My lockdown saga: the day I became my mother

I have decided to stop counting days in a desperate attempt to make this coronavirus confinement feel less long. But yesterday we reached a milestone and I realized we are only just about the half of this lockdown saga. Yesterday was the day I became my mother.

For accuracy, I should probably say I became my father. I remember he is the one who would threaten to send me straight to bed without dinner. And this is exactly what I did to my children yesterday. They had literally spent their time playing with my nerves all day. Constantly picking up fights with each other and refusing to listen to whatever came out of my mouth.

In normal times, I would probably be disappointed I ended up “punishing” them. But these are very special circumstances. Therefore, I have to say I am pretty proud of myself for not losing my shit completely actually. There were no screams (or very little anyways) and they understood that they had taken the very last little piece of balance that was left in me. Therefore, when I put them directly to bed without dinner, they did not protest. I am telling you, I won guys!

Truth is, I only won a battle. Not the war

Now, I will have to be strong enough to stick to my premises, otherwise the efforts I made yesterday will be vain. Whenever I manage to keep my cool and make an effort to stay real (and be an adult basically), deep down I know that these times are not just hard for us. They are especially more so for our kids, who are so little and for whom routine means so much to them, that it’s inevitable. They all lose their shit at some point. Such a change in their lives can make them literally freak out.

The other day, my 4-year-old daughter invented this game and asked me to play with her. Here is the game: we sleep, then we wake up, we eat and she takes off for school. Then when she’s finished her work, I come and pick her up, so we run into each other’s arms (in the living room) and we move back home (her bedroom) to have dinner and go to bed. And after that, we start all over again until it hurts (for me, cause lately all I feel like doing really is lay on the couch in front of the tv).

At first, I did not pay much attention…

Then I realized how much she was missing her “normal” life, the life she knew before the pandemic. The only life she’s ever known really, her daily routine, and how much this situation was affecting her. Way more than it is affecting me – the serial couch fan. So, I decided to make an effort to let go. Again, these are not normal times and we cannot pretend like nothing has changed. Which is exactly what I thought on day 1.

“It’s fine, it will all be fine, we’ll spend a lot of time together at home with the kids and it will all just be fine”. Bullshit! It is not fine and we cannot live as if it was. Special times require special strategies. I cannot continue to treat my kids as I used to, when their life was completely different. I need to be more indulgent, both with them as well as with myself. And hubby of course, but hold on to this thought as I will talk about this soon.

Children are little humans and need to be treated like that

We need to stop thinking that our children are too little to feel things and understand things. They have exactly the same emotions that we have. The only difference is, that they cannot always express them clearly, so the easiest thing for them to process emotions and get them out is mostly crying and being nasty and completely losing it.

This lady here helped me a lot understanding that we cannot just impose our will on kids. They have their own brain and their own set of feelings and were born with free will. And this must be respected. This is the kind of things that seems so obvious and clear when explained, still we do not manage to see it all by ourselves.

I took some time to think about what I learned watching Amy’s parenting tutorial and came to realize that I was putting a lot of pressure on my kids. Too much clearly, which is why yesterday was the day I became my mother. The moment I started to pay attention to the way I was talking to them, it became very clear that I was saying a lot of NO’s. Way too many.

Let’s try to be more tolerant for now

There is only one thing that matters to kids and it is to impress their parents. When we say no to everything, they feel like constantly disappointing us because they are clearly trying to do something we do not approve of. And that’s where they start feeling negative emotions like anger and frustration, which lead them to crazy behaviours.

So I have decided to say YES more, and to let them play in the mud for hours until one of them has dirt up his nose and cannot breath anymore; I can be ok with that now. I can also accept that their room is not always tidy (mine isn’t either so why should theirs always be?). Let’s just try to be more patient and tolerant from now on. Both with ourselves and the kids. Schools will open again, eventually.

My lockdown saga: the survival of the couple

Told you that relationship goals during coronavirus quarantine would be my next subject. To be fair though, I had started thinking about this some time before the whole covid19 situation. I guess every couple with a long history – and especially some challenging times behind – comes to this at some point. So here is the second episode of my lockdown saga: the survival of the couple.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you’d meet today the person you’ve married years ago? Would you still fall in love with him or her? Would you still notice that person in the crowd? Would you still be impressed by the way he or she walks and talks?

Life changes you in so many ways…

Think about that. The more we age, the more we change. The things we live, the people we meet along the way. The challenges that are thrown at us, and how we choose to overcome them (or not). This makes you a different person, that’s simply inevitable. And somehow, thank God it’s like that! I mean, obviously, if I could have kept my teenager body at least, with my 35 yo mind, that would have been a pretty badass combo.

I don’t particularly miss the time when I was young and wild and free. Been there, done that, moved on. Ok, maybe I do miss that when my kids wake me up at 6am on weekends for instance. But I am glad that my priorities have changed with time. I am pretty happy with the person I have become. Not every day, let’s be clear. Anyways, point is, as your perspective on life changes, so might change how you perceive your loved one and how his/her flaws affect you. And given that we all have flaws (yes, you heard me, I am not perfect and neither are you), what really matters in the long run is our ability to work around those flaws.

How do you deal with compromise?

Is he as beautiful as you used to see him? Is she as unique and precious as she used to look to you? Do you give the same importance to the same things? Do you still like the same things? The more we age, the less we are flexible and open to compromise. And given that 50% of marriage is about compromise, I wonder whether I’d still be keen on negotiating the same things if I were to meet my husband today?

When I think at my divorced friends, I can see how some of them are now struggling with finding out what they really look for in a new partner. Does that change with time? Probably it does, and I believe that part of the problem is indeed the fact that our needs change too.

Our experiences have an impact on how we chose to live. Therefore, times might come where we need more of something that our partner was never able to give us in the first place. And the problem is, because that particular thing we need now had never mattered before, we cannot expect from our partner to suddenly have it! Nor to automatically understand where the hell all of that is coming from.

Three words for you: trust, respect and empathy

A couple that is capable of nurturing trust and respect and empathy towards each individual is unbreakable. This is what makes the difference and what can save it all, in the long run. I have no doubt.

I find this video particularly interesting and super well done. It’s in French but you can turn on English sibtitles. The whole series is actually great. As explained in here, the key to a successful relationship is found in the ability to grow and change together. Individuals change and so does the balance that keeps a couple together. The moment you deny that life changes you, and that you change with time, the harder it becomes to keep your couple alive. The real challenge then becomes to embark your other half into the change with you. You have to change together and considering that even soulmates can change differently, here it comes compromise again. And negotiation. But as long as you have trust, respect and empathy for each other, you are safe.

Easy, right? Now please try and keep this in mind next time you want to strangle your other half because you have been confined at home together for the past 5 days.

My lockdown saga: not today PJ’s!

Today is day 2 of my lockdown saga, which started last Friday. I do not really count the past weekend as forced quarantine, given that usually we are so tired from hustling all week, that we don’t do much on weekends anyways. Better: we do nothing. We stay home, do laundry, watch tv, cook, sleep, maybe dance a bit, and drink wine.

So far, I have to say that this awful coronavirus has not changed our lives that much. If you have read my previous post, you know that I am a huge fan of the couch. Plus, we are lucky enough to have a little garden. So, when there is too much pressure, quarantine or not I can close the kids outside and only open the door to interact with them the moment I hear crying and smell blood. Which actually happened, just a couple of hours ago.

Back to my story

Yesterday, I decided some prep was necessary in order to keep the kids busy throughout this lockdown saga. And turns out, it’s working! They love the fact that we have a planning to follow with things to do (and mostly, things not to do, like disturbing mommy while she is at her laptop). But I realized I also needed a planning for myself too. And first thing I have put on there for this morning was dress up.

Dress for yourself

I have already written about dressing for yourself and not for others. I have always been a fan of choosing my clothes based on what makes me feel good. I truly believe that feeling comfortable in your looks gives you the confidence you need, to go out and kick asses. And now I realize that I need that same confidence for staying home and kick asses.

Therefore, this morning I decided I would dress up as if I needed to go out and attend a meeting. Shoes are not required here of course, but I am satisfied with feeling good from head to ankles. I definitely do not want to spend the next 45 days (because this is what we are looking at) in my PJ’s! I haven’t put any make up on today, maybe tomorrow. I still have 45 days to figure how I want to handle that. But I think I owe a minimum of décor to myself and my self-esteem.

An act of self-care

I feel like my lockdown saga could be way worst if I were not taking care of myself. In the end, prepping up and taking the time to wear those trousers that flatter you can only help you feel better. Unwrapping that new beautiful purple pull-over you offered yourself for your birthday but were waiting for a nice occasion to wear… Well, deciding that today was that day, really made me feel good about myself.

We all need little wins like this, to cheer ourselves up and feel better. In these challenging times, more than ever. I hope this will help you somehow. I don’t know, maybe tomorrow you will put this and other self-care stuff on your lockdown planning too. And if it will make you feel confident enough to forget what we are going through, even if just for a second, that would make me really happy.

On an additional note… Hubby will be at home with us too, starting tomorrow. Something tells me the next thing I will be writing about is relationship goals during lockdown. Stay tuned!

How do we explain covid19 quarantine to our kids?

Today is day one of our forced quarantine and I am far from figuring out how do we explain coronavirus quarantine to our kids? Schools are closed and people are invited by the government to just stay at home. Which would be a great thing for me. I am the couch kind of person who’s been waiting for years for someone to dictate that life had to be lived on the couch. And in the Netflix era! Simply awesome. Plus, the beauty of living in a country like Belgium – where we only have sunshine for two months a year – makes it even easier to digest.

If only…

If only I was not a mom. And if only me and my husband had not made the mistake of having unprotected sex TWICE. How do we explain coronavirus quarantine to our kids? Forced quarantine for two healthy kids is a suicide mission guys. This morning, only two hours after we woke up, they had already started 10 fights. Which I was very proud to be able to manage with an unprecedent diplomacy (time-out in the bathroom). Until, they started to throw Lego bricks at each other.

Damn Lego bricks!

The perfect and most desired toy for kids of all ages (husbands included). Yet, the worst nightmare for parents all over the world. Not just because there will always be that one little piece you forget to put away. And that suddenly reappears under your bare feet, while you’re trying to reach the toilet in the middle of the night. But also because, as I learned today, they can very easily become war weapons.

To put the fights at rest, I decided to video call my mom. She lives in Italy and thus has been locked up at home for the past two weeks already. And I was surprised to see how the moment the kids saw the “nonna”, they started to cry and moan. At that very moment, it hit them. They suddenly realized that we were not going to join her anytime soon. In their minds, they were waiting for school to be over, as they had identified that with our departure. Therefore, when we started the video call, they began to understand that they were home with me, without being sick, so school was over, but they were not going to go anywhere for some time.

How do we explain covid19 quarantine to our kids?

How do you explain to a 3 and a 4 y.o. that they have to stay home even if they are not sick? And that everyone is grounded? And that we cannot even go to the restaurant nor the park, otherwise we are all going to die?? Ok that’s not true, I was getting carried away sorry.

I’ve heard other moms saying that their kids were scared, “because if they go out the virus will eat them”. And last week, my daughter told me that at school they had to wash hands frequently, “because otherwise the police would go after them”. For now, my strategy has been to underline that school is over earlier (yaayyy!!!), so we get to spend some quality time together. But I am not sure that will work for long. Especially, because they are no stupid. I am sure they can see the look on my face, when I think that I’ll be grounded at home with the two of them for the next 5 weeks…

So, all in all. Not only they are scared about the virus, which is something adults struggle to handle too. They are also super sad that our trip has been postponed. A family trip, that hubby and I have been prepping for and saving for, for more than two years. Honestly, I haven’t figured out yet how to explain the covid19 quarantine to my kids.

The good news is though, that at their age they are not yet conscious of time. Which means, I will just lie for now. Tell them that we are leaving tomorrow (aka in 5 weeks). And that today will last very, very long.