# Mom mental note 1
Breathe! You are also facing a global health pandemic – your feelings are real and valid.
Try taking some alone time and practise self-care… It can be exercise, a bubble bath, a glass of wine or simply sitting on the couch watching The Bachelor (who am I kidding, Peppa Pig)
# Mom mental note 2
There was always going to be public holidays around this time… so lay off some pressure and school activities. Get down on the floor and let them take the lead – tap into their creativity and strengthen your relationships through play. Let them choose the books they want to read or a movie they wish to watch.
# Mom mental note 3
Connect with other moms for support.
Sharing ideas on activities for the kids, quick recipes and venting to someone in the same boat can do wonders for your mental health. Even seeing failed attempts and real-life vs social media situations can lighten the mood.
But also, distance and protect yourself when social media, news, group chats and conversations are getting too much and starts to feel draining.
People react differently to stressful situations and for some, this might be a more difficult time compared to others. Some of us have older sickly family members or parents that work in the health sector.
# Mom mental note 4
We always put the kids first, as every mother should, but we also have weird feelings and anxiety about this time (See note 1). Feel your feelings and validate them but try and not cause more panic or uncertainty during this time, especially for little people that are still figuring out emotions.
Be careful of conversations, especially over the phone, limit news and negative talk. Decide if your children are old enough and talk to them about the lockdown and why we are doing it. Keep it informative but short and without creating any fear. Less is more.
Decide if you are sticking to a routine or going into holiday mode. Don’t be scared to mix it up on days that you feel overwhelmed. Leave the To-do-list for tomorrow if you aren’t feeling it and rather treasure the time you have at home.
# Mom mental note 5
Help your kids to communicate.
Phone their school friends, cousins, grandparents and family friends. If you are not working from home and haven’t met Zoom, Team viewer or other online communication platforms – get on it! It might feel a bit awkward at the beginning but once you see their little faces light up it will be worth it.
If WhatsApp is your only go to or data is an issue – send voice notes, videos or even pictures. Let them send emoji’s and icons, give them some freedom to express themselves. If you are uncomfortable sending videos or voice notes, don’t let them pick up on that and let them do all the talking. By the end of this 21 plus days, we will all be experts.
I am sure the recipients will also be grateful.
# Mom mental note 6
Food… eating and snacking… Don’t make it an issue! Don’t give it the power to create guilt or add pressure to an already stressed time.
Firstly, enjoy your hidden stash of chocolates, you are only human 😉
Try making meals as healthy as possible. If you have lots of time, inspiration and energy to cook, go for it. If you don’t, keep it simple. Try incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables as far as possible, but don’t shy away from frozen and tinned vegetables.
Full tummies prevent “hangry” tantrums, so try plan ahead as far as possible or have some staples in the cupboard that you quickly grab or ensemble.
Limit treats and sugar without causing fights. Add protein to snacks to prevent blood sugar from crashing and causing havoc.
Age permitted, get the kids involved. Planning meals, washing vegetables, peeling, grating or mixing. Baking is always fun with the kids, mess included – but these are the days they will remember.
# Mom mental note 7
Cleaning and keeping the house afloat.
Keeping everything spick and span is unrealistic. If you can, involve the whole family. With toddlers in the house – unfortunately, it is more difficult. Designate certain areas for free play and tidy at the end of a day (or two days).
Kitchen, bathrooms, and beds are the most important. Create a schedule for laundry and dishes – try keeping it to a minimum as far as humanly possible.
# Mom mental note 8
Burning off the excess energy.
There will be times when the house and even the yard might feel too small – like the walls are closing in on all of you. Usually late afternoon.
If you can – get them outside as much as possible. Have them run, jump and play. Race each other, frog jumps and donkey kicks. Trampoline and swinging are also great stimulation at the end of the day.
Small areas, flats or rainy weather might seem like a problem, but think outside the box because that energy needs to go!
Here are some indoor energy-burning ideas:
- Skipping rope
- Star jumps
- Frog jumps around the house
- One-legged jumps
- Jumping over pillows
- Using bean bags, build a balance bean, leopard crawl or create an indoor obstacle course.
# Mom mental note 9
If your children are still sleeping, wonderful! Use this time wisely – either nap with them, do some work or whatever form of self-care you choose, but please don’t clean or tidy.
Keep nap times and bedtime routine in check, this might just be your lifesaver!
If they don’t – establish some sort of quiet time like reading, some screen time, building blocks or puzzles. This can create some time for you to put up your feet, have a warm coffee or just some peace and quiet.
Leave some leeway for family beds in-front of the television and later bedtimes over the weekends.
# Mom mental note 10
We might think that the kids are loving the “holidays” but it does create anxiety for them – missing school, friends, family, daily activities and routine.
This may lead to unsettling emotions, fussiness and tears. They will not always be able to regulate these overwhelming emotions and we will have to help calm them down.
Some calming tips:
- Deep breaths (try blowing bubbles, party horns or moving different items using a straw).
- Swaying / slow movements like dancing / pick them up. Try a deep pressure massage – some muscle work and physical activity will also help.
- Don’t try and reason with them while in an upset state, wait for them to calm down. Sit with them, minimise external stimuli and loud noises. Speak in a soft tone and start problem-solving when everyone is calm.