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There’s nothing normal about isolation, so let’s stop pretending and start embracing that this is a hard phase and it’s ok to be upset. Read through for some sanity.
These are strange times we’re living in.
My children who are champion bickerers are now united in their zest to drive me up the wall.
My days are peppered with “Amma, look at me jump” (underwhelming after the first 10 times) and “how many minutes before iPad time” (annoying after the first 10 times). There’s so much barking (bored puppy) and so many messes to clean up. I don’t have the luxury of working from home and….well, let’s just say that things aren’t pretty.
I’m exhausted, my attention fractured by a hundred demands, but I’m still keeping it together.
And here’s how I do it.
Pavi’s 10 tips for coming out of this pandemic with your lungs and sanity intact. Be warned, I am far from perfect, so some of these tips may not be appropriate for gentle ears.
Now this should be common knowledge by now, but we’re still seeing idiots partying (God help us all): Stay inside. Don’t congregate in groups. 6 feet can save your life and someone else’s too. Turmeric and onions will not be of much use when your loved one is battling for their life.
Accept that these aren’t typical days. There’s nothing normal about isolation, so let’s stop pretending and start embracing that this is a hard phase and it’s ok to be upset.
Yell at inanimate objects. (children think it’s hilarious to see mommy screaming profanities at the kitchen table). Or consider hiring a therapist who’ll see you online.
Screentime. I worship at the holy altar of supervised screen time, and I’m not ashamed about it.
A nifty 30 minutes zoning out in front of Ryan’s Toy Review will not harm your kids. If anything, the quiet time will help you sit down and finish a meal for once. Screens are our friends, especially with so many amazing educational apps and tools, so give yourself a break, won’t you? #netflixandchillax
Make plenty of schedules. Grab any semblance of structure and build your time around it. I usually go with the flow, but uh-huh, not now. Right now, I’m all about sectioning sizeable chunks of the day into neat zones of activity or leisure.
Clear boundaries helps ground the children too, and they thrive on it. Well, at least half the time.
Arts and crafts can be fun until you’re the one who’s on cleanup duty (please skip ahead if your children are responsible, angelic beings who clean up).
My children love getting messy and I don’t love picking up after them. So on those days when I have an extra supply of patience, we do an activity together. Other times, they read/play in the backyard or fight away into the evening while mommy puts on her headphones and sits down with some chai.
Embrace dressing up. When you’re looking at another day of the same old routine, it can help immensely to put on a fresh coat of lipstick and a fancy outfit.
Even if the only person making googly eyes at you is the husband, looking fabulous is such a mood elevator.
The kids might actually feel guilted into washing their hands, if they see mommy strutting around in 4 inch heels and a snazzy pair of jeans. Win-win.
Let your family figure stuff out.
After days of pretending, my kids showed me they could perfectly do their morning rituals and fix their own breakfasts. They can gasp put away their plates when done. The husband can toss his towel in the hamper and is actually an expert child-snack-fixer. Huh. Who knew?
Not your job to keep the children entertained. After one day of saintly patience, I quit on the second morning. I don’t fix kid arguments. I let them get bored and come up with ideas. I don’t police their conversations and help soothe egos. And unless I see actual blood (I’m talking arterial spray here), it’s not my business.
There’s still a lot of yelling, but at least I’m not the one doing it! And at this rate, they’ll tire each other out sooner and we can all go to bed.
Cry. Seriously. Try it!
I sat myself down last night and cried for a good half hour. Big, gasping sobs with dramatic pauses. Lot’s of snot and self pity. Woke the husband up and he felt so sorry for me, he agreed to give me a few hours off during the day. I nodded heroically and cried more, just in case he changed his mind. Then went to sleep like a baby. Crying rocks!
Inhale and exhale (6 feet away, tho’!). Take big, cleansing breaths and declutter your head. No one is checking if you’re doing 17 different wholesome activities with your children. Instead, use this time to bond and make memories they’ll cherish. At least until the next pandemic.
Chase them around the house and tickle their toes (don’t do this with teens, they hate it!). Pick up the phone and connect with friends across the world. You’re sure to brighten up someone’s day.
Our world is struggling, but strangely united. Governments are working together to help solve this crisis. Relatives who were sworn enemies are now sending each other fake remedies on WhatsApp. My children are united in their mission to give me more grey hairs.
Maybe world peace is next?
These are strange times indeed.
Image source: unsplash
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