This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the organizations that are keeping this blog full of fresh content.
Motherhood. Entrepreneurship. COVID-19.
Those are three words I would never expect together. Three words that I could never have prepared for. I was finally hitting my stride this sixth year of motherhood, finding that delicate balance between working and mothering. My son had just begun going to school five days a week, leaving me with more daytime hours to work and earn more. We made it two weeks of this *new exciting normal* before COVID-19 hit Canada.
Suddenly, I was faced with having my child at home 24/7 with no breaks of school or visiting my parents and brother or his bi-weekly dinners with his dad. Working with a child at home was something I already excelled at—I did so since the moment my son was born. But, throw in the fact that I can’t receive any outside, practical help and you have a completely different situation. Furthermore, much of my client work dropped off almost immediately (I’m grateful that things have started to pick up again), so I was not only faced with having my child at home but also figuring out new ways to make an income.
It’s definitely not your average challenge, but I am grateful for the Canadian Federal Government for providing financial support and for saving up an emergency fund for situations exactly like this. Also, being an Alberta Blue Cross member gives me a lot of peace of mind in that we can access healthcare and services we may require—not to mention their excellent website full of resources and wellness tips including the Text4Hope resource.
One of the most important aspects of the pandemic experience for me is maintaining wellness during this troubling time. I not only have to worry about my own well-being but also my child’s. While it took a few weeks to get into the swing of things, we’ve definitely found our way through all of this.
I made a list of everything that has helped me maintain our wellness while balancing parenting and work in our house. Everyone is different, so some of these might not work for you or don’t fit in with your lifestyle, but it’s what works for us.
Get dressed every day. I definitely fell into the trap of wearing my PJs throughout the day during the beginning of the pandemic, but let me tell you, you feel so much better getting yourself and your kids dressed for the day. I am still wearing comfortable clothing (no jeans for now!) around the house, but my mindset just changes when I get out of my PJs.
Eat well and mindfully. Since I have more time to cook for each meal, without running off to preschool and meetings, I’ve been making more thoughtful meals and learning new recipes. Part of that is due to another thing I have changed—online grocery shopping.
Ordering groceries online has allowed me to budget more, while also avoiding taking my child to stores. I’ve used SPUD Calgary for the most part and it’s helped me so much. As someone who dislikes grocery shopping on a regular day, online shopping helps to see everything digitally and plan out our meals. Also, getting groceries delivered is super helpful as I don’t have a vehicle.
Doing household projects has brought me a real sense of accomplishment on days when things are slow on the computer. I repainted my patio furniture which gave the space a totally fresh look. Since we’re spending a lot more time outdoors it is nice to have a comfortable space to relax in.
Perform acts of kindness. Sharing positive energy with others is a great way to cheer everyone up, as well as yourself. Some things we’ve done while in isolation is dropping off care packages to friends that include artwork, plants and treats. We’ve also made homemade artwork for others and handmade gifts, shared art supplies with neighbours, and picked up treats and food to deliver to friends. It is low effort with a big impact.
Read together. Whether I am reading to Jack, helping him practice reading or we’re looking at our own books side-by-side, sharing my love of reading with my child is something that is very important to me.
Go for daily walks. Fresh air is so important, and kids need to burn off their energy. We’ve been going for daily walks in our neighbourhood and it has been wonderful to slow down and notice the start of spring here in Calgary. We wear masks if we are going out at a time of day when the streets or parks are more populated.
Lastly, making sure to connect with others has been paramount for keeping our wellness up. We FaceTime with family daily, have drive-by conversations with my parents and meet up in the park to have a socially distant visit with friends. Nothing replaces human connection so trying to maintain that throughout this period of isolation has been the best thing for us.