Starting off with a peaceful picture of a cuddling little boy to enforce the “Peace” in the title 😌!
I’ve been off the blog for a few weeks while one of our sons had a horrible case of hand, foot, and mouth – he was taking every single little speck of my attention, so I had to take a little breaksie on this end! It has felt weird to be disconnected from the blog with everything going on in the world right now.
It feels wrong to start posting food again without addressing what’s happening and just talking about it. How we’ve been dealing with it. What’s been tough. What’s helped a TON. It seems to be on everyone’s mind right now, so let’s call it what it is and chat about it a little bit!
My big goal through this whole process – now and moving forward – is to be at peace with as little anxiety as possible (some moments are easier than others) until the coronavirus has calmed down and things normalize. Could be a few months, could be much longer, no real reason to speculate because the reality is that no one knows. Experts have some great, educated guesses, but no one really knows.
I have tried my best to be extremely intentional about not letting it spin our worlds into a place of anxiety and fear, and I want to write about what’s helped and made that achievable in case it might help you too!
Before I start, I do want to point out that 1. I don’t actually know I’m talking about here from any stand point other than what works for me and my family and what I’ve learned through difficult and unstable situations in the past (hi, military life 👋). I’m sharing what has helped me and my family in past and current situations 🙂. And 2. Even though I want to make the best of this situation for my family’s personal life, that doesn’t mean we aren’t taking this virus seriously – our eyes are open to the importance of social distancing and the role we can play in slowing the spread. But I plan to follow the guidelines while still remaining in a positive and healthy headspace.
A huge part of it is about mindset!
Think of the Positives
In every single scary/horrible/awful situation, you can find positives. Even in the worst of times. In this particular situation, there are a huge amount of positives to focus on. Some examples for us personally:
- So, SO much quality time with my kids. Usually I am out and about with the kids a ton, which includes car time + them being super occupied playing wherever we are (libraries, museums, etc…). Right now, I am with them all day every day, which has been really challenging at times, but also really sweet and special.
- Extra time with Seth. He works for Bank of America, and they asked all their employees to work from home indefinitely, so this is his second week at home, and we have LOVED that. Lots of extra time with the kids and lots of extra time for us to be together.
- A feeling of camaraderie nation wide. I have seen this specifically from the “having kids” side of things, but everyone seems to be coming together to try and make social distancing as easy as possible for people. Museums and zoos are doing virtual tours, Josh Gad (voice of Olaf from Frozen) is reading a children’s book live every night, mom bloggers everywhere are posting SUPER fun and creative activities to do at home, neighborhood Facebook pages are blowing up with ideas that will allow kids to get out and have fun while keeping their distance (window scavenger hunts, sidewalk chalk activities, etc).
- Having to be forced to be creative and productive. We are stuck at home/around the house all day every day – meandering and playing around the house and yard is NOOOTTT going to cut it, at least not with my two toddlers. We’ve had to think of fun, creative things to do to keep things interesting (more on that later).
- The chance to get to trust God and follow what He says about casting our anxieties on Him and letting him carry those burdens for you. We always hear that we should do that, but when we actually get the chance to put that teaching into practice, it’s an opportunity that should be grabbed.
Remember What You Can and Can’t Control
This is the biggest piece of advice I can give mindset wise. And it is something I have to intentionally do not only in this situation but in TONS of situations – pretty much any time I have any stress or anxiety over anything. I am far, faaaar from perfect, but this helps me immensely.
Ask yourself this question – what about this situation can you control? You can control things like:
- Your mindset (like thinking of the positives!!)
- What you do during the day
- How you stay connected to other people even when you can’t be together
- How you can help the community during this time
- What improvements you can make to yourself and your family (projects you can get done, fun things you can do with your kids, creative quality time you can get with your spouse)
- Doing your part to flatten the curve and control the spread of the virus
And the second super important question to ask – what CAN’T you control:
- The fact that coronavirus exists
- How long it’s going to take for it to go away
- What’s going to happen next week or next month
- How it’s going to affect your income
- The government’s decisions regarding the virus
- The policies put into place and the length of time they will last for
- What other people are doing and how they are handling it
And then you have to try and release on those things you can’t control. There is absolutely no point in wasting mental energy and stressing out over something you can’t do anything about. There are of course going to be times where you experience anxiety about one or all of these things despite your efforts, but all you can do is your personal best to try and remember what you can control and release on what you can’t.
My faith + those two mindset changes are what have helped me remain as low anxiety as possible during this time. There have been some more tangible things we’ve done to make the best of this situation too, and I’ll share those as well:
Be Creative with Your Kids:
I’ve mentioned a few times that we’ve tried to think of some fun things to do with the kids to break up the day and engage them. My kids are only 1 1/2 and 2 1/2, so the attention span on these activities is SHORT, but it still breaks things up and gives them something special and fun! This is a list of things we have either already tried or are on the list to try soon, and EVERY SINGLE ONE comes from an Instagram account/website called Busy Toddler. If you are a mom of babies/small kids and haven’t heard of this, your social distancing is about to get a whole lot easier. She is AMAZING and total #momgoals.
- Truck bath – trucks and cars (or any other toy) in a bin + a bin of soapy water + scrubby brushes. The kids wash the toys!
- Pouring station – mine love this one. A big bin with a bunch of different pouring vessels inside. Old coffee creamer containers, old yogurt containers, bowls, measuring cups, etc. Fill some of them with water and let them pour away! I like to put a few drops of food coloring into each.
- Bubble foam. Craaaazy easy, super fun – 2 parts water, 1 part baby soap, beat with a hand mixer until peaks form. You can put this in a bin all by itself or put things like trucks and dinosaurs in with it. I also add some food coloring to this.
- Fun with ice! Mine both really liked this one. Fill a bin with ice, put an empty bin next to it or inside it along with some bowls/tupperwares/measuring cups and let them play!
- Lego bath or popsicle bath. Both similar concepts. One is that you fill a bath and dump a bunch of Lego Duplos in there – simple but a blast. Second is you give them a popsicle in the bath and it keeps them entertained + is a fun treat minus the mess you’d end up with giving them one in the kitchen.
- Bath tub paint – tape a giant sheet of paper to the wall of the shower (we have a bath/shower combo in the kids room), put a plate of paint on the floor of the tub with some brushes, and let them go crazy. Super easy cleanup afterwards compared to doing this at a table!
- Water beads in the bath! This one isn’t from Busy Toddler, but I tried it yesterday (just put a bin of water beads in an empty bath tub, put both kids in there with some bowls and measuring spoons, and let them go crazy. This one kept them entertained for a while and was super fun!
I have more, but I’ll stop there or this post will go on forever 🙂.
Do Something Good:
This is a time where it’s easy to feel disconnected. You aren’t seeing anyone, and socialization is basically off the table (at least in the ways you were doing it before). Especially for extroverts like me, it is tough to have that disconnect happen so suddenly. A way to combat that is to do some good for your friends and the community! It helps you stay connected.
- Make cards for friends in healthcare. We are mailing a few and made extra so our friend could give them out to her fellow nurses.
- Order takeout from local restaurants to support the businesses that are SUPER struggling right now. Our good friend owns a restaurant here, and we ordered some food for us last week but also ordered some yesterday and dropped it off to a friend who just had a baby – win win! Helping out two people!
- Check in with your friends/coworkers/neighbors to see how they are doing. People appreciate being checked in on – it shows them you care and really want to see how they’re doing. Besides, even a short text conversation helps fill the social bank a bit 😂.
- If you’re already going out to the store, text your neighbors and friends close by to see if you can grab something for them and drop it on their porch. It shows them you care, helps them out, and saves them a trip out if they’d rather stay home as much as possible.
Start Some Projects/Make Improvement Plans:
You’re stuck at home, this may as well be a time to start or finish some projects and make solid plans to improve a few areas of your life that you’ve been wanting to for a while! A few examples:
- The weather is getting nicer, and since we’re at home so much now, we found some back yard projects that create some fun for the kids! We knocked out three things this weekend:
- 1. homemade wooden blocks, just cut and sanded from a few big pieces of wood. Our kids LOVE these – I was surprised by how much.
- 2. A fence chalkboard (I attached a picture if you scroll just a bit). We got a 3×5 piece of Cement Backerboard , sprayed it with a few layers of chalk spray paint (they were out of regular chalk paint, but the spray paint worked!), and drilled it to our fence! We put a small bin of chalk next to it (with a lid to keep rain out).
- 3. A sandbox! I was going to make one out of a giant bin, but my mother-in-law ended up ordering an actual sand box for us – it just arrived today! We grabbed some bags of playground sand, we will fill it up, and add some sand toys. Super simple but super entertaining for them!
- We’ve worked on a few different improvement areas, but one big one is this amazing cleaning checklist that I’ve done on and off for FIVEEE YEEARRRSSS. Emphasis on the “off.” But when I’m doing it, our house is like deep-cleaned amazing all the time, and it is life giving. I love a clean house, but I’m awful at keeping one. Click here for a downloadable version of the cleaning list I’m talking about. So this week my project is getting the entire house base cleaned so I can start doing this daily check list. So far today I’ve done most of the downstairs, woop! I am constantly wanting to work on keeping the house cleaner (seems impossible with kids sometimes) – what better time to improve on that than now?
And that’s all I’ve got for ya! I know this is a tough situation we are in right now. People are out of work, some have lost loved ones, people are canceling weddings and events, dealing with isolation, and dealing with illness themselves. It’s scary and hard, but we do have the choice to either make the best of it and work with what we have or let this situation win and allow ourselves to be in a constant spiral of anxiety and fear.
I hope you guys are crushing this quarantine time, and I’ll be back with some delicious new food the day after tomorrow! ❤️