Many bad things happened in 2020, and I will never forget the trauma of living through it all. I’ve been reflecting on a lot of things that happened this past year as the Covid-19 pandemic just had its first–and hopefully only–birthday.
I couldn’t help but notice that my mothering has changed a great deal. However, most of those are positive changes, surprisingly. I’ve had a few new patterns emerge in myself, and I’m really thankful for those good things amidst all of the ugliness and chaos around us.
I Slowed Down
I stay home with two preschoolers and have started homeschooling my oldest, so I don’t exactly have a slow-paced life. However, now that I’m not doing Bible studies in person, teaching ESL classes in person, or trying to make it to a library across town for story time at least once a week, I’m seeing the benefit of slowing down and doing things on my family’s schedule.
We are still going on adventures, but since most of our outings include only us, we can take our time getting out the door. My girls have both grown in personal responsibility since I’m not doing things for them as much when we leave the house. Watching their confidence grow as they learn to do their own socks, shoes, coats, car seat buckles, etc. has been wonderful.
I didn’t realize how much I was doing for my kids that they can do for themselves due to my perpetual tardiness. They have also begun helping me cook and clean because I can take my time on those tasks.
They’ve really blossomed as I’ve slowed down, and I’m so happy about that.
I Try to Be More Fun
I realize that my girls have lost a lot over these past twelve months, so I’ve tried to make our home more fun for them. In other words, we do messy activities more often now. I can quickly lay down a towel and set up some water play in our kitchen, do an early bath with toys and soap paints, or get out almost every color of acrylic paint we own and see what their little creative brains imagine.
I’ve always done planned activities with my kids, but now unplanned activities happen frequently, which is so exciting for them. We also spend more time outside since we’re on our own schedule. Picnic lunch? Sure! Bug hunting that will necessitate a bath? Absolutely! We don’t have anywhere to be anyway.
I Enjoy the Little Things
Having so much taken away from us so quickly was definitely challenging. As a way to cope with that, I think many of us decided to start enjoying the simple things in our lives. Being forced to be home more has shown me how much joy there is to be found in the monotony of my daily life.
I am very likely to just watch my girls play together now. I can’t help but notice their huge imaginations and deep love for each other. I’ve rediscovered how much fun it is to do jigsaw puzzles and discovered the joy of well-narrated audiobooks. I’ve taken more time to listen to the wonderful sounds of the outdoors while pushing a little one on a swing.
All in all, this time has shown me how much I have to be thankful for and how happy my life makes me. I know my happiness has an effect on my kids, and I’m glad that this crazy year has somehow made me a happier mom.
I Take Better Care of Myself
I went to a doctor’s appointment a few months into the pandemic. She gave me some ideas on how to best take care of myself in the high-stress situation that is pandemic-parenting.
Thanks to her advice, I’ve built routines into our days that are primarily for me and my mental well-being such as:
- I drink great coffee most mornings,
- let my kids watch T.V. over breakfast so I can spend time in the Bible uninterrupted,
- and try to take a midday rest before starting dinner.
I’ve also been reading more, even if it is just a few minutes of an audiobook while I wash dishes. I’ve spent almost every gift card I’ve gotten over the past year on skincare items. My husband graciously gives me at least one morning to sleep in on the weekends. And about once a month, I take a morning to myself to browse a library alone or go read in the parking lot of my church.
I Help Others
The one thing I want my kids to learn from this year is how important it is for us to all care for our neighbors. I don’t like making sacrifices for a sickness that is statistically unlikely to have a big impact on my immediate family. I don’t like distancing from our church friends or skipping holiday gatherings.
However, I do know that sacrificing some of our comforts for the well-being of those around us will never be the wrong choice.
I hope my girls grow up remembering that weird year we wore masks everywhere and couldn’t visit people as the time they learned what it looks like to live out the love of Jesus that we read about in our Bible each day. If they grow up to be more considerate and loving because of 2020, then just maybe I won’t shudder at the mention of 2020 in the future.
How about you? How has the pandemic changed your parenting? I’d love to hear in the comment section below!