From Chaos to Calm in the Constricting times of COVID
I am writing this blog, not as an educator, or preschool director or entrepreneur. I am just writing it as a mother who needs to share her personal experience with someone – everyone. I am writing this not in the hope to teach or inspire and be any kind of role model. I am writing this down because someone asked me for guidance and I felt I needed to share this with more people like us!
In the times of internet and social media, you would think social distancing would not be so difficult? Well, it is! No maids, limited groceries, demanding children, a messy home is just the beginning. When you don’t need to wake up early and be somewhere – the entire family wakes up late and always hungry. Now you need to prepare meals, get overwhelmed just by the thought of cleaning, laundry and before that the kids are bored and demanding your attention. You lose your temper if the family is not being helpful, increasing your work or what not! You are tired, stressed, sleep-deprived, overworked and somewhat depressed/insecure and angry too? Well, these are some of the problems most of us parents are facing in this uncertain time. And just like any problem or challenge – You have two choices -focus on the problem or the solution. In the hope, it might work for you, here is mine.
My mantra was the word CHOAS which I used to beat the CHAOS and turn it into CALM.
1. C - Chaos breeds Chaos
If your mind is in chaos internally with all these negative thoughts, news and discussions it will result in your actions. I converted the chaos to calm by prayers or meditation for only 10-15 minutes twice a day. Starting and ending my day with it really helped. I invited the entire family to join me and it helped a lot! We made it a point to be grateful for our good health, safety and each other! (A few days into it I started sleeping better and even remembering my dreams! I didn’t even ask for this!)
2. H - Have a Healthy Routine
I helped establish a good routine for the children. Wake up, meditate and have breakfast, followed by a bath. Complete two pages of homework or school work in 10-20 minutes. After which they were free to play their favourite blocks, or kitchen set until lunchtime. As for me, I made sure I get up an hour or two earlier and finish the cooking and cleaning. Lunch was easy and quick as the kids were allowed 30 minutes of TV time after. Then it was time to read for them and I spent the afternoon working from home. At 5 pm we made sure we do an hour of home workout or just a walk in the society (if it is permitted) or dance. Some physical exercise for the kids and us. Then prepare dinner, eat, meditate and call it a day. This worked for me, you can feel free to figure out a routine that is best suited to the needs of your family.
*If you have a single child who is below 4 years and doesn’t play alone for very long you can easily modify this routine. Involve your child along with you in as many household chores as you can. Remember keep talking and using your words so that your child can increase their vocabulary. “Now Mumma is going to sweep the bedroom. You can do it with me but you need to listen to what Mumma says. This is my broom and this is yours. I will broom this part and you can do that part. Watch how Mumma does it.” In activities that you can’t involve your child – try to do it while they are sleeping or ask your partner to help with the child. It is also okay to allow children to be bored and figure out what they want to play and be by themselves for at least 30 minutes daily. This helps children be more confident and reduces chances of depression in the future.
3. A - Always Keep it Fun!
We made it a point to set out some time for video calls to feel connected in the times of social distancing. We only spoke to close friends and family and shared positive thoughts and updates about our day. We did fun activities like Pillow fights, peek-a-boo or fun board games before bed time! Don’t forget to let the kids decide something fun they would like to do with you every day! Be generous with your hugs, kisses and comfort to the entire family.
4. O - Only One (single task) approach
The key to setting a good routine and accomplishing work and home balance all from home was only possible by considering and focusing on one task at a time. When I thought about the quantum of work and no help, it all seemed impossible to finish. When I thought about each individual task I came up with many solutions like – deep cleaning today so that for the next two days I can only broom and mop again on the third day. Doing dishes in smaller batches 5-6 times a day and asking others to help with a batch. When they pile up all together it is exhausting and messy!
5. S - Success equals Consistency!
It only works and gives you results if you follow through. It took me 2-3 days to get from chaos and frustration to calm and positive. Everything happens for a reason and maybe this is God or Nature’s way of teaching us new ways and solutions. If we don’t emerge stronger and more evolved then what use is all that Cognition anyway!
From demanding children, they turned into feeling secure and engaged. My daughter started finishing 1-2 books daily from various authors, researching Lego projects on YouTube and my son started gardening, home assignments, dishes and laying the table! I was feeling positive and accomplished by having time to create online content while balancing home chores. And just like that, I went from Chaos to Calm!