An exclusive look at how moms around the country are getting it done (and how you can, too).
Quarantinis aside, there are close to a million ways you can get through your shelter in place. And though a cocktail helps, it’s the times where you’re in the thick of your inbox, your kids are climbing all over you, you’ve already succumbed to letting them watch their third episode of YouTube trash, and you’ve relinquished your will, committing to sweatpants for the third (fifth?) day in a row. When you look up, you realize it’s barely 9:30am, and you’re wondering how in the hell you’re going to get through another day.
In a weird way, quarantine has felt strangely familiar. It’s like a longer, more drawn out, and much more stressful newborn period. The days blend together, time seems to lack any type of structure, and you’ve forgotten when you showered last. With no place to go, and a seemingly endless to-do list, we’ve been sequestered inside. In the not-too-distant past, days spent at home, together, may have seemed like a dream. Maybe it’s the anarchist in each of us that wants to buck the system--is it just because we’re being told what to do and how to do it that makes this so unbearably hard?
Actually, no. It’s the fact that we’ve just been asked to become teachers, parents, therapists, yoga instructors, and, for most of us, bosses or employees. It’s never been more clear than now that work life and home life are distinctly separate for a reason. In this current climate, we’re being asked to be everything simultaneously, a feat that is not only completely, irrefutably difficult--it’s impossible. And that’s not cynicism, it’s just a fact. We can’t be everything at once. Put simply, we have but 1 mind, 2 hands, and 24 hours. No matter how you slice it, things at present are challenging, to say the very least.
But every cloud has its silver lining, and if we’ve learned anything from this, it’s that community is paramount to getting through. For you, even just reading this means that you’ve enveloped yourself in the warm embrace of someone that, albeit digitally, gets it. Even better, we just pooled our rockstar mama resources to bring you the full monty: the most insightful Quarantine Survival Guide to date. From this point forward, fear not. When you’re feeling down and out, this list is here to help you find the light.
FOR THE MAMAS (AND PAPAS)
From Elizabeth A (@trustle_):
I am a child psychologist by training and am the founder of a parent support organization called Trustle. We are currently offering 1:1 parent support sessions to help parents manage this difficult time, discuss ways they can support their children, and help them design a schedule and distance learning/play/connection routine that works for their individual family. You can learn more here.
From Tara (@thismamasoul):
We are offering free prenatal/ postpartum yoga streaming and have a beautiful bookstore online. We also sell the amazing CBD salve for all the pains and stiffness of being stuck at home.
From Lauren K (@totesavvy)
Working from home is always challenging. Adding a house full of kids, pets, and a significant other just adds to the noise and stress levels. On top of our normal workload, we're also expected to play the role of teacher, make meals, sanitize everything that comes inside our home, along with a laundry list (oh yea... laundry 😒) of other things on a daily basis. Personally, I felt overwhelmed 5 minutes into our shelter in place order. Each day has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride but I've learned a few little tricks to help bring some normalcy back and get myself through each day.
If you don't have a quiet area to get work done, put in headphones and blast your favorite playlist for an hour or so while you concentrate on one task at a time. For me, music can be inspiring and helps me focus. Hearing my children fight with one another, on the other hand, is not. P.S. If turning the TV on for an hour lets you have this time to yourself, do it!
Get on a homeschooling schedule. Our 1st grader is given worksheets to complete weekly. I print them all out and divide them among file folders labeled with the day of the week. She knows she has to finish those worksheets before she can watch TV or play on her iPad. It gives her the flexibility to choose when she wants to sit down and do schoolwork while also enforcing that she does have to participate in learning daily.
Make sure you're making time for yourself. No matter what, you need to prioritize yourself at some point during the day to ensure your mental health is not overlooked.
From Amanda W (@amandapanda_abracadabra):
This might sound silly, but my husband and I have been going to bed EARLIER and waking up earlier. I'm so exhausted at the end of the day with full-time parenting and trying to run our business, I feel like I don't even really enjoy running a bath or a movie at night after the kids go to bed because I'm physically tapped out and just thinking I'll have to do it all over again the next day! I have been waking up early to give myself more time, and have been taking my morning coffee out to a lounge chair (I'm literally in my bathrobe, this is not fancy) and I take a big blanket and just enjoy some fresh air, REAL quiet (there are hardly any planes flying overhead, and everyone in the neighborhood is at home and sleeping in), and mentally get ready for my day.
In the mornings, I have been doing the following after getting out of bed and drinking some water: a short meditation, 5 minutes of journaling, 10 sun salutations, and having my coffee with either just silence with hubby or a good book. It's been amazing!
Going for a run - it's a safe way to be socially distancing! I also imagine 'running away' from the virus, this weird new reality, and anything else that's bugging me (is that weird? probably).
On Beauty (Haha):
I don't dye my hair yet, but I have been getting regular eyelash extension treatments for years, as well as eyebrow treatments to make those bad boys fluffy and filled in. Now I basically look tired.
I am using this time to grow everything [out]: I ordered lash and brow serums, and I'm also trying to 'train' my hair a bit more to be washed fewer times in a week.
I get my exercise clothes out, clothes for the day after I've exercised and washed my body, and set out everything around my Riki mirror (what a major purchase that was for me!) to do a bit of makeup in the morning - that is the main beauty thing I'm doing to make me feel human every day, act like I'm going somewhere! That includes putting on nice jewelry too - why not?
From Melissa R (@melissarosenfield):
For hair color: I ordered clear gloss from Target (Kristen Ness) because my colorist said it will enhance my color and add shine without changing my balayage and probably the lowest risk until we can color again.
For skincare: Still using sunblock because of all the blue light and large windows.
For working out when it isn't an option: Obe, Bala wrist/ankle weights as I clean around the house and using my 6-month-old as a barbell.
For reading: Audible and real books which means I am not on the computer or watching TV all day which is helping my brain.
From Kelsey S: (@shopmilimili)
3x a week Zoom happy hours with friends once the kids go to bed. Some are game night themed, some are digital book or movie clubs, some are just chances to gripe with my best friends about how shitty this all is. But it's nice to have human connection outside of our house, and I'm finding I’m seeing and talking to my out of state friends more often than I did before Covid.
From Tara C (@thismamasoul)
On the hair side!!
Art and Autonomy is making hair color delivery. I have a hair contact there, her name is Mary. You can send a photo of your hair and she will put together either a gloss or at home product.
Related, from another genius, Kaitlin Strobel: Reach out to your hairstylist to see if they can re-create your color and send it to you to do from home and help keep their small businesses afloat!
From Shea K: (@shea_kluender_)
I like to use self-portraiture as a form of self-care. I lead with weekly creative prompts and supportive conversation, which could be a great resource to include in the survival guide for those seeking a down-to-earth artistic space. Mamas simply create a Pathwright account to log-on to the 2020 Self-Portrait Community virtual space from home - the weekly "lessons" and discussions are all online. This course regularly costs $30/month for unlimited content and community, but it will all be free the rest of the year in support of offering a resource to mother ourselves and each other during this crazy time.
From Misha V (@mishavayner)
I’m a holistic health coach & wellness blogger that supports overwhelmed mamas in feeling their best without the stress. This has been a focus of mine always, but now more than ever.
My blog has tons of resources, such as my Busy Mama Cook Book & Mindful Mama Guide , & Self Care Tips , How to Support yourself during stressful times, natural ways to fall asleep, how to reach your health goals when you're exhausted, easy ways to quickly get nutrient-dense foods such as my top 3 vegan, delish, drinkable soups and on and on and on.
I send out weekly newsletters focused on this with relevant content! (Find her here!)
Time blocking the calendar has been really helpful for me but my fave online offering at the moment [is] Kidville. My kids’ ages are 2, 3, and 6 and they have LOVED their content and classes.
FOR THE KIDS
FROM ALLI OF WILD CHILD GYM (@wildchildgym)
Wild Child Gym has been producing free classes and posting on YouTube. We’ve been getting amazing feedback and a following worldwide! The program is a combination of movement, skills, and activities like puppet shows and dance breaks meant for young children to be active while still providing content allowing their imaginations to flourish. We are a small family business and our gorgeous studio is based in downtown Culver City, CA.
In addition to 2 episodes every week, we are posting mini videos with ideas for indoor play, like: three games to play using a blanket, fort building, and more!
We are community-focused and have been sharing our ideas on stories to help keep little ones engaged. Like neighborhood walks with a purpose that turn into a fun activity, like rainbow hunts, texture hunts, and nature soup. We are organizing a community Easter egg (art) hunt. Kiddos are drawing Easter eggs and displaying them on front windows/doors and then we ride around the neighborhood to find the eggs.
From Amanda W (@amandapanda_abracadabra)
We put a whiteboard up in our kitchen, and after dinner each night we write down our schedule (loosely!) with our kids for the next day. What we are doing after breakfast, after lunch, what are we having for meals, etc., we pick baking projects or art projects for the afternoon after any classes or lessons, etc., and because my husband and I run a business together, that's a good time to discuss who's watching the kids at what time based on work, meetings etc.
It is NOT very warm by us right now (we're in the UK) but we have a small back garden, and unless it's torrential rains, we are outside with our boys doing literally anything anytime we don't have an inside activity. Right now they are just loving taking things they don't normally take outside, outside (like books, mega blocks, their IKEA table and chairs to do coloring, etc.)
Yoga videos together: for some reason, my kids love trying to do what we do - so we have been doing a ton of yoga videos online (literally anything) and then the game is copy!
Forts: we have done indoor and outdoor forts, they take a good amount of time to set up and perfect, and then any activity inside seems more fun (most of the time).
Last choice: movie (we try to find something like Wall-E, etc., where we can have fun watching but also talk about it afterward)
From Melissa R (@melissarosenfield)
To de-stress: Coloring with my babe. He likes to see what I am doing and it's literally the most relaxing activity. We have lots of coloring books but a few museums are putting coloring pages online that you can print of famous paintings.
From Kelsey S (@shopmilimili)
Khan Academy Kids - for my preschooler. She decided to stop napping during this whole thing (just icing on the quarantine cake), so I give her one hour of this learning game and she is obsessed. And I get to get some work done, or tend to baby, or prep dinner or whatever I can squeeze in.
From Lauren D: (@circletimefun)
As far as classes go, I am using Circle Time, the company I work for. They have lots of classes so all three can take their own class or we all do a cooking class together. To be honest, once we do a couple of classes I feel less guilty about the IPAD ad Netflix time.
Benita G (@zesttorganics)
This is a very small detail and probably sounds silly but the best piece of advice I've gotten is to start using a snack basket. I have a 4-year old who loves her snacks. On the weekends we never really policed it but now that she is home all day, she was on a snack hunt every hour (or at least it felt that way)! We started with the basket last week and never looked back! I'm honestly surprised at how well she responded. I load it up with a few things every morning (fruit, crackers, cheese), put it in the refrigerator, and it is hers for the taking. She knows the rules: (1) you can only have what is in the basket (no more asking for a million options), and (2) once it is empty, snacks are done for the day. It's made life so much easier! The first few days she cleaned it out entirely but the last two there have been a few leftovers. Again, super simple but definitely one less "thing" on my plate during this crazy time :)
FOR THE FAMILY
From Amanda W (@amandapanda_abracadabra)
I have standing FaceTime and Zoom 'appointments' with family, my best childhood girlfriends, neighborhood mums, friends around the world that my husband and I socialize with, and former colleagues. It really helps to have these in your calendar to look forward to!
And finally - laughter really is the best medicine for everything. I have one of those husbands who uses any excuse to 'take the piss' and while I am usually the center of these jokes, I'm learning that just laughing and taking it easy/letting things just be funny because funny is so crucial right now, has been fantastic for lightening the burden and heaviness I've been feeling, worrying for my family, my parents, siblings and nephews, friends and loved ones all around the world.
From Kelsey S:
Daily walks - we all get dressed like normal humans and go out for a 30-minute walk every morning. We see other people and say hi, enjoy the California sunshine, and we all feel so much better afterward (especially the dog).
From Lauren D:
As far as self-care, I am teaching my three littles (7,4 and 2) how to do dance cardio so I can get in my cardio and have a dance party with my kids. Also, they are learning the ways of face masks and mani-pedis.
This piece was written by the ToteSavvy team with love, but made possible by the HEYMAMA community, a huge resource for working moms--in quarantine and not. Make sure to share with other mamas in your life!