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Who knew doing the

right thing could be so adorable? We know, mama. You’re busy. You want gifts


for your baby (and for your friends’ baby showers) to be beautiful, useful, and

ethically produced, but who has time to do that much research?

That’s what we’re

here for.

We’ve done a little digging into production practices, materials, and

missions, and we would love to share what we found with you. Here’s a roundup

of some of the best gifts for babies that you can feel good about buying and

gifting, or using yourself.

1.

A gorgeous nursing cover from a cottage

FEATURED VIDEO

business with a mission to support nursing mothers.

These

luxurious, hand-painted, printed, and dyed nursing covers by Galileo Linens are

currently single-sourced from a factory in Lithuania where the fibers for the

linen are also grown and woven, and the finishing and original artwork are all

done by hand in the New York homes of the designer and her parents.

The

designer is dedicated to supporting women in bonding with their babies through

providing this important tool for nursing whenever and wherever. As the

designer herself says, we shouldn’t have to cover if we don’t want to, but if

we do want more privacy, there should be a joyful, convenient way to get it

that celebrates mother and child.

They are soft but crisp, super-airy and

breathable, and get more beautiful with every wash.

2.

A quirky and lovable doll that supports UNICEF.

Monsieur

Tse Tse is the funny, friendly doll from genius Montreal design studio

Raplapla. With his big lovable smile and soft, snuggly, organic, fair-trade

cotton body, he provides comfort at naptimes.

Plus, 10% of the proceeds from his

sales go to UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund) to defend the rights of

children.

3.

Brain-building wooden blocks that are good for

the forest.

Tegu

creates addictively entertaining magnetic wooden blocks that the whole family

will enjoy. Not only is the wood for the blocks sustainably harvested, but for

each tree Tegu uses, they plant (get this) 983 more. That’s a lot of trees!

Additionally, Tegu is

committed to ethical employment standards and community improvement. They pay a

living wage to their employees and also partner with a school to provide an

education for children whose families work at the Tegucigalpa city dump.

It’s a

beautiful thing when you can help your baby learn and grow with a fantastic

toy, while also helping other families by supporting a responsible producer

like Tegu.

4.

A hang-anywhere puppet theatre that inspires

imaginative play and keeps traditional handcrafts alive.

The

team behind Nhocchi travelled through the mountains of Vietnam by scooter to

find a small village where artisan seamstresses harvest, spin, weave, dye, and

sew the bright cotton and silk fabrics that make the hang-able, fold-able

theatres, puppets, and other toys from this easy-to-love brand.

The woven

designs and naturally-derived dyes reflect the specific culture and traditions

of the ethnic minority community to which Nhocchi’s handcrafters belong.

5.

A dreamy blanket that empowers marginalized

women.

Each

charming, heirloom-quality blanket and accessory from Elliefunday is made of

the softest organic cotton and hand-embroidered with love by marginalized women

in India who are at a high risk for human trafficking.

Elliefunday is committed

to supporting and empowering their handcrafters through gainful employment at

fair wages and to providing shelter, healthcare, education, and counseling

through a non-profit arm, Handcrafted for Life.

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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Our Partners

This week isn't going to be an easy one for most of us. There are hard things happening in the world right now as the coronavirus pandemic continues. We're not going to pretend like this is an easy time to be a parent, because it is not. It's okay to say you're not okay today. But it's also okay to allow yourself to enjoy the lighter moments of life because these moments are still happening inside our homes during the pandemic.

This is a hard week, but there are still so many things making us smile.

Here are a few of the good news headlines we're loving right now:

This baby's quarantine style birthday party is going viral 

So many events have been canceled because of the pandemic, and many first birthday parties are among them. For parents who were looking forward to celebrating their little one's first birthday with friends and family having to cancel the guest list is hard.

Mama Kylie Najjar was one of the many parents having to make the hard choice to cancel her baby's birthday party, but she decided to make it special by doubling down on the theme of social distancing.

Her baby's big day has now gone viral because even in a difficult time like this pandemic, small moments still matter and can still make us smile.

This viral illustration highlights how the pandemic is impacting newly postpartum mamas 

The artist Spirit Y Sol touched so many mamas this week, letting art speak for the women who have had their postpartum experience changed so drastically by the pandemic. Through an essay and accompanying illustration Sol describes what was stolen from those currently in the fourth trimester.

"This is not what you had planned. This is not what you'd envisioned. There are no visits from friends, no loving doula bringing you soup, no "mommy and me" yoga classes, no coffee dates, no stroller walks through the park." Sol writes.

"But mama, know this—We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Sol is right. We are in this together, mama. And we are here for you.

Some Good News with John Krasinski has a surprise for Hamilton fans 

Last week we told you about John Krasinski's new coronavirus YouTube series, Some Good News, and this week he's going viral again with his second episode.

He gets his wife Emily Blunt to make an appearance and organized a treat for Hamilton fans, having Lin Manuel Miranda and the rest of the cast put on a performance (through Zoom, of course).

We love how Krasinski is using his creativity and connections to make people smile during this tough time.

This mom just welcomed baby no. 22, 30 years after her first child's birth! 

Back in February we told you the mom of Britain's biggest family was going viral after announcing she was expecting her 22nd child.

Now, Sue Radford's 22nd baby is here. She's a girl and her name has not yet been announced by the Radfords, Sue and her husband Noel.

Sue was 14 years old when the couple's oldest child, Chris, came into the world in 1989 (Noel was 18). Both Sue and Noel were adopted at birth and when they found out they were expecting as teens they decided together to make the choice to parent.

Four years after Chris was born they got married, and a few decades (and many kids) later they became reality TV legends in the UK, starting with a show called 15 Kids and Counting. They now have more kids than their American counterparts from 19 Kids and Counting, the Duggars. Besides TV appearances, the Radfords also own a pie shop.

In total, Sue has given birth to 12 girls and 10 boys so far (one son, Alfie, was stillborn), but giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic was a bit different. "I was so worried that Noel wouldn't be allowed to stay with me," she told The Sun.

Radford continued: "We have all been isolating and it seemed wrong to leave our safe bubble to go to a hospital, but when I got there I felt safe straight away."

Kristen Bell's Hello Bello launched a new 'camp' you'll want to check out 

Everyone is looking for extra ways to keep kids entertained these days and that's why Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard have launched Camp HelloBello on Instagram Live and IGTV!

Each week there's a new schedule for activities like singing, dancings and crafting (and Hello Bello is paying people creators to participate, you can apply to be a "camp counselor" at CampHelloBello.com).

According to a press release, "Schedules will be released on a weekly basis with lots of special guests (like Kristen + Dax and their friends) and members of our community to add some extra creativity to kids' days (and fill up some time for the parents too!)."

Sounds super cool!

This viral post highlights how our kids are 'little heroes' during this crisis 

There is a viral post floating around the internet that gives some credit where it is due: To our children.

Our kids have been champs during this crisis, as the post notes, "their little lives have been turned upside down...[but] every day they get up and carry on despite everything that is going on! Painting pictures, drawings to show their support to the heroes out there and to make other children walking past feel better!"

We see you, little heroes.

You're doing great and we are so proud of your resiliency!

Viral video shows even social distancing can't stop toddlers from 'socializing' 

Twitter user Toby Marriott went viral this week thanks to an 8 second clip of his nephew, "the friendliest toddler you'd ever meet." According to his uncle, this 3-year-old always says hello to anyone he meets on the street, but he's not running into any people on his daily walks these days...so he has to pretend.

"Hope this brightens up your day!" Marriott captioned a video of his nephew saying hello to an invisible friend. It's super cute and if we hang in there, one day this little guy will be able to say hello to his neighbors again.

Viral poem 'For the Lockdown Babies' puts mamas' feelings into words 

Mother and blogger Gráinne Evans saw her art go viral this week after she wrote a poem that is striking a cord with so many mamas. It's called "For the Lockdown Babies" and it's being shared all over social media this week because Evans' words capture the experience of so many parents right now.

The poem is set in the future, when we're all explaining this time to the babies and little ones who won't remember it.

"Sure you were only a baby" I'll tell her when she asks,
About that time in photographs when everyone wore masks.
"You don't remember the chaos when the world was forced to rest."
"You had all you needed in my arms and at my breast"

"You never even noticed" I'll tell her then I'll say,
"I held you as the weeks went by, we took it day by day"
"We were safe and happy, right where we needed to be".
"I fed you snuggled in my arms, protecting you was key".

"You were only a tiny baby" I'll tell her and explain,
Why so many people were afraid, anxious and in pain.
"It wasn't always easy, those isolating newborn days,
But feeding you flooded me with love, got me through the haze".

"You were a lockdown baby" I'll tell her when it's time,
"I was your whole world back then, just as you were mine",
"And now, though it's just a memory, I still smile when I see,
A rainbow in a window, put there for you and me."

Dad's viral video proves that while isolation is hard on families, it can also be funny  😂

Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is so hard. It's a serious crisis that we at Motherly are taking seriously, but a viral video from a dad stuck working at home with his family reminds us that it's okay to laugh at the lighter moments during this difficult time.

Talent and Sports agent Jason Finegan is now working from home while his family isolates inside it, and he posted a hilarious video to Twitter.

"Day 10 and we've now cracked.. wife on her knees singing with kid in xmas clothing and dog going nuts," he captioned the clip that shows his wife, singer Rachel Adedeji singing along to Whitney Houston as their daughter (dressed like a Christmas elf) sits beside her. Eventually, the toddler and even the dog join in on the singing.

Many parents are laughing along with Finegan because they can relate. Days don't matter as much anymore. Kids are celebrating Christmas and Halloween on a random Thursday in April just because they want to. And mamas are singing to keep from cracking up.

This is hard. But it's okay to laugh, too.

This is the advice we need right now: Start + end the day with activities, have a 'mediocre middle'

View this post on Instagram

My friend called last night. Her 4 year old son was screaming, just screaming. She says: My life is hell right now. I’m trying to work and the only time I get a moment of peace I get all day and night is during TV Time. I say: Wait. Stop Did you just say the words: TV TIME? WHAT DO YOU MEAN “TV TIME?” Parents, Listen to me and listen good: “TV TIME” is for PEACE TIMES. You know what “TV TIME” is during the corona? TV time is ALLLL THE TIMES. ALL THE TIMES. ALL. . You know I love you and I always try to be gentle — but this: MOM SHAMING YOURSELF DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC IS WHERE I MUST DRAW THE LINE. IF YOU INSIST ON EDUCATING THE WEE ONES DURING HELL, HERE ARE YOU OPTIONS: Sit kids down. Turn on TV. Walk in after a few hours, mute the TV, turn on closed captions - Reading Lesson DONE. Yell: How many Daniel The Tiger episodes is this? They yell back: Seven! - Math lesson DONE. They yell: Can you turn it up? You yell back: TURN IT UP YOURSELF - Technology lesson: Done. They yell: Can I have some water? You yell back: Walk to the kitchen and get it yourself. Physical Education: DONE They whine: Mommy I’m tired of TV. You look them right in the eye and say: Listen to me, baby. Keep on keeping on. Don’t quit. You can do hard things- LESSON ON RESILENCE AND STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS: DONE. . To think of all of you depriving these children of these essential life lessons because of your own TV shame issues. It’s sad. Really sad. #GetUntamed

A post shared by Glennon Doyle (@glennondoyle) on

Glennon Doyle is a mom and a bestselling author, but she's also a former preschool teacher and has some excellent advice for parents during this challenging time. Back when she was teaching preschool she discovered her students only really concentrated on the first and last activities of the day. So she gave herself permission to have a "mediocre middle" and it worked.

"No matter what I did all day, the students only remembered the last thing we did," she says in a video posted to Instagram. "All of them. That's all they remembered. That's all they talked about to their parents."

She continues: "All you have to do is finish strong...I decided every day to start strong and finish strong and just have a big mediocre middle. One cool thing in the morning, one supercool thing last. Mediocre middle. Done and done."

According to Doyle, now is the time for all of us to lean into screen time if that's what we need to do. It's okay.

"After breakfast, read a book with them — that's starting strong," she says. "Then a quick seven-hour TV show. Then before dinner, turn off the TV and do something cool, something fun. Not Pinterest fun. Just easy fun. A board game, I Spy. That is finishing strong. Then dinner, then obviously another family show."

For a lot of us now is not about homeschooling, it's about surviving without school. And Doyle's advice is just what we needed to hear today.

News

A few days before my first son was due to arrive, I asked my dad what it was like to be a parent.

After a (disturbingly) long pause, he quoted Martin Mull: "Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain."

Indeed. And when you are suddenly working from home with kids, it can feel like that bowling alley has suddenly gotten very loud and crowded, especially when the bowling pins go flying just as you are about to speak up on WebEx.

But now is the time to let go of the guilt we might feel from having a day go not quite as planned. You are already doing a great job, and we will all get the hang of it together a little more each day.

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In case it helps, I thought I might share a few of the tricks that have helped me over the past years as I've navigated working from home with three sons.

Tips for working from home with babies + toddlers

Keep your baby nearby

Babies and toddlers are programmed to want to be near you. It's their main mission in life. So, when my little ones weren't napping, I just embraced this fact. In fact, when my littlest was a baby, I would lay out a blanket or his little seat right next to me as I worked, put on some music, and do my thing.

Now that he is a toddler, I have little gated corners with toys right near my workspace, and as long as he isn't eating dirt or wailing, we have a pretty good time working together.

Make busy boxes

I rolled my eyes the first time I saw this idea on Pinterest, but busy boxes have been lifesavers during really hectic workdays.

The key is to change the contents of the box up. Each week I make a new box with little toys, bubbles, crayons, letter tiles, new books, playdough (when I'm feeling brave) and so on. The other key is to put the box away as soon as your meeting is done, or the kids start to lose interest, so it seems like a special treat the next time you pull it out.

Have a lineup of sensory activities at the ready

Things that adults would never find entertaining can keep little bitty ones occupied for ages. Throwing ice cubes off the deck. Sitting in an empty bathtub (yes, I have brought my laptop into the bathroom) and drawing all over with bath crayons. Bubbles. Sorting blocks into different colored buckets. You name it. Have a series of engaging sensory activities for toddlers and babies lined up in the morning so they are ready, and you'll be thanking yourself later.

Tips for working from home with preschoolers + elementary-aged kids

Set expectations + reward kids for meeting them

At the beginning of each day, I suggest clearly communicating with your kids about the times when you have your most important meetings or deadlines. Those are the points in the day to bring out the big guns (you know what I'm talking about: YouTube, Roblox, iPads, TV). Challenge your kids to see if they can possibly hold out on electronics until those times and find little rewards for them if they succeed.

Give them their own "jobs" to do

Set aside cleaning supplies that are just for use by the kids—you might even put your kids' names on the supplies so they feel ownership. Throughout the day, ask the kids to be your housekeeping assistants and encourage them to go on a hunt for dirt spots on the floor or dust on surfaces. You would be surprised how much fun a spray bottle of water and a few rags can offer throughout the day. (My 11-year-old has caught on to this trick though, so don't be surprised if older kids don't buy into it.)

Hire them as temporary assistants

Speaking of assistants, you can also ask kids to assist you with work! For example, I sometimes have asked my son to sit in the background and "take notes" during a meeting. It keeps him busy for a while and the result is usually hilarious (one time he wrote a whole page of meeting notes that just said BLAH BLAH BLAH).

Tips for working from home with kids of all ages

It's okay if they're bored

Kids are actually pretty good at staying occupied if we give them the freedom to do so. Boredom is good for humans and can serve as the foundation for creativity. Don't feel like you have to fill every minute with activities, it's actually better for kids if you don't.

A few minutes of your attention can buy you many more minutes of work time

When kids come to you for attention, if you can, look away from the screen and listen for two minutes to what they have to say.

I know this sounds silly, but I schedule tea time every day with my kids. During those 10 minutes, we drink tea (okay, it's actually milk) and eat cookies and talk. It's often the best part of the day.

Pre-record read-alouds

At night, record yourself reading to your kids. Picture books, chapter books, comic books, whatever you have on hand—it's all good! Play those during the next day and you can both work and read to your kids. It's the next best thing to cloning.

Give older kids a project of their own

Long-term projects that can be done in chunks over time are great for kids in preschool on up. For example, if ever there was a time to have your kids start building a time capsule, it is now! This sort of project can buy you a few minutes each day and is a great learning experience.

Don't forget: You're getting a lot done (honest)

There are going to be times when everybody is cranky and nothing is going right and you feel like you are getting nothing done.

When you hit the wall, I suggest doing two things:

1. Remember that you ARE getting things done, even if it's not in the way you'd like

2. Have a pre-made list of very short mindless tasks that need to get done.

When you can knock those little annoying tasks off the list in between a kid crying because the brownies didn't have enough marshmallows and the washing machine breaking, you will be a winner.

Above all, I suggest being honest with yourself and your colleagues. This is a new, chaotic, stressful time with lots of changes for everyone. If things are tricky in any given moment at home, we all understand. We will flex to the moment, laugh, and adapt as we work together to keep things going.

You've got this.

Work + Money

We are in a very, very hard season of our lives. Plain and simple. The uncertainty and overwhelm is real. Running a household, homeschooling children, getting work done, being in a partnership (for some of us), taking care of older loved ones (either in our own homes or away from us) and managing our own fears and anxiety through all of this not knowing what the next day, week or month will look like—is very unfamiliar territory for all of us.

I am in the thick of this myself. Yesterday evening I went to bed with tears in my eyes after I returned from our local downtown and saw the impact firsthand this global pandemic is having on the small businesses we have fondly visited for years.

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And often what many of us end up doing at 8:30 pm once the kids are finally in bed is binge watch TV or scroll through social media (or both at the same time!), simply to tune everything else out. There are moments when that comedy show you're looking forward to watching is just the thing you need to relax before getting ready for a good night's sleep.

And there may be other moments when that isn't the best thing for our hearts and bodies. When our heart might be craving something else, something more soulful—but we are too tired, depleted and overwhelmed to even pay attention to that voice inside of us, let alone act on it.

Fear, anxiety and uncertainty can be incredible levers to tap into our purpose, creativity and contribution. It is hard to make space and time for acting on and processing your emotional energy when we are already feeling so maxed out—I fully get it and experience it myself too, almost daily. Yet in so many ways, valuing the parts of ourselves that want to feel seen, nurtured and cared for which may give us more energy and space to attend to our work, families and everything in between.

Here are some ways we can try to attend to that creative, purposeful and joyful part of ourselves during quarantine.

1. Reflect on what you may be called to do

Think of your life before COVID-19 or perhaps even before you had kids. Don't add any constraints yet—simply go into daydreaming mode.

What are the problems in the world that need to be solved? Where, inside those problems, do you feel called to contribute? What messages does the world need to hear more loudly? What do you feel like creating and making (I am not referring to mac and cheese for your toddler, FYI)?

You don't need to go on a retreat to answer these questions. Just grab a journal and spend five minutes writing down or reflecting on these questions in the shower or while brushing your teeth. Keep it simple yet give yourself permission both to dream and to feel all parts of yourself—without judgment.

2. Now narrow down the list

You can add some constraints and get more specific here. Pick something from your list that you can make progress on with only one to two hours a week to start. Pick something that makes you feel alive but won't feel like one more thing on your list.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Volunteer: Find an opportunity to lend a (virtual) hand in your community.

Make art: You may have always wanted to paint or build something. Remember that scrapbook you always wanted to create? Time to go for it now. All you have to do is start by dedicating a few minutes two nights a week.

Write: No, I am not talking about writing the next NYTimes bestseller. Maybe a blog post or even a simple yet meaningful social media post. Your voice matters now more than ever.

Cooking: Did you always want to learn more about Thai cooking or how to make pizza from scratch? If so, the weekends may be your chance to nurture that part of yourself. And who knows—it may turn into a fun date night with leftovers your kids will actually enjoy.

Movement: Note, I didn't use the word 'exercise' as I'd encourage you to think about this in terms of movement that helps you experience joy and connection to yourself. Dance for 10 minutes between meetings or do a restorative yoga session before bed.

Strengthen relationships: Sure, you can't grab dinner with your best friend this week, but perhaps you can send her a handwritten note or set up an intentional video chat at night with your favorite beverage once all kids are in bed so you can connect over something meaningful from the week.

3. Plan in advance

Now here's the thing, you need to prioritize and plan somewhat in advance so when the kids are all tucked in, you don't just pick up your phone to read the latest news. Create a list of five-minute, 10-minute and 30-minute activities so you have options to choose from.

Planning is what will help you execute. You'll be prepared with yeast in your pantry so you can try out that new bread recipe you found because of planning. Yes, I know the laundry and dishes are piling up and it may feel more efficient to get those done once the kids are in bed, taking the time to write one note a week or to try one new recipe a month may give you that much-needed dose of joy and connection that you might be craving.

4. Hold yourself accountable

Find a friend or join an online community to find the momentum you need to keep going toward something that feels meaningful to you and brings you joy.

There will likely be weeks with no room for anything outside of your to-do list—but in between the busy days, I hope that you also find days and weeks with a few small moments of calm and purpose to remind you of your own power, wisdom and brilliance in making our world a better place.

We are all in this together and collectively we will come out braver, kinder and more connected as a human species—forever.

Life

Just weeks ago, I was busy with gym classes, music classes, make-ups for gym and music classes, storytime, tummy time, outdoor time, quiet time, playtime, Play-Doh time, exercise time. It seems I had time to do everything except stay-inside-time. Chill-time. Relax-time. Unplanned-time.

Two weeks ago I had a 23-month-old daughter and a 5-month-old daughter who didn't spend more than 20 minutes at home without being shifted to the next activity, birthday, meet up, play date or playground. They would melt down, fall apart, sometimes hit and were constantly on the move. I was always the one saying, "Stay-at-home mom? More like never-staying-at-home mom! We are always on the go."

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And we were.

It was more to do with me than with my children. I didn't want to slow down. I didn't want to take a breath. I didn't want to stop. Because if I did, how would I get through the morning? The next activity? The weekend? Dinner? The whole day?

I once read that being extremely busy (by choice) is actually a sign of anxiety. Well, hello. That was me. If I moved fast enough, I wouldn't have to sit with myself and my feelings.

Then came the quarantine forcing us all to shut down for weeks on end due to the spread of the extremely contagious and dangerous coronavirus. I was devastated and exasperated, thinking words I probably can't write down in an article.

I went through the five stages of grief.

Denial: This isn't happening. People will fight back. Tomorrow we will be back to our normal schedule.

Anger: Why is this happening? Am I being punished for something? Is this because I didn't let that person in front of me at the red light?

Bargaining: Okay, okay, I'll do this for two weeks, but that's it. This is going to really suck. I get why we are doing it. But still.

Depression: This is heavy.

As the hours turned into days then into weeks, we started to fall into a quarantine routine. We moved a bit slower at first, filling our usual gym or music classes with outdoor play or walks outside. Then the rain came and we were forced to spend time inside our house. My. Worst. Fear. I had to sit still and I had to be the one to interact with my children. It's not that I didn't want to before, it's just that I didn't think I was good enough or exciting enough. I mean, I don't want to sit at home all day, why would my toddler or infant?

But I learned something about myself and my children through this stage. I am more than they need.

Because when they roll over my stomach or bounce on my knees, I am their gym class.

When we sing every song from Frozen, Frozen 2 and Moana, I am their music class.

When we make spaghetti with Play-Doh and lick ice cubes, I am their cooking class.

When we stop to go outside in the rain and purposefully get wet, I am their science class.

I have learned more about my kids in these past few weeks than in most of their lifetime. I learned that my daughter has a wide gap in between her two front teeth, just like I had as a kid and my grandma had as a kid. I learned my infant daughter is going to have green eyes like her dad and his mom. I learned that my older daughter thrives when she is home with me and her sister. I learned that the less she interacts with technology, the more calm she is.

I learned that maybe all the "problems" she was having before was her way of telling me that it was all too much. Too loud. Too many rules. Too many people.

She just needed to slow down.

These lessons brought me to my final stage: Acceptance.

I have to say, I'm enjoying this forced time with my kids. Not every minute of it. Not even every hour—but most days, I am really finding time to enjoy it. And if it weren't forced upon me, I don't know when or if I would have ever slowed down.

The quarantine will end eventually, but I can't say when exactly. What I can say with certainty that once the ban is lifted, many of these lessons we've learned during this time will stay with us forever. We will stay home more. We will be present. We will quit some or all of our activities.

Because you know what? I have stopped moving long enough to learn that the present moment is often just what my child needs.

Life
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