By: Guest Author
Published: November 11, 2020
Written By Brooke Faulkner- Guest Contributor
Working as a mother takes a lot of energy, normally — but doing so during a pandemic can suck the life right out of you. Proving 24/7 childcare while working remotely during a quarantine was already challenging enough, but things don’t look like they’re going to get any easier heading into the fall and winter.
With shelter-in-place orders largely wrapped up and school beginning, kids are either heading back to highly-sanitized and socially-distanced classrooms or trying to figure out how to learn in brand new virtual alternatives. One way or another, the unfolding situation this fall is promising to be uniquely stressful for both child and parent alike.
If you’re a mother trying to juggle your own work responsibilities while simultaneously helping your child adjust to a new school scenario, here are a few suggestions for ways to address those back-to-school jitters that tend to come with the new normal.
Maintain Routines Whenever Possible
First thing’s first, if you’re working and/or conducting school from home, don’t lose your routines. It’s easy to let these slide as you conduct work, education, and personal life all from the same spaces. However, solid morning and evening routines can be a structural lifeline for both you and your child during hectic times of life like these.
As you strive to preserve existing routines, it’s important to realize that it isn’t the specific activities that matter. In fact, routines should always be tailored to each individual. In other words, they aren’t formulaic.
That said, if you want to benefit from the structure of having routines in your life, be open to re-evaluating the effectiveness of your family’s routines on a monthly and even weekly basis. Make changes whenever necessary, but always try to keep the overall routine in place.
Get Organized and on the Same Schedule
Organization is a key element to a stress-free life, especially when you’re juggling work, school, and personal activities. If you’re working and homeschooling at the same time, make sure to dedicate spaces to each activity, maintain boundaries as you work and study within the same four walls, and use things like desks, shelves, and even lockers to keep all of your tools and materials organized at all times.
In addition, use an app like Google Calendar to create a master family schedule that everyone can share. Encourage everyone to put any and every activity on the calendar so that you’re always collectively aware of what needs to be done. This will help you avoid unnecessary double-booking, rescheduling, and canceling of events — all of which can quickly add to your stress.
One way to reduce anxiety is to work to increase your productivity. Some suggested productivity tips include:
● Meal planning and making freezer meals.
● Delegating tasks to each family member.
● Scheduling specific times to check notifications and emails.
● Maintaining those all-important routines.
With so much going on, if you and your children can become more effective as you work, it can free up more of your time.
Don’t Overfill Your Schedule
Along with being productive with the things you have to do, it’s essential that you try to keep your busy schedule as simple as possible. This is especially true during the upcoming holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas are already busy times during a normal year, but this year, they can easily become the straw that breaks the fretting camel’s back.
You can fight back against this possibility by setting reasonable boundaries for you and your children over the holidays. Set time frames for social events and limit the number of gatherings that you’ll attend or of people that you’ll have over at any given moment. This can naturally decrease the stress levels that tend to ramp up towards the end of the year.
Take Time for Self-Care
Finally, if you want to help shepherd your child through their back-to-school-anxiety, it’s also important that you take some time to allow yourself to process your stress as well.
There are already many challenges that come with older parenthood, and not giving your body, mind, and emotions a chance to recuperate from time to time can be detrimental to your long-term health.
Whenever you can nab a few hours or an evening for yourself, don’t be afraid to do so. Plan in time to eat healthy food, read a good book, get some sleep, and take care of any other physical, mental, and emotional needs that you may have.
Processing Back-to-School-Anxiety as a Family
The stresses and strains of going back to school during a pandemic can be intense. However, you can help your family manage those overwhelming feelings by maintaining organization, proper scheduling, and healthy routines. You can also work to help you and your loved ones master productivity techniques, and you should occasionally take time for yourself when the opportunity arises.
However, you go about helping your family’s emotions stay afloat, remember to emphasize the fact that you’re all in this together. Practice active listening with one another, regularly check-in with each other, and strive to stick together and support one another as you weather the “new normal” as a family unit.
Author Bio: Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two and animal lover from Portland, Oregon.
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.