How can you as a mom find ways to show your family that extra dose of love to keep your family spirits up during this pandemic and to act as a kind and loving servant? We are all called to be servants of God, and special times call for special measures. My husband wanted carrot cake and so I sought to make the best darn carrot cake I could. It turned out amazing and he raved for days. I know he felt that extra dose of love.
Do few things and do them well. Saint Francis of Assisi is known for this expression. During this Covid-19 lockdown, this is a chance to pare down and prioritize. This a good time to go easy on yourself and especially your kids. I have decided that because of added stress in new areas, I can ease up on other areas of demands, and I can go out of my way to let those around me know I love them. Let’s start with mail. I have been mailing my mom cards to remind her that she is not alone and maybe add a few moments of cheer to her day. I call her more frequently and make sure she keeps up with family news and check to make sure if she needs anything.
At the beginning of the pandemic, flowers went on sale at my local grocery store. I bought about five bouquets and placed them around the house. I think it helped in some small way to have some natural beauty at a time when we were all a bit confused and scared. Lately I have been making more gourmet breakfast for the kids because they are not rushing off to school. We have the luxury to spend more time making daily pancakes, French toast, bacon, eggs, and hash browns. I also have BBQed many times in the last six weeks to give us that picnic feel. Since we have a charcoal BBQ that definitely takes some extra effort on my part.
The first couple weeks I wasn’t prepared to jump into any baking projects because the pandemic life had not normalized yet. I was in coping mode. However, in the last several weeks, I have made some of the kids’ favorite baked goods, like baklava. Yes, it takes more time, and I rarely make it. Baklava is a special occasion dessert and the kids feel that even in tough times mom is able to provide love and talent. I have also made it a priority to keep the dining room festive and bright with holiday décor.
We also made the extra effort to go to the park as a family and play all the games and sports that they wanted. We did jump rope, football, frisbee, baseball, horse shoe toss, and hand stand contests. I also took them surfing, which was complicated since half the time the beaches were completely closed, and half the time they were only open to surfers or those working out or running. There was no parking and that means trying to collect kids in an unknown environment from a big beach. It seems like the rules keep changing, and the understanding of this disease keeps changing.
I have made their school work routine very flexible at home. If they are having fun playing a game at night, I let them go to bed later and wake up later. There is no reason that they shouldn’t get ample sleep during this time. It will help keep up their immunity. I also don’t stress them about school work. They wake, eat breakfast, and then must start the school work. We set a timer for one hour of work, and then they get a 30-minute break. After break they go back to work for 45 minutes, followed by lunch. Then they go back to work for an hour. Much of the time they have finished for the day at this point, or they have a small amount of work left. The older child has more work, and she likes to work late at night. I let her manage herself when it comes to that. In the early evenings we try to go out before sunset to get our outdoor fresh air. It might be a hike, a trip to the park, or playing with remote cars out in front of the house.
We have made it easy on the kids by cleaning their rooms for them, and giving them small chores. How have I made things easier on myself? I have allowed myself more time for TV watching, and zoning out when I have anxiety. On nights that I don’t feel like having a dinner, I allow myself snacks. I allow myself to sleep in until 8 AM if I can and have goals of excellent sleep scores from my Fitbit. Later nights for kids means later nights for parents. I did a little fun online shopping looking for bargains, and getting some surprises for the kids. For my husband, I have been giving him the gift of piano lessons. I encourage you to keep gifting in all the ways that you can, to yourself and to others in order to stay in the best mental and spiritual place that you can.
Copyright 2020 Marya Hayes