I believe that life lessons can be learned from just about anything or anyone. Like the majority of Americans, we are sheltering in place due to COVID-19. During this time many of us have taken on the role of teacher, enhanced nutritionist, daycare provider, referee, and on-call employee. As a mom of three, I have been blessed to spend precious and valuable time with my children. I must admit we have had our sprinklings of tantrums, time outs, and the occasional meltdown but we are in this together. I have been able to view life through the eyes of my children. As a result, I would like to share 5 lessons that I have learned from my children.
Lesson 1: Self-Care
I must admit self-care had taken a back seat to the demands of being a good wife, mom, and employee. I remember the first few days of quarantine I decided that our 4-year old twins could forego their nap so they would be ready for bed around 8:30. What a huge mistake! Finally, my dear husband said, “Felicia, they need a nap” and thus my eyes were opened. When they got up from their nap they were well-rested and somewhat calmer. Their nap is a simple form of self-care called rest. Their 4-year old bodies are able to reset physically, mentally, and emotionally. In a nutshell, that is what self-care means to me. It is taking care of one’s body to establish a sense of well-being and wholeness.
I knew that my well-being needed to improve for myself and my family. It is often said that you cannot serve others when your tank is half full or empty. I believe that many of us operate with our tanks either half full or just empty. Self-care for me means prayer, time in the Word, exercise, and sometimes watching a series on Netflix.
Whatever you need to rest and recover, do it!
Lesson 2: Curiosity
Every morning around 7 am my daughter, Madelyn, walks into our room and the first thing she says is “mom, what are you doing”. Madelyn is always ready for adventure and her 4-year old eyes are wide open to a world of wonder each and every day. If I’m in the kitchen she is right beside me asking “what is that”? I have learned to slow down and include her while I make meals for the family. While curiosity is innate and part of her development it needs to be fostered.
I believe that we could all look at life through a wider lens and our oftentimes are children are the catalyst that we need to try and explore something new. Mama if you want to try a new course, read a new book, try a new recipe, or just explore who you and are what you are becoming…… I encourage you to go for it! Those milestones are just markers for new beginnings. Let’s dive into those new beginnings with great wonder and expectation.
Life doesn’t stop when we hit milestones, such as motherhood.
Lesson 3: Ask for help/speak up
Like most moms, we were thrust into the world homeschooling during the pandemic. One day while we were working on a math assignment, I was distracted and did not provide any instructions on how to complete the assignment. He immediately said, “Mom, I do not understand this worksheet, you need to explain it to me”. Probably about two weeks later he said: “I don’t understand what you just explained, can you please explain it again”. While my ego was hurt, I was super proud that he advocated for himself and voiced his concerns. I want my children to always speak up and let their voices be heard. I believe Matthew is on the right path.
Full disclosure moment: I do not like to ask for help. I am a recovering super mom who thinks that she has to do it all even at the expense of my mental and physical health. I have learned over the years to ask for help and to advocate for myself. Asking for help can look like my husband doing the grocery shopping or teaching my kids how to clean up the playroom. I would often wonder why I was doing ALL THE THINGS…..in the words of my husband it was because I did not ask. “Closed mouths don’t get fed”.
Ask for and receive help!
Lesson 4: Some things take time
Ethan is our 4-year-old twin and he moves to the beat of his own drum. Matthew was fully potty trained by 3 years old and it took Madelyn a month to master this skill. Well….insert Ethan Tucker. When we decided to implement a potty training boot camp during Christmas break, soldier Ethan refused to participate. While I was discouraged and frustrated that my soon to be 4-year-old refused to use the potty, he didn’t have a care in the world. Fast forward to March 2020, I am happy to report that in his own timing, he is using the bathroom like a champ. This does not mean that he doesn’t have accidents or that he occasionally whines when I tell him to sit on the potty but everyday gets easier and easier.
If you have set goals for yourself and it seems as if they are taking longer than you like I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. Do not be discouraged. Our children show us every day in small ways that small steps lead to big developments and growth.
Keep taking those small steps…
Lesson 5: Adaptability
I am a creature of habit who loves routines and systems. As moms, we know that routines and systems need to be flexible. One weekend we decided to grab lunch from Chick-fil-A. Our parks remain closed but that didn’t stop us from having a picnic out of the trunk of our car. We were able to get fresh air, eat a delicious lunch, and spend time together as a family. While this is a small example I believe that it speaks to the power of being flexible and using what you are given. For many of us homeschooling our children became a great exercise in being adaptable. Let’s take this lesson and continue to apply in every area of our lives.
I hope that as moms we will take the many valuable lessons that we learned during the COVID pandemic to make us better people, moms, and wives.
Tough times don’t last tough people do – Dr. Robert Schuller