opportunity to breathe in our children’s bliss and connect in new ways to our communities.
I wanted to share the changes I’ve made so far. Yes, I still meditate, read and run but I’m interrupted regularly and the time of day has changed. The kids are now involved in most of my exercise but I’m grateful for my health and ability to learn during this time.
Share your experiences of how life has changed during social distance, it’s quick and the results from this study will be used to advocate better support for parents.