Being a mom is tough on any typical day, but the parenting struggles have multiplied since COVID-19 came to town. Let’s talk about 5 steps to calm the chaos, shall we? The whole world is flipped upside down right now, as I’m sure you’ve noticed! We are on day whatever of our unprecedented quarantine, and shit is getting a little chaotic over here. But even when the world seems to be running normally, one of the biggest parenting challenges I’ve faced is how to calm the chaos that seems to erupt every day. I’m sure you’ve felt the same way!
I’m sharing the five ideas that I use to calm my chaos as a mom of 3, especially during these uncertain and stressful times.
Get Real About Your Expectations
This first way to calm the chaos is a biggie and the most important. It’s all about getting real about your expectations of yourself and your family during this time. The schedule is all out of whack, and life is different on many levels, so we need to re-adjust our expectations! Otherwise, we are setting ourselves and our families up for stress, frustration, and failure.
Is it realistic for me to expect my five-year-old daughter to spend hours “studying”? Of course not! Should I hope to be able to work my full 8-hour work-day uninterrupted? Hell no! I don’t know about your kids, but my kids need snacks all day, every day. No lie – my daughter just yelled for a snack two seconds ago.
Even when we’re not living under constant duress, sometimes we have expectations that go above and beyond what we are truly capable of doing. There’s no shame in taking a break! Our kids usually let us know when they’ve had enough. Recognize their clues and go for a walk together or read a book. The work will always be there when you’re done.
More Parenting Challenges Means You Need To Add More Joy
Be sure to include having fun into your revised expectations – plan to enjoy yourself more, and you will. Find ways in your day-to-day quarantine to add more joy to whatever moment you are living. This could be as simple as turning on your favorite music or allowing yourself to play with your kids, even if you have a lot of other stuff to do.
Make it a point to do what you like to do. Call friends and family, dance, paint, go for a walk, organize something – do whatever works for you, boo. If it makes you feel good, do more of it! The better we feel, the better we can handle everything else. If you get sucked into all the “to do’s” on your calendar, schedule time for a break, just like any other important tasks you have. If you block out the time and put it in your calendar, it will remind you to step away and recharge for a bit.
Protect Yourself, Emotionally Too
The struggles of parenting are hard enough, but now we have to worry about getting sick from touching the slide in the park! Yes, sanitize everything and wash your hands, but don’t stop there. Protect those good vibes you’ve created by doing more of what you love and limit the things and people that bring you down.
This could mean you limit the amount of news you watch or read. It might look like reorganizing your social media accounts to block the Debbie-downers and increase the positive messages by following different people who post uplifting and/or humorous content. Just be sure to notice what makes you feel happy or good (do more of that) and what makes you feel anxious or depressed (try to avoid when possible).
Stillness matters now more than ever. When there’s so much going on that’s out of your control, in the world and in your family, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. If you aren’t taking time for yourself, this will quickly wear you down mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Stillness is anything that brings you peace. I know for some, it’s prayer and meditation. For others, it can be going outside and admiring the sky, a beautiful tree, or hearing the birds sing. Whatever stillness looks like for you – do that as often as possible. If you aren’t sure where to begin, check out this free guided meditation that I created to help you connect with your peace during the whirlwind craziness of motherhood.
In case you were wondering, meditation has been proven to help our emotional and mental well-being. For example, a study on the effects of meditation found that a regular practice can help reduce anxiety and panic attacks. In less than 15 minutes a day, you can give yourself the gift of peace.
I know not everyone considers themselves to be “outdoorsy.” I feel you. I’m not saying to pack your backpacks with trail mix and camping supplies and go out hiking for hours. But there is something powerful that happens when you spend time in nature. You can come back inside, recharged, and balanced. Your outside time could be as simple as sitting on a bench at the park or relaxing in your backyard. Fresh air will do you good – give it a try.
Of course, this helps the kids as much as it helps you. Being pent up all day with no way to expend excess energy creates whiny, foul-tempered kids who will undoubtedly start to fray your last nerves. Get the kids out in the fresh air, too! Explore your backyard, look for chipmunk hideouts or feathers from birds. Have them run an “obstacle course” over hills and fallen sticks. Or take them to the park if you have the time. We sometimes forget that kids need time to just roam; build this into your daily routine, and it will help calm the crazies.
Parenting Struggles: How to Calm the Chaos
We parents struggle with the critical job of bringing up well-functioning human beings and throwing a Pandemic into our daily worries ups the difficulty factor by 10! These are the top 5 ways to calm the chaos that I have been clinging to for my well-being. I hope my tips help you to do the same in your corner of the world. Stay well, stay connected, and stay home when possible. I’d love to hear from you! What are some of your other tips to keep calm?
Looking for More?
My book, Embrace the Beautiful Chaos of Motherhood: The Secret of Staying True to Yourself, is now available! Purchase the book, audiobook, or Kindle version on Amazon.
And if you’d like more tips for handling the beautiful chaos of motherhood, sign up for my email list, and you’ll receive my 14-minute meditation for free! Plus, I’ll send you an update when new blogs or videos are available.