Friday, April 3, 2020

Being a Mom AND being sane during the Lock Down

The above title looks like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I mean, how does one do both and get out of it with due credit?
This is quite a new territory for most of us young moms. I think the last time this happened, Indira Gandhi had declared emergency or something like that. Even during the floods, we still could go out and watch the rains. This is something none of us would have ever even thought to prepare for.
People usually say that about parenting. You can’t read it in a book and become good parents. You need to experience it. But at least, you try to prepare for it.
The lockdown during the COVID-19 is not just unexpected; it’s one of the biggest challenges that I have had to face in recent times.
You see these forwards floating around.
Husbands working from home
Children indoors
Malls closed
Movies closed
No outside food
Wishing strength to all the women to deal with this sudden calamity.
And there is so much truth to it. Yes. It’s now tough to be a mom AND stay sane. And while we take some sort of fun and pleasure in these forwards, it’s time to think of MANY ideas to fall upon and try out.
Because, unless we are relatively sane, no one else in the house will be.
And that is a fact.
So here go some of the things I have tried.
  • School is not the only place of education. We can use this month to make them understand what else goes on at home. It is time to dispel the myth that elves from the wizarding world cook meals before they wake up or clean up after them when they go to school. Let the children be a part of everything that takes place at home. From little things like making the bed to bigger things like cooking and laundry.
  • Send them to their rooms to learn to be with themselves. With no homework or deadlines or classes, the time is theirs for them to do what they like. It could be a hobby like art or something practical, like balancing a cheque book. Kiddle (visual search engine for kids) is their oyster. Let them figure it out. Course, we are welcome to guide them — just a guide — from far.
  • It seems natural to make the kids do something. The trick is to make them do nothing. It might be a tad tough on us moms as well, but if we get past that phase; the road ahead is bliss. We won’t be the house jester. And hello sanity!
  • Get them a diary. Let them calendarize their day. And make them end it with a gratitude note. We, as moms, need to realise that some things are not taught but learnt on their own. Their ability to schedule their day and appreciate something at the end of it will go a long way.
  • Connecting with family over Skype calls or WhatsApp calls is a good idea. The care that comes with making sure that everyone is alright goes a long way. And soon, this would become a practice. In this day and age, when everyone connect only during events, this is an excellent habit to develop.
  • This one worked for me very well. We adopted a stray cat and her kittens. Kids learnt to take care of their food, watch out for them during the day (while keeping a distance of course) and making sure that they were alright. This responsibility came willingly, and they spent quality time being with each other and watching out for someone else.
We need to bring balance. Spend time with the kids and balance that with making them learn to entertain themselves. We need to make sure that they do not come running to us the moment they are bored and looking for us to entertain them.
At some point, we need to let go. For their good too, not just ours.
This lockdown has taught us many things. One of the takeaways for moms is that mollycoddling kids could do more harm than good. Sending them to camps and classes might be good for them but teaching them to entertain themselves and learn how to occupy themselves without the help of TVs, video games and mobile phones is the trick.
While teaching them how to be, us moms should also learn the same — Just be. Being together under the same roof and being independent.
And we find our sanity. Knowing that not only are our kids safe, they are independent.
Stay Safe, Stay home, Stay sane!