3 lessons on Motherhood & co. I’ve learned in 2020
I believe there’s no need to introduce you to the year that’s most certainly going to end up in all History books: 2020. Not only has it brought a global pandemic, but we’ve also lost people we loved, we cried, others have cried too, but it has also completely changed our routine. It has changed our own definition of normality.
To me personally, the lockdown has been a huge challenge. All of the sudden, I was stuck at home with my three-year-old daughter, just the two of us, constantly being afraid we might get sick because my husband was a key worker and he had to go work every single day. I had to work with Ilinca roaming around my feet, I had to constantly adapt my schedule prioritise and, basically, start from scratch.
I bet you know that feeling. I know for most parents this has been a big struggle too, especially since schools have closed and we were forced to become teachers overnight.
Suddenly, we caught ourselves looking for ways to entertain our kids, activities at home, tutorials on how to use Zoom, ways to stop the siblings fighting each other, all sorts of parenting and self-development classes and so on.
Many of us had the time and resources to deal with all these responsibilities. But just as many had to work remotely and they couldn’t possibly deal with everything.
Having said that, 2020 has definitely been a year from which we’ve learned a whole deal of life lessons!
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you the top 3 lessons about motherhood I’ve learned this last year. In all honesty, these are lessons I wish I’ve applied a couple of years earlier and I am sorry we had to go through such a horrible pandemic so I could open my eyes. Well, actually, you know what they say, “we learn from adversity and hardships”, right?
These are all lessons you can apply to improve your own relationship with your kids, for calmer times and harmony at home.
1. Plan out your workday AFTER you’ve set your family’s priorities
Of course, you know family is the most important, there is no need for somebody else to tell you. But it’s just as true that so many of us don’t make their planning according to this one single top priority: family time.
It’s hard to escape this whirlpool of home-work-home monotony once it holds a grip on you, which means that there’s only a little time left to spend with your loved ones.
Actually, a person spends around 13 years and 2 months at work in a lifetime, which is a lot, isn’t it? (well, it isn’t, compared to the 26 years we spend sleeping, haha). I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve realised, once we got closer to the end of the year, that I always made time to set goals for my business, but it rarely happened to do the same with my personal & family time.
I’ve learned from Racheal Cook, a super business strategist, whom I personally admire greatly, that setting my priorities actually starts with what I love the most. (Here is a video where I’ve shared a super time management technique that helps you squeeze in time during the day to do your favourite activities.)
We start with our personal priorities, with people we can’t imagine living without, and only after we made sure we have allocated plenty of time for them in our daily routine, we plan out work and business.
Brian Tracey, in “Eat that Frog!”
Fully 85 percent of your happiness in life will come from happy relationships with other people, especially those closest to you, as well as the members of your family. The critical determinant of the quality of time that you spend face-to-face with the people you love and who love you in return.
And every single one of the time-management techniques there is should bring you closer to this ultimate goal: have more time to spend with our loved ones.
It’s all that matters.
In other words, quality time at work = more time with your family.
Now, don’t imagine that you should begin your days with 3 hours of cuddling (although that would be nice) or you should ask your boss to reduce your working hours to only 4 per day (although that would be even nicer!). But, just to give you an example, here is how I do it:
– I note down my morning routine, which starts at 6:30 and usually lasts for one hour;
– I schedule playtime with my little girl (yes, I need to do it when I work from home, otherwise I go crazy!)
– I also keep in mind my 15-20 minutes of physical activity each day
– I make sure to also make time for other entertaining activities/movie night/walking we spend as a family
– Then and only then I make my business plan
If you don’t work from home you could, for example, spend your lunch break with a good friend or have. For instance, I usually have a video call with my mum while eating lunch, it’s how we “survived” 2020 without visiting each other.
2. It’s important to adapt, but more importantly, is HOW we do it
I think it’s fair to say that one of 2020’s words was “adapting”. Even we had to it here, at The Story Store. No wonder we launched the “Flashcards for Little Storytellers” last year, during the lockdown, as a way to help out parents who were looking for creative ways to spend time with their kids at home. It was one of our ways of adapting.
Nextflix bingeing and compulsive eating are also coping mechanism. I’ve been through both when lockdown started.
I refused to accept all of that was truly happening. It felt like a nightmare.
And more as a way to cope with the new situation, I tried to take my mind off it. I could have worked out or read a novel or two, my reading list was gathering dust anyway, HOWEVER, I’ve chosen the unhealthy way of doing it.
So, going back to my second lesson: HOW you adapt also matters. And this is true for any other tough situation, not necessarily a pandemic (I hope we never go through one again!).
It wasn’t until I dug deep inside myself and I had a really honest conversation with my inner self, that I understood that was NOT the right way. I looked at my little girl and I knew she deserved so much better than that! So, instead, I focused on spending good, quality time together, doing all sorts of activities, so that she won’t miss her friends or her walks to the park that much.
Hint: a list of priorities comes super handy! This way you make sure you’ll always stay on track even if you fall off wagons. Even better, you can play around with a vision board, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the funniest ways to draw your goals and have them an eye on them just as a reminder of how many wonderful things you want to achieve in life.
Now ask yourself this question: Is the way I am adapting to this hardship taking me closer to my goals or, on the contrary, it’s driving me away?
For instance, one of my goals for 2020 was to spend more time with Ilinca, but watching Netflix until late in the night wasn’t going to help me, on the contrary. I was too exhausted to be present.
3. You can’t be a responsible, kind parent when your tank is empty
You can’t be any kind of parent actually, you’ll be a little monster, ahaha! There had been countless tense situations in our house – which I imagine so many families have experienced too. The way I, personally, handled those situations depended solely on one major factor: having my tank full.
In other words: taking care of myself first.
I know it sounds selfish, but I wish we’d way pass this. A happy mum = happy kids. There is actually an excellent book written by dr. Laura Markham, “Calm parents, Happy kids” that I once read, but it has never resonated with me better than last year.
The more pressure I would put on my shoulders, the more tasks I would add up to my daily schedule, the more overwhelmed I got and the emptier my tank got. When Ilinca asked for an extra hug or just 10 more minutes of play or even more bedtime story, I just didn’t have any energy left. There was none.
Hence, anger outbursts and frustration.
Anything would make me lose my temper.
Looking back, I understand more easily why all this happened. It wasn’t until I really listened to my inner voice and took care of my needs, that things have changed. I didn’t do anything out of ordinary, I just made time to exercise more, meditate, read the books I wanted to read, started a class on creative writing and so on.
Little things basically.
I really hope you’ll find my reflections useful. These are all things we take for granted, yet they are extremely valuable to live a happy life. It’s best if we could do such an introspection once at a couple of months, and spot any setbacks that could be holding us back and, ultimately, damage the relationship we have with our family members, particularly our children.
And here is where I could give a hand!
You can now book your free 30’ call with me, where we’ll discuss customised ways to improve the relationship you have with your kids using stories.
Fill up the form below to reserve your spot, it’s that easy: