So Now What

Mar 16, 2020

As the daughter of a 74 year old recent cancer survivor; as the twin sister to someone with type 1 diabetes; as a woman with two autoimmune diseases, I thank each of you for choosing to be impeccable with your self-care and with care for our community right now.  For real, thank you.

This isn’t easy.  We are all freaking out, for good reason.  The internet is a terrifying place right now.  And none of us are able to grapple with how in the world we will get through the next __________ (insert: no one knows) amount of time with children home and the world in utter chaos.

Repeat:  This isn’t easy.

I am trying to find my homeostasis in all this.  I am trying to be ok with the flurry of emails I am getting from therapists and 12-step recovery meetings and doctors and teachers and colleagues, all of them saying, hey, I don’t know when we will meet again in person, but until then, let’s hop online and try our best from there.  This feels hard.  I feel dismembered and scared.  I know you do too.

I keep reminding myself that this is life.  We just don’t like to know that.  We don’t really confront the idea that we are all sitting ducks for a variety of catastrophes, every day and in many ways.  Due to this, a lot of us - I’ll speak for myself - don’t have to be centered or mindful, I often choose to be as a way to improve my life.  But, the truth that we are all seeing right now is that being centered and mindful is actually as essential as water.  It’s a resource that we need to survive and when shit hits the fan, we are well aware that we must must must must have a good grasp on these resources. 

I also know that we, as a culture, are tapping into the incredibly jostling reality that other countries have experienced for generations, with bombings and violence and threats to normal life on daily basis.  I also think about those in our own country who live underserved and in destitution due to institutional discrimination and who can never really find a good footing in anything remotely predictable.  I am choosing to learn from this and to completely undo what I thought I knew about being a centered, ready, and connected human. 

With all that said, it does not undermine the fact that I personally can’t really handle what is happening right now and I know you can’t either.  I keep seeing people posting about all the different schedules and crafts that they and their kids will attempt to apply to this window of at-home time.  And I can relate.  I am tempted to do the same thing.  However, I also know - from having worked at home with kids all around me for the last 8 years that - that some days will end like an episode of Leave it to Beaver and then some days (ahem, most?) will end with you unaware of what time it is, kids still awake and rainbow sprinkles smeared on their eyelids and human (animal?) poop on the wall and 11.5 hours of screen time had and typo-ridden emails sent to frustrated fellow working humans and you feeling like a gigantic failure because you yelled, cried, pouted, complained, and cursed. 

But, whichever day you experience, I do know that we can and will get through this.  And I do know that we will be challenged to slow down, be gentle to each other, find out new things about our children, discover how to let stuff go that isn’t important, and maybe even take stock of the ways we have become busy that aren’t actually necessary.

The reality is that we have zero room to wallow or fret.  There’s no prep time left.  We have to get into action now and be who we know we can be:  Centered and authentically imperfect humans. 

Repeat:  This isn’t easy.  I see you.

Deep breath.  We at MommaStrong are here for you.  We know how to help you.  And we believe that exercise can and will be a hugely - HUGELY - essential piece of getting through this situation in one piece.

Here’s how we at MommaStrong at getting into action:

1. We are obviously always online and here for you with new workouts 24/7.  We will continue to be here, probably with a bit more gusto even.  And, we will be including some content designed specifically for this time, like more relaxing options (stretching and stress reduction) and some kid-free options so that you can catch a break when you need it from little people all up in your biz and on your screen with me.

2. We have created an extra product in both MommaStrong and PappaStrong called KiddoStrong and this is a Daily 10 minute workout designed for your littles that gives them some “moves” to do to keep you and them sane.  It is kid friendly with the language and cues and also always includes cats, dogs, babies, and whatever else I can slide in there.  In all honesty, I think it is the most rad thing on the internet. You get this as part of your current membership because, yes, you will need it. 

3. Also filed under the most rad thing on the internet … We have created AND ARE OFFERING FOR FREE for a limited time a new program called TeenStrong.  Yes.  We have been meaning to do this for a while.  So, voila.  We have responded to the crisis at hand.  They will have their own login and access to Introductory videos, a Daily 15, and Fix-Ms specific to teen stuff.  You can sign them up on your own and you can also let your schools know that we are offering this as a way to fulfill PE credits, should they want to do that.  We are working with a few private schools now and have many details hammered out already.  Here are our promises to your teen:

  • We don't talk about weight loss or appearance and instead focus on being 100% body-positive.  In other words, come as you are.
  • We don't offer weird or trendy health advice.  In other words, we stay in our lane.
  • We don't give you information about your body and its strength that isn't backed by research.  In other words, you can trust us.
  • We don't take ourselves seriously even though our content is super intelligent.  In other words, welcome to the weird world of owning a body. 

 

And, before I go and get back to NOT looking at Pinterest for craft ideas, here are a few of my hard-earned tips for working from home with children who are human children. 

  • CONNECTION:  Just 10 minutes of connection first thing in the morning and then throughout the day makes a huge difference in your child’s behavior.  You do not have to be present all the time.  But make an effort just a few times, and especially at the start of the day and you will see.  Children are sponges and are aware when you are off kilter.  They will seek reassurance by not giving you any space.  They are looking for an anchor so that they can go be themselves.  Somedays they will need more anchors, somedays less.  Just respond.  Be an imperfect anchor. 
  • EGG TIMERS:  Get yourself a few egg timers.  Schedule times for what is happening for you and the kids.  A weekly schedule is great, but rarely does that pan out, at least not in my case.  I prefer to do it daily and sometimes even hourly, so that I can be flexible within structure. 
  • STOP DEMONIZING SCREENS:  Be mindful.  Use this as an opportunity to teach your kids how to be with technology rather than restrict it as a terrible element of humanity.  It will hold less power, be more of a tool and less of a bad habit.  Also, everyone needs a brain break.  Even your kids.  Teach them what to use.  Be picky about the content and tell them why.  Show them what it feels like when they’ve had enough and their brains are melting.  Play games WITH them and help them have dopamine drips from you and not just the screens.  Also, go learn about how to raise kids in the age of technology. PS: You will need a break.  You will need to work or fulfill your life obligations.  It’s ok. 
  • THERE WILL BE DAYS WHEN YOU “JUST CAN’T” AND YOU’LL NEED TO SURRENDER.  There will be days when trying to get anything done other than care for kids just won’t happen.  I don’t know.  I think it is because none of us are robots, especially not our kids.  On those days, instead of pushing it and then getting resentful, declare it a “JUST CAN’T” day and surrender all duties and focus on surviving the day with kids.  It’s ok.  Trust me, you will get nothing done if you try to force this one AND you will end up extremely irritated.
  • LEARN NEW THINGS AND MAKE A MESS:  My kids and I started cross-stitching in the evenings together.  We are terrible and it makes us laugh.  Also, we got really into it and then we stopped.  I am ok with that.  We’ll come back to it, maybe and maybe not.  But, it was great to learn something new all together and also allow for us to not make it a forever thing. 
  • LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU ARE A PERSON TOO:  You have feelings, needs, freak outs too.  Be human and let them see it.  Apologize when you need to.  Take space when you need to.  Show them what it looks like to meet a crisis, make mistakes, and then make repairs.  This is far far far better than being a #1 mom.  Be a good enough mom and then repair repair repair. 

Whew.  Ok.  Here we go.  This isn’t forever.  If we take the time now, we will get through it all sooner than we think and we’ll have enjoyed post traumatic growth syndrome instead of the alternative.  Please please please don’t forget to exercise, in any way you can, whether it is here or elsewhere.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR TEENSTRONG for free for a limited time.  If your teen’s school is interested in using this as a PE credit, please have them email [email protected].

 

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