A couple of weeks ago, our school was closed for a couple of Covid cases. Completely understandable, yes, but frustrating? Also, yes. After a year and a half, we’re all tired of it. The uncertainty, the unexpected closures and fears that our children might get sick.
Being a parent is stressful enough, but lately, for me at least, it’s felt extremely heavy. I find myself on edge anytime we get an email from the school and also overwhelmed by the news. I know I’m not alone and this and I don’t say any of this for pity. We are most definitely all in this together.
But, I see you, I feel you and I understand the same frustrations you are going through.
Flexible Job as a Working Mom
I’m grateful for my job’s flexibility, but if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and as a mom, when childcare plan A falls through, I’m unquestionably, plan B.
I knew that week could go one of two ways. I could be angry, frustrated and annoyed all week, or I could accept that there was nothing I could do about the closure, and make the best of it. Also, I decided changing my mindset and having a good attitude about it was the best way to get through the week. Yes, for some this might all sound a little overblown, but hey, it’s my reality (and many other women’s!) so don’t be too quick to judge.
Any working mom knows this will throw your whole week into a tizzy.
My week was definitely not perfect. While I did stay mostly positive, patient and calm, having a crying baby and 3 year old who literally never stops talking while trying to get out the door can quickly bring you to the edge of your sanity.
I received a few questions from moms that week on how I deal with stuff like this, so I wanted to share!
8 Tips for Managing Expectations when Unexpected Pandemic Closures
Accept Your Fate
Haha, I realize this is a bit dramatic, but honestly, accepting it is the first step in making the best of it. You can control school closures or teachers and other students’ interactions outside of the classroom. Let go of the tight grasp—that in itself is so freeing.
Sitting around the house with nothing to do ends up making me more annoyed that I can’t get work done. Instead, I like to make plans to give our day a little structure. We break it up for the kids and help pass the time. Last week, we went to the park, had picnics, went for walks, painted, colored, and baked muffins. Also, I went to the children’s museum and played with friends in the backyard at the water table.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy and exciting, just gives some structure and for me, makes me feel less frazzled.
Enjoy Your Littles
I love my children so deeply as I’m sure all of you do, but I’m guilty of getting frustrated and annoyed when the time for me to work on my dreams gets taken away. It feels unfair, especially when there’s not even a conversation about it. But, when I look at them laughing and playing, I’m quickly reminded of how fast these ages pass and how sweet they are. Allow yourself to just enjoy their presence, their curiosity and all that comes with it.
Carve Out Time for Yourself
By Friday, I was itching for time alone. I was tired, but set my alarm for 6:15am, got up went for a walk, journaled, made a green juice and enjoyed a quiet home by myself. It was only about an hour, but wow, it changed everything. I was so much calmer and more patient with my kids that day. It’s like the airplane safety card says,
“put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”
Is anyone else guilty of realizing they haven’t eaten all day when you’re taking care of your kids?! I try to eat when they eat, otherwise, it doesn’t happen!
Catch Up When You Can
Clearly, work gets pushed to the backburner, thankfully I think most employers are very understanding right now, but it’s also your job. And, stuff needs to get done. Wake up an hour early to get the essentials done—emails, anything that MUST be complete, and the stuff that can wait or be delegated to someone else, let it be!
I hate having my phone out when I’m with my kids, not that I never do it, but I try not to. So, having time in the morning or evening to catch up is best. Plus, if something bad has come up, it will totally throw you off if you check it while you’re at the park and can’t do anything about it. Just let it go until you have the dedicated time to focus on it.
Use Nap Time As You Please
I’m unfortunately the type that goes and goes even though I really need to slow down. If you’re exhausted and need to just rest during nap time, do it. If you’re feeling energized, get some work done, get a workout in—whatever will make you feel better after the kids get up, do it!
Have the Glass of Wine (or Ice Cream)
At the end of the day, don’t feel guilty for the glass of wine. You kept the tiny humans alive and made it out alive too! It felt like a well-deserved wind down for me after those long, busy days!
Lastly, props to all of you stay at home moms who do this on the regular! You are truly angels and I applaud you for your patience.