A Mother’s Quarantine Diary – Earlier and Now
A mother is never off duty. Starting from the morning, preparing breakfast and packing a tiffin for the kids and husband, getting the children ready for school, doing all the household chores while the kids are off to school. Then comes the afternoon, and after getting the kids to sleep the mothers attend to some grocery shopping and prepare for dinner. It is after the kid’s sleep and the preparations for the next day’s breakfast is done that we get to heave a sigh of relief.
Before, when the kids were off to school, there was a time period for us mothers to relax, rejuvenate and even catch up on our favorite TV show while the kids were away playing in the evening. However, with the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc in everyone’s life, the normal routine of a mother has turned topsy-turvy.
Being a mother, though very rewarding and fulfilling, can also be sometimes a stressful task. With children overhyped with energy in the house with no way to release all this pent up energy as all the parks and theatres are closed and there seems to be no possibility of playdates with friends. As the entire world practices social distancing to keep themselves safe, the task brings about a never before challenging for mothers.
To make the best out of a bad situation a mother has to adapt to these unprecedented times as well. Life as we know it has come to a standstill and we are left with nothing but free time. Though the world has come to a halt, it has given us the precious time of togetherness with our family.
It is important to keep the kids occupied with exciting new stuff so they don’t feel bored staying in the house 24×7. Playing the occasional ludo, carrom board, snakes, and ladders can provide a momentary reprieve but a child’s mind, buzzing with energy, wanders off too easily. That is why it is essential to keep them on their toes.
For me, personally, keeping my son engaged was extra challenging because at this age they need to have fun but also learn along the way. Which is why I came up with exciting new stuff to keep my child engaged. It ranged from making him learn simple things like making a simple sandwich with Nutella to make him self-sufficient while also providing for a snack. Another fun learning activity I devised for my son was to write numbers in eye-catching manners on pieces of paper so that he can learn to count. He also tried his hand at water painting by imprinting his hand and footprints and making designs.
I also came up with several fun games like “throw the ring”, karaoke, ping-pong to keep him away from i-pads, phones, and TV for a while. Additionally, I also made him wash his toys to instill in him the responsibility of keeping his belongings clean and safe. To document all these fun activities I recorded them so my son can glance back upon this time when he grows up.
As for my daughter, it gave us the much needed time to have a mother-daughter bonding session. I encouraged her to use technology in the right way by getting her a Kindle so she can find an interest in reading and broadening her worldview. To make sure she’s up to date on her studies and builds an IQ we played fun learning games like “Word Capital”. We also had a heart to heart conversation where we talked about her becoming a woman
It is very essential for the kids to have a semblance of routine so they don’t break out of it. That is why it is important to make a timetable for them and make sure they stick to it. Though you have to be flexible with it, cause as was in my case, I am sure other mothers have also experienced the occasional hiccup in maintaining a routine. In this way, during this quarantine I learned to communicate with my kids in a way that gets through them and tried to understand their interests and passions.
One major hiccup I experienced was the overburdening of chores. As the maid was gone, I was worried about how I would manage everything around the house. However, there’s a silver lining to this quarantine: everyone’s in the house to help out with chores! Not only did helping with chores gave the kids a sense of purpose but turning it into a fun-game made it not feel like a task at all.
Being in an enclosed space for a continuous-time can also be very stressful and it is important to maintain a calm atmosphere in the house. Because the pressure on parenting is tenfold now a parent may be more prone to dealing with a difficult situation. Therefore, it is important to turn this energy in the house into a positive one by bonding with the family. It can even be a simple game of monopoly or uno that can bring a family together for laughs and fun and bring down the tension drastically.
Another main aspect of this quarantine was food! With restaurants closed and delivery not being a feasible option, the regular chapati, veggies, and lentils weren’t gonna cut it for the family every day and that’s why I had to come up with innovative new dishes to keep the children happy. Ranging from a simple bread pizza, momos, mango ice cream to the more intricate oreo cake and momos this quarantine I became an expert in making dishes that we would ordinarily eat at restaurants.
As a mother, it is also imperative to take a breather and take out some time for yourself so you can calm your mind. To ease my mind, this quarantine, I was introduced to meditation and yoga. Waking up every day at 6 am to practice asanas and meditate kept my body fresh and energized well through the evening. I also got reintroduced towards my love for reading and my daughter’s kindle came in handy for me as well as I caught up on reading several books that were on my to-read list.
In this time of lockdown and quarantine, we the parents were thrust into unchartered territory and though not every day was a smooth ride, altogether, it was an entirely new experience that brought our family together. Even though it was a challenge, it was an exciting one and I enjoyed staying-in with the family. On a personal note, it made me learn several things I wasn’t privy to about my children, my partner, and even myself. I reacquainted myself with lost hobbies and discovered new ones. I scrolled through social media and watched my friends post their joys and ways to tackle this pandemic on Facebook and was inspired by some of them to do the same. While it was not all sunshine and rainbows and my patience wore thin on multiple occasions, this quarantine gave me the invaluable gift of family time that was, before, only reserved for summer holidays.
As we come out of this lockdown and brace ourselves to face the world out there again, this quarantine has taught us to be self-dependent and innovative in the face of crisis.