Thriving in Quarantine, Together (Part 1) - The Mom Life Edition
Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Part 1: Health & Wellness, Organization, Creating a Proper Work-from-Home Environment
"It's not enough to just survive something. You've got to thrive, you've got to feel happy." - Meghan Markle, boss mom of 1 little (11 mo)
Fortunately for us, we live in a time when even though the world is self-isolating, social distancing and in quarantine, we can still feel like we're in it and getting through it together.
It's not always easy, but thanks to the internet, our individual resourcefulness, and a shift in priorities (that some might argue is the best shift we've had in the right direction to date), we're able to find ways to thrive during this unprecedented time. But what does it really take to maximize our experience during this time, now that so much of “life’s noise” has been muted and now that we have a different kind of time on our side? Should we care?
Well, for starters it may feel a little funny to talk about "thriving" during a world crisis, but one could argue that finding and creating joy, every day, especially in the hardest of times, is life-giving/everything — I am definitely in this camp. Choosing to find joy in the most difficult situations not only helps you better "weather the storm" but it also helps you become more resilient and happier as you live through it. Who doesn't want to actually (try to) enjoy the one life you're living now and always? Exactly.
"When you move towards a goal each day you feel a sense of accomplishment, you will have fulfilled that intrinsic need to expand and progress. You will get a sense that the future is still out there, and that is a GOOD feeling." - Cortney, @CortneyHare, boss mom of 3 boys (5 yo, 3 yo & 2 mo), founder & host of "Motherhood Uncorked"
I'm not alone in wanting to live my best life even when it's hard. In fact, I reached out to a handful of the professional rockstar mamas in my tribe, and asked them what they're doing to find ways to thrive during this time, and their feedback was reassuring, impressive and inspiring. The common thread: each and every one of us is challenged by this time, but we're doing things every single day to find small wins despite the challenges, and the things we're each choosing to prioritize meets the time and sanity factors that our individual mom lives and season-of-parenting needs allows, and we're being unapologetic about it.
"I'm trying to take advantage of the slowing down opportunities. I've been doing some hardcore driveway sitting lately. I grab my wine sippy cup and my folding chair and I'm all set. I wave to the neighbors, shut my eyes, bask in the sun, listen to music and just be." - Amanda, @ThrowConfettiOften, working boss mom of 1 little (6 yo)
In other words, here's what I discovered: First, there's no wrong way to thrive in quarantine, all that matters is that you prioritize the things that help YOU create the happiness you need. Second: These efforts are happening across 7 major categories:
Health & Wellness
Creating a Proper Work-from-Home Environment
Building Community & Connection
Cultivating a Thriving Mentality
*Working From Home With Kids (#WFHWK)
*WFHWK is no joke, and we're going to table it for this first round of Thriving in Quarantine chatter, because I want to focus on the leaders of the household (aka ‘The Moms’) efforts to thrive.
In an effort to spread this out in the most beneficial and digestible way, I'm going to tackle the first three subjects in Part 1: Health & Wellness, Organization, Creating a Proper Work-from-Home Environment, and bust out the other 3 in round two. Let's get into it.
1. Thriving with Health & Wellness:
Now, don’t get me wrong: I am fully aware of how hard this is and how much wine I’m capable of consuming if I let my wild irresponsible inner child on the loose (we let her out occasionally, it’s only natural). But here we are, and unless you’re immune to hangovers or you’re a sleep-averse unicorn, you too have to wake up on time M-F and get yourself together enough to manage the working-teaching-parenting-from-home circus. For most of us, that means you find a way to prioritize health & fitness, some semblance of normalcy which often includes a morning routine and/or evening wind-down routine, and some self care.
“I ride the Peloton everyday...and I make sure to prioritize some wine time on the weekends, and I try to go to sleep early to get ready for the next day.”
Angela, I’m right there with you sister! Also, ATTN LADIES: Free Peloton App for 90-Days, with all kinds of body weight exercises, yoga and meditation options. No excuses!
“I wake up before the baby and write down my three goals for the day and three things I'm grateful for while I drink my coffee, and I do my plank challenge. Also, I bought a kindle so that I have something to look forward to that is not TV, alcohol or food." - Lauren, @NewarkingMom, working boss mom of 2 littles (3 yo & 10 mo)
"I've tried really small self-care tactics like a long walk or podcast in the am, diffusing calming essential oils, letting my kids ride bikes in the driveway while I soak in some Vitamin D or read a book...going to bed early — after a glass of wine of course — and eating healthy has helped with my mental health."
Raise your hand if you too are part of the up-at-the-crack-of-dawn before-kids-wake-up get-it-done club.
"I'm prioritizing bedtime! This allows me to get 1-2 hours of Me Time. I get to wind down from the day and so something I enjoy, which completely keeps me sane! I love to watch TV — Tiger King, Love is Blind, and Ozarks Season 3 are all already checked off my list" - Marian, @The_Werking_Mom, boss mom of 2 littles (5 yo & 3 yo)
“I just started running with the stroller between 4-5 PM because I wasn't productive in that hour anyway, so I gave up on trying to work and finally devoted time for a workout after like straight up two years of not working out. Also, when I'm cleaning the house now, I count it as a workout because of how intense scrubbing can be!” - Cristina, @CSanch01, working boss mom of 2 littles (3 yo & 14 mo)
I too am ruthless about prioritizing my morning routine before the madness hits which includes a sweat session. And I started to light a candle in whatever room I’m in to add some relaxing self-care flair to the vibe (I never light candles...into it!).
And for some of us, just trying to keep things “as normal as possible” is the key to success:
"The biggest thing I'm doing is keeping our normal routine...like daily workouts, meal plans for the week, and drinking half our weight in water — these things have been crucial to help us feel like we're on a normal schedule."
- Maria, @Confessions_of_a_Corporate_Mom, working boss mom of 3 littles
(12 yo, 10 yo & 3 yo), co-host of The Corporate Mom Life podcast
“One thing that I’ve been trying to do for myself is to take a bath after the kids go to bed...it’s not consistent but when I have the energy to do it! When I take that time, I finally get a moment to be by myself, watch a show, or read a book to just let my mind and body unplug from the daily crazy and chaos."
- Brenna, @BWynhof, working mom boss of 2 littles (2.5 yo & 10 mo)
Brenna, I couldn’t agree more on the importance of the evening wind (sometimes wine) down!
And ladies, if it’s just not happening for you in this department and “...you can't seem to get it together, take a friggin shower, you will emerge a whole new woman!" - Cortney, @CortneyHare
2). Thriving with Organization:
Gals, I’m really good at compartmentalizing (aka “choosing not to see”) the chaos and mess to stay sane. When it starts to get a little questionable, my husband usually freaks out first and goes on a cleaning spree, thank god. One thing I’ve been doing successfully in quarantine is multitasking while at home on work calls, and doing laundry and making my bed which has given me an incredible sense of accomplishment. But on the whole, Marie Kondo would not be impressed, which is why I’m for sure going to take some pages out of the following mamas books to add a bit more organization to my life, which is focused on legit cleaning, organization and using up items to make space:
"I take 15 minutes to clean the house before bed every night. I put toys away, run the dishwasher, do a quick vacuum of the first floor etc…that way each morning we have a fresh and tidy house to start the day. I'm the type of person that needs a clean space in order to feel productive and sane!"
- Molly, @MEM2439, working boss mom of almost 2 littles (13 mo & 1 bun in the oven)
"I'm prioritizing using up all the almost-empty products in my house, everything from old beauty product samples to the epic number of smoothie mix-ins sitting in my cupboard. Using everything up and creating new space feels so satisfying right now!" - Somer, @Family.Life.Coach, working boss mom of 1 little (3 yo), coach at Birth2Work, "Intentional parenting & leadership for all ages"
3). Thriving by Creating a Proper Work-from-Home Environment
There’s nothing quite like trying to find your WFH zen when your toddler is sending death-by-matchbox projectiles across your laptop while you're trying to run a meeting from (insert the inappropriate “work seat” that you chose in error when this whole circus started - mine was my bed).
One of the first things fellow working mom Lauren did, was to create an appropriate at-home work environment.
“I invested time in designing my at home workspace, which includes researching and acquiring a comfortable chair (if you don't have one, buy one), appropriate lighting, and everything I need to be focused. I also invested in some decor to make it feel like a place I want to be.” - Lauren, @NewarkingMom
And the next thing many of us did was to get organized and aligned on the family calendar and “parent shift” schedule, which my family does every Sunday night on a big old white board.
"On days when I'm working, my husband and I compare calendars and take turns watching the kids. It's the only way we've been able to keep up with our work calls." - Meg, @WorkingMomLove
Well, there you have it. And as you can see, mamas out there be crushing it with whatever phase of life they're in, and you can too. All it takes is small steps, even in the craziest of times, to continue to find ways to thrive so that we can all come out of this mess on top.
I love the idea that we’ve all been gifted this experience to see who’s going to make the best damn lemonade (lemon margaritas?) everrr out of these lemons 🍋
Part 2: Building Community & Connection, Personal Development, and Cultivating a Thriving Mentality, coming to a screen near you very soon.
In the meantime, we’ve got this.