Sanity Saving Quarantine Tips

So much has changed in our daily lives in such little time. I find myself checking the news headlines in the mornings to see what changed from the day before. I am extremely thankful to be at home with my 2 children right now while so many others are working to keep society going and maintaining our health and safety. I have never in my life been more grateful for all of them. My husband is still working and will continue to work through all of this as he is mostly isolated in his machine maintaining the gravel roads. I am home with the kids trying to keep things as normal as possible for them. I feel this giant sense of responsibility to make sure my 5 year old continues to practice and learn what she should for Kindergarten, all the while keeping my 1 year old injury free and preventing him from destroying our home at the same time. It is much easier said than done. I have also heard from several parents of older children that it is much harder to keep them home and entertained. Friends and social circles are everything to older kids. Not to mention their school work is much harder to help with! I believe we are all just doing what we can to do our best and keep our families healthy and safe. The past 3 weeks I have been trying to establish our new “routine”. I have also discovered a few things that have been helping to save my sanity! Here is what I have found!

I like to do small things that I enjoy. This seems so simple and that it should go without mentioning, but these are things I often overlook during normal circumstances due to feeling too busy. I like to light a candle during the day on my counter, take a bubble bath at night, walk/ride my bike, write, color, or do a puzzle. Whatever you like to do, do it. Don’t think too much about it, just get up and do it. You will feel better because of it.

Rearrange the furniture. This drives my husband nuts. There are 2 kinds of people in this world. Those that find the way they like their furniture and leave it be for all of eternity and those that are constantly changing things around to see what they like best. I am the latter. I get tired of the same old same old. I love waking up in the morning and walking into a newly rearranged room from the day before.

Change around the kids’ toys. Don’t just stop at the furniture. Keep your kid’s toys new and interesting for them. Bring up toys they haven’t played with in a while or move stuff from their room somewhere else and replace it. Old toys will feel new again! Get out mom and dad’s old toys that you have been saving for someday down the road. They will love it!

Get outside at least twice a day. This is easy because of where we live. I do realize there are places where you cannot do this. Go for a walk, fill the bird feeders, wave to the neighbors, or just stand on the porch. Breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun (or rain) on your face.

Drive around your town and look for things you’ve never noticed before. (Again, super easy in rural Iowa.) A lot of families are putting things in their windows to look at- rainbows, bears, drawings. Drive down streets you don’t usually drive down. Go for a drive on a gravel road! See how many different birds you can spot. Look for different types of plants or trees. Download a car scavenger hunt to do as a family.

Have a date night in. Put the kids to bed early. Support your local restaurants and order some food. Have a living room picnic, pick a good movie, play a board game, or truth or dare. Plan a virtual game night with friends. Use the zoom app or try downloading a game app on your phone.

Try to keep a day to day routine as best as you can that you can rely on and stick to. Keep the weekends fun and the weekdays for a little more structure.

Do things to make you feel good about yourself. I am a normal sweatpants/ponytail type of person, so I am keeping to my normal, but if you normally style your hair and wear makeup then do that. If you usually paint your nails, go ahead and do that. Support your local salon or small business and order some new product to try out. Dress up a little bit for your date night in. Spray on you’re favorite perfume or cologne. Do whatever you do that makes you feel good about you and do that.

Connect with and serve others. Use technology to your benefit- FaceTime, call, zoom, Marco Polo, whatever you use, set up times to talk to the important people in your life regularly. Use this as an excuse to make the time to connect more than you usually do. If you’re feeling stressed or worried, talk it out. Share the small joys you experience during the day. Make sure you are checking in on your friends and family, they might be having a harder time than you are. Check on your neighbors. Give them a call or drop off a note (making sure you are maintaining social distance). Send cards and drawings to nursing home residents who can’t have visitors. Drop off a care packages at someone’s house. Leave a small gift for your mailman. Any way you are able, serve others.

If you find other things that help you keep positive and feel good, please share! I would love to hear how you are getting through these unusual times. I wish you all health, safety, and happiness. Pray for our leaders, healthcare workers, and all who are working and sacrificing for us.

Talk to you soon,

Megan

Becoming a Mom Means…

When you are a mom to little ones things can get pretty messy and chaotic. You can have the best intentions for your day and then absolutely nothing goes according to plan. In the same instant, for as much as you want to scream, there will be a single moment that takes your breath away and makes you tear up because of the love you feel for that little person. Sometimes the best way to get through the day is with humor, especially with other moms who understand. So, what does becoming a mom mean? Let me give you some insight I have gained along my path of motherhood.

It means….Not being able to use a public bathroom with ease for several more years. This is something I would have never thought about before having a baby. If you are grocery shopping and you need to go to the bathroom, there is literally no where to put your baby so you can use the toilet. One time I was super desperate, not able to hold it, and found myself one arming my baby while using the other arm to yank down my pants. Getting my pants back up while trying not to drop my screaming child was really the challenge. The key is to either have someone with you to help hold your crying baby, bring a stroller, or wear your baby (although this is also an interesting predicament, wearing your baby while sitting on the toilet). If you think it’s going to get any easier when they can walk, you are wrong. Get ready for them to reach for that door handle as you’re midstream, look under the stalls, talk about what they’re smelling or hearing, and the worst- putting their hands (or mouths) on everything in sight. Enough said.

It means…Getting way more comfortable with poop. Babies poop a lot- especially if they are breastfed. You more than likely will get poop on your hands, it will be on the changing table, and on their cute little outfit you took so much time to pick out. Don’t worry, just wash your hands, wipe down the changing table, and throw the outfit in the wash. My first had a lot of trouble with constipation. So it was quite literally a celebration when there was poop. A few times she was really plugged up and we had to resort to a suppository. You can’t imagine the level of happiness you will feel when you see your little baby grunting trying to push out a much needed poop. You will jump up and down and clap your hands like you just won a prize.

It means…Understanding your own mom way better than before. I now fully grasp and understand how my mom felt every time she threatened to run away from home (she never really did and please tell me I’m not the only one whose mom has said this phrase before) . Sometimes you just cannot take it anymore. My mom told me once that she locked herself in the closet when my sister was a baby because she couldn’t take the crying. My oldest was colicky for a good 2-3 months. I totally get it now. There were times when I had to just set her in the crib and walk away. Being a parent will test your patience like you never knew it could be tested.

It means…A full night of sleep is a luxury. Have you ever thought that being admitted to the hospital would be a treat because you would sleep better there than at home? I remember thinking this when both of my babies were under 6 months. Its a terrible thing to think, but when you’re short on sleep your thoughts really get crazy and you get desperate. The first time your child sleeps through the night it is like the best feeling in the world. Although, you will most likely wake up and panic that something is wrong.

It means…Accepting that the t.v. is not solely yours anymore. This was something I always said before having kids- that I will watch what I want to watch and my kid will just have to deal with it. This could not be farther from the truth. There are several times a week I have to say out loud, this is mine and daddy’s t.v., not yours.

It means…Finding joy in every tiny thing your child does (yawning, laughing, hiccups, boo boo faces…you name it). Remember the poop story earlier? You will literally gush about everything. The little poop faces they make, the first time they smile, when they first say mom, or blow you a kiss and say love you. Its just the best.

It means…Realizing you would now give your life for someone else without question. There is nothing more important in this life than that little human you’re taking care of. I can’t explain it any further that that. This kind of love feels so scary, but its also the just the best.

It means…You have no idea what you’re doing. But here’s the thing… no one really knows what they’re doing. And if you think you got it down, you child is about to change that. Then, someone somewhere is about to tell you you’re doing it wrong. You really just have to go with it and trust your gut.

Can we agree that motherhood is the messiest, toughest, sweetest, most rewarding job in the world? Even though it’s hard I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I sure do love my two little monsters. Let me know some of the things that you found out when you first became a mom. If you are not a mom yet, tell me what you are most scared or excited about! And if you are not wanting to be a mom, and are reading anyways, that’s perfectly ok too! 🙂