This year has been marked by a lot more family togetherness. Before the pandemic, it was so easy for us all to get caught in our own silos of activity. My husband could get preoccupied with work, I was always busy with motherhood and freelance work and housework, and even our five-year-old seemed to have her own budding schedule to keep her busy. During the week, we were lucky to get two or three meals together as a family.

Then everything changed, and suddenly we found ourselves in each other's space—all the time. It led to a few hiccups and learning to renavigate our constantly full home together, but for the most part, we found ourselves grateful for more time together. One thing that I realized early on that my children needed was a ritual that helped them to feel safe, cozy and connected no matter what else was going on in the world.

The Powerpuff Girls / HBO Max

One of our new favorite traditions? Family pajama parties. After dinner, we all put on our comfiest jammies, pop some popcorn and curl up to watch a movie (We love Monsters vs. Aliens, great movies on HBO like Dolittle and even more movies on HBO Max!) or introduce the kiddos to a favorite show from our own childhood, like Looney Tunes or Powerpuff Girls.

The best part of the time spent together? We all get to slow down for a minute and reconnect.

After the show, we often find ourselves lingering under our blankets chatting about our day, whispering snuggly secrets, or getting lost in our giggles. When I really want to win major mom points, we build a giant blanket fort over the couch and let the girls play in it until they fall asleep.

Instead of stressing about the state of the world or panic scrolling through my news feed, I get a moment to soak in the magic of this time together. To feel like, while the world might sometimes feel like it's falling apart, we're doing everything I can to create a stable, comforting environment for our children.

I might not be able to fix everything for my kids, but I know one thing: When they look back on this time of their lives, it will be marked with these happy moments we were able to share together.