So here we are. Stuc- I mean, blessed being home with the fruit of our loins all the merry day. Even the best, most patient of mothers find themselves feeling extra angst and exhaustion, not having anywhere to go, or to socialize with during quarantine. Here are some helpful tips to get us through. All to be exercised with a constant stream of prayer, and high end caffeine, of course.
- Create delusional time blocks for activities. It can be mind-numbingly boring sitting on the ground playing toy trains or dolls with your two-year old with literally no end in sight, but when setting a timer on your cell, or even writing out a mock schedule for the day offers a comforting sense of structure and movement to the day. “Ahhh, it’s 3 o’clock, sorry Barbie, time for our walk!”
- Buy a ton of outdoor stuff. We shouldn’t need a lot of “things” to entertain the family, these are special circumstances worth considering buying or borrowing any/all of the following to pass the time in fun ways: yard games like corn hole, a volleyball net, portable basketball hoops, soccer balls/nets, Frisbees, bikes, and perhaps even a trampoline- many times found for free or used on Facebook’s online tag sale.
- TV is not the enemy. Watching quasi-educational or at least mentally stimulating shows like Brain Games, cooking shows like Nailed It!, AFV and Discovery Channel and nature shows are a fun way to bond, and break up the day, especially when your energy is low.
- Make a list of everything you’ve been saying you want to do at home with the kids, and pick the most fun. It can be cake-baking, learning how to make Play-Doh, planting a garden, or learning a new language (Lord knows there’s time!). Try and look at the gift of time and homebound-ness as an opportunity, instead of a burden. Perspective is everything!
- Find things to do together that won’t make you want to swallow glass shards. Plant a new garden together, or help an older child create a free WordPress blog, or YouTube a parent-kid exercise class… there’s more out there than we realize. Play silly YouTube songs and throw a home dance party with the lights off and flashlights. Calorie burning a plus.
- Streaming worship music in the background is key. It’s so much easier being patient and gracious (and long suffering) during hour number two of homeschool with praises goin’ on, and much harder to lose the temper after telling your kid to finish his reading for the 112th time in one morning. Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Light in the…
- Set up virtual playdates for your kids. It took less than 24 hours of quarantine for many parents out there to become a Zoom master. Text some of your kids’ parents and set up daily or weekly chats for your kids-they’ll have a blast. Face Timing with grandparents and relatives can also break up the day.
- Get outside. Nothing clears the head like fresh air and nature. It can be an effort bundling the kids, or dealing with pushback from kids who’d rather stay on the couch all day, but getting out almost always improves the day. Even when it’s cold out, or the kids resist, but it’s still better than peddling board games through the family room for hours…”who wants to play Monopoly…silence…Clue?…. groans….”Okay one hour of Risk and we’ll pay you.”
Whether you’ve been laid off, or working from home, or still commuting to work and worried about the kids at home, none of us were prepared for this. We all lose our cool, feel defeated, and maybe hide in the closet for undisclosed amounts of time. Be kind to yourself. Take 5 minute naps and prayer breaks throughout the day. Send your teen out for take-out ice cream. Take bubble baths at night envisioning a time when that long yellow chariot will once again escort your children to school. We’ll get through this. One worship song and coffee sip, at a time.