I admit, trying not to lose it on a daily basis is a struggle. There are moments where I feel “I got this” and there are moments where I literally feel like I am going to lose my s***.
There are so many of us working parents that have taken on additional hats recently that we have to juggle at the same time. We get on a work call but need to make sure our kiddos are set up with an activity (complete with the added guilt that it should be a learning one, am I right??!)…only to be five minutes into said call and your kid wants a snack or your attention. Well, now your focus on your call is shot and you’re hoping you didn’t miss something. Asking people to repeat what they just said has been my mantra lately.
Not to mention, this goes on ALL day. Every day. And it’s been going on for weeks now.
So, how do we stay sane through it all? Yes, making sure you’re stocked with copious amounts of wine (or whatever your booze of choice is) helps, but you can’t start drinking at 9 am 🙂 (Or can you?!) So, what can you realistically do? Here are my tips that are working for me and maybe, just maybe, they will work for you.
1) Remember, you are not alone in this.
There are so many of us in the same boat. In fact, you have probably seen it on many work calls by now. Tiny heads popping into videos is the norm for most of us now. We are all going through it, so we understand it. And for those that aren’t parents, they know you’re going through it so they understand too.
Knowing we aren’t alone helps….you just have to remember that in those moments when your kid won’t stop yelling or trying to get your attention or throwing things at you or doing a million other things that are distracting as hell.
EVERY OTHER PARENT IS GOING THROUGH THIS. We may be isolated in our houses, but we aren’t isolated in our situation.
2) Schedule blocks of time to spend with your kiddos.
This has been the best thing that I have tried that has worked. My son deals so much better with me having to work if I take breaks (even if they are only 5 minutes between meetings) to play with him or just hang with him reading a book or watching a movie. And yes, I am thankful he’s a bit older (4) and can play relatively independently. I know this time is much harder for those of you with younger ones.
It’s evolved over time and some days I am better at this than others, but I try to come up with little activities to do together, like build a fort or have a “picnic” lunch. We play Tic Tac Toe using napkins or just play sports. I am NOT creative but there are a million sites out there right now that have sooooo many ideas you can use!
Literally any time I make for him or any idea I come up with, he is happy. He just wants me to play with him. This has made all the difference in the world and given me a bit more peace and space to get work done.
3) Screen time can be a life saver.
When all else fails, screen time to the rescue! Yes, I know…I’m such a bad mom for suggesting this and saying this is a tip 🙂 But seriously, if we are being honest with ourselves, we KNOW that we have to turn to this sometimes. And yes, maybe a bit more (okay, WAY more) now, but hey, a parent’s gotta do what a parent’s gotta do, right?!
If you feel especially guilty about this, and believe me, I still do, there are a lot of good learning apps out there. Homer, a reading app, is amazing. So is Duolingo, for learning new languages. I could go on and on about the sites we’ve tried and loved (Scholastic and Noggin are others). I am so incredibly thankful to those companies that have made their sites and offerings free right now.
4) Prioritize self-care
I can not stress this one enough. It is imperative to take care of yourself, especially during this time. This is a very stressful time and our mental and emotional states are taking a major hit. The best way to alleviate this stress and any anxiety or fear you have right now is to do something that helps you with that – exercise, meditation, reading, take a bubble bath, etc… Take at least 30 minutes a day that is time just for you. Believe me, it will make a world of difference in how you feel.
5) Last but not least, give yourself grace.
This last one is hard to do, I know. With all of the different hats we are being forced to wear, with everything we are juggling, with all of the pressure to work while having to take care of and teach your kids, it’s hard not to feel like you’re losing control and slowly losing it all together 🙂 In those moments, especially in those moments, remember that it’s impossible to do it all. That we can only do the best we can. To give yourself grace when you lose your patience, when you end up screaming or crying, when the house is a disaster and you have no time to clean, when you aren’t able to get your work done or all of the homework for your kids done, or when you have to step away from a work call to take care of your kids.
It’s okay to feel everything we are feeling right now. The good and the bad.
And, friendly reminder, sometimes it’s okay to have wine at noon in the privacy of your bathroom just to have a break 🙂