There's no doubt about it. This a period in all of our lives we'll never forget, a global pandemic with unmeasurable impact on our economic and social lives. It'll take some time to adjust to normal life again, whenever we can pick that up again. Or is this the new normal?
Staying sane In my personal situation, the normal day-to-day juggle as a working parent has been taken to a whole new level. With little to no time for yourself, you make do with the moments you have to get some work done. In the first week, working in the evening was what we did to catch up on work you hadn't finished during the day. But that adds unnecessary stress to an already stressful time. Normally on an average day, you have some time to process, but with two active kids and everyone in the same house all day long, this is different. Taking time to exercise is another thing, from crazy home workouts to free yoga apps to sunrise running sessions. We are trying to stay active because sitting still is not good for the body nor for the mind. Big tip, as always, try to get some form of exercise. You can even do it with your family, have you tried the bear hunt yet? A global initiative where people place a teddy bear in their windows for kids to spot and count, making a stroll more engaging for them. A great way to get fresh air, kill time and keep your overall sanity while spotting the bears, a sweet community connecting activity.
Staying creative Ok, sanity managed, right? But how do you let your creativity flow when you work-time is limited? Unfortunately, I no longer have the luxury of staring out the window and let my mind flow freely. I feel that every time my husband and I swap work/kid-duties, that I need to be super-productive. Which for a copywriter means, instant-creativity. But creativity doesn't work that way. You don't just open your laptop and the words will flow. However, it has to now. I use my headphones, put a focus-playlist on and try to go in hyper-mode. And well, if it doesn't work? I close my laptop and do some arts&crafts with my kids. Then try again tomorrow. I mean, I'm not going anywhere.
The kids are alright Personal space and alone-time is a thing that everybody needs, kids too. We try to give them both some room to do something on their own or try to create some one-on-one time. For example, our youngest loves to help cook every day. The eldest loves taking a stroll, riding her bike or rollerskating. Just try to incorporate as much time as possible for each individual needs so they feel appreciated too and not left to figure it all out themselves. Kids are amazingly resilient and are far better in coping with ever-changing situations than adults. Both of our kids will turn (or have turned) a year older this spring but will have their birthday parties sometime this summer. When? We have no idea. Did they cry? No. They took it like true champs and are just looking forward to when it will happen, without focusing on that fact that has not happened.
Focus on what's going on now, focus on what you have now, on what's good now. Tiny or big. And let go of all the things that should've happened. We watched the South-Korean movie Parasite the other day, and the dad puts it correctly when he says "you know what kind of plan never fails? No plan at all. No plan. You know why? If you make a plan, life never works out that way." Another wise thing I learned from this amazing movie? We should all praise Wi-Fi more often. Wi-Fi will get us all through this.