When I sit and think about what it means to be a mama during a global pandemic, I can feel the panic set. The beads of sweat move down my face and I think about all things that need to be done, not done, all the chores, the work of an entrepreneur, and oh, being pregnant too.
I think we can all agree that when life started changing, we quickly realized that meant just about everything else needed to change too. Schedules, dinners, bedtimes, snack times, school time. And when, really, when was all of this supposed to happen while we manage businesses, keep a household together and still find time for all the eluded “me time” that social media insists on. I had to come up with something that worked for everyone in this house— and still left a little time to remember that, yes, one day everything would ultimately be “normal” again.
As a small business owner, a teacher hubby who’s been home since March, a 23-month-old toddler and a quarantine pregnancy— we had little choice but to set routines and practice consistency to stay sane. If there is one thing I used to be strict on was schedules and consistency.
That is until COVID-19 rolled around. A new normal was about to set in for the whole family. The one thing I knew I couldn’t compromise on was some sort of normalcy in our day to day with Sebastian.
It’s not news to parents that children (like adults) fear the unknown, and when you’re 2 years old— I can imagine the unknown of being suddenly stripped of your daily routine and watching mama’s belly grow is confusing enough. We focused on consistency.
Even if that consistency was plenty of snacks and Disney+, we wanted to make sure he knew he was safe and the transition from everyday “school” at daycare was as smooth as possible. My husband and I knew that creating some type of loose plans early on would help us manage the day in and day out of what it meant to parent during an unexpected quarantine.
For us, and many parents, consistency wasn’t just keeping a schedule.
Consistency meant that Sebastian knew what to expect from us in all different types of situations. It meant my husband and I being one united front to help curve, what we call, boredom behavior. Setting boundaries and limits to the way we made day to day decisions for Sebastian was (and still is) a struggle. Although it can seem intimidating when you’re overworked, trapped indoors, and (admittedly) also bored, those boundaries ultimately are what helped Sebastian settle into a routine pretty quickly.
Mornings are reserved for cuddles in this family.
Being 37 weeks pregnant and in the blistering heat of the south, our options are limited. A morning movie, a late breakfast, and some outdoor playtime happens almost every day on the clock. Lunch, another movie, and nap time kept Sebastian busy while mama & daddy worked. Post-nap independent play, flashcards & puzzles fill our mid-afternoons if we aren’t enjoying hikes and (short) walks down our favorite lake trails nearby. It was monotonous but it worked for us.
Sebastian has two extreme levels of moods. He can be totally calm and maturely sit and watch Frozen II for the umpteenth time, or he needs to be actively playing and running (this meant independent play did not come easily for any of us at first). There was very little in between— so we always knew those outside times were critical in keeping his boredom behavior at bay. He’s also a major cuddler, and with a baby brother in the mix, I soaked up every minute of those moments. Over and over again, day after day, he knew what to expect. It was perfect and even though they weren’t days filled with scholastic education, we kept him safe and that was our number one priority.