Five Tips To Surviving COVID19 With Three or More Children

The stress during this pandemic has been rising like the tide. So, we have to become stronger swimmers!

I am on social media a lot. It's a chicken and egg thing. Am I on it a lot because I'm a blogger or am I a blogger because I am on it a lot? These are questions that need answers, but won't be addressed in this post. Instead, I would like to discuss survival tips for working moms with multiple kids because I have seen a decent amount of posts from moms who are overwhelmed by all of the demands that have fallen upon them during the pandemic.

Laughing at the daily ridiculous...

My goal with this post is to try to provide working moms with tips to help them better manage these demands and reduce their stress because these women are my people. Indeed, I am in the trenches with them. I have three children. I also still work full time as an attorney in a large organization. That job has a lot of responsibilities that have become more challenging to manage because we have been working remotely and two of my children have been participating in virtual school since last March.

Indeed, as I have written about previously, this "experiment" in how many different things can people accomplish under one roof is a whole lot. I have decided that the experiment has got us all stressed the hell out. It's like to were placed in a blender where we are simultaneously educating our kids, working our jobs, and attempting to live. And we do the same thing again and again.

Before the pandemic, my secret to work/life balance was compartmentalizing.  I failed to appreciate the gift that being able to compartmentalize was. Like lunch. Having the choice of eating what I wanted at my desk alone or eating with a friend was a complete luxury. Being able to go to to the office and know that my kids were at school safe and learning was a gift. 

Tips To Surviving COVID19 With Three or More Children

Here is the response I sent to someone who sought help on Facebook:

Celebrate posting this and brushing your teeth! Just saying. If you can, see if someone can help you at least 10 hours a week. (Ask at church, friends, moms with teenagers) If you can't pay for it and don't have family to help, perhaps another mom could come visit one afternoon and look after your kids while you catch up on things? If you get no help, or even if do, you get some help, create systems to help you tackle the essential tasks when it's less chaotic.  

Below is a more detailed answer.
Me and my kids

My kids are ages 10, 6, and 3. That means is that I am in the trenches. Even the 10 year old who is able to do basic things will surprise me and have a complete meltdown because she feels like I am favoring her brothers. I should say that she says the favoritism is the source of her meltdown. It is possible that the source of the meltdown is that her entire world has been disrupted for the past 11 months and she is struggling to process it all in her 10 year old brain. Hell, I am an adult and struggle to process it sometimes. So, I get it.

First Tip: Remember, the primary goal is to exit this madness alive. (Yeah, I am setting the bar hella low so that we can all feel like winners!) Second, you are not going through this alone. Everybody is struggling. The challenge for moms is that we are in the struggle, but don't have the luxury of curling up in a ball and waiting it out because small people rely on us for their very survival. When moms breakdown there are real consequences. For that reason, we have to reduce our stress as much as possible. That may mean tuning out your spouse's tantrums, ignoring the advice of "helpful" family members and turning off the damn news. To that end, celebrate ordinary joys. To learn more about how to do that, click here.

Second Tip:  Be gentle with yourself. We have been inside of a dumpster that is on fire and barreling down a hill for the past year. Our ability to obtain groceries was disrupted, our childcare evaporated, and we have been bombarded with news stories about how interacting with strangers and loved ones might lead to our death. It's INSANE! Nobody is truly alright with all of this. (For an article about the health implications of all of this stress, click here.) We are all at varying levels of coping. If, in the midst of this COVID19 chaos, you have managed to stay employed, feed your kids, and retain your teeth, you are winning!!! 

Third Tip: Breathe! 😀I'm not joking about the breathing part. As I have learned in mindfulness sessions, we tend to unconsciously hold our breath when we are stressed. Since getting oxygen to our brains is the key to clear thinking and living, it's a bit of a problem. Start the day by claiming 5 minutes to stretch and breathe. You'll find that you'll feel more in control. Also, as you feel stress in your body throughout the day, pause and breathe in through your nose and hold for 5 seconds, then breathe out through your mouth. Repeat 3 times. 

Fourth Tip: Carve out personal time. Every day you need to find time for yourself, regardless of how long. Years ago, I attended an event where all of the moms confessed to getting up at 4:30 AM in order to get alone time. (Click here to learn about that event.) I admired them and longed to become one of them, but it was not for me. Still, I try to wake between 5:30AM and 5:45AM, which is usually over an hour earlier than anyone else. That time, is mine, and I cherish it. Getting that time fills my soul and allows me to have something to pour into others. I know that it is harder to do this when you have a new baby, but you must do that nonetheless. 

Fifth Tip: Find a system that helps you do more in less time. I have learned that the only way to function during these times is to develop a system that works for you, otherwise you'll feel like a failure. In all candor, I currently have people who come in to help me. That said, I haven't always. Indeed, for three months during the pandemic I didn't have anyone. Before that, I didn't have anyone coming to our home for two years. So, I have both perspectives. Also, since they're usually here while I am working watching the kids, I have had to rely on my system to get it all done.  I have found that feeding my family and keeping them in clean clothes are my largest stressors. I used to despise laundry as is well documented here. Then, I established a system. I got everyone their own laundry basket and their own hamper. I wash clothes by person. instead of by color. I use cold water and wash all their stuff at once. This eliminates all the sorting and instead of one big laundry day, I do a load a day and put it away quickly. To read more about how I tackle the laundry monster please click here. I get my groceries delivered. That way I don't waste time in grocery stores or have to worry about taking my kids with me on that errand. I cook a big dinner on Sunday so we can have leftovers for a couple of days. One of my favorite meals to make is a whole chicken. It is easy to season, seamless to make, and it a crowd pleaser! To read more about this click here

The truth is, I am suffering through this COVID19 chaos along with everyone. However, I have learned that focusing on the goal, breathing, taking a little "me time, and relying on my system help me cope. And coping is everything especially and times like this. 

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