My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

March 31, 2020
by mymommyology
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Changing Habits

It is self-quarantine day number……. mmmm. What day is it again?

Somehow, it is all a blur.

We must’ve gotten past 3 days already… right?

I woke up one morning forgetting what day it was. Literally. My kids used to want me to put them to bed on weeknights and sleep in on weekends… why do I feel like it’s just been one long extended weekend?

So like most of you, we’ve been doing our part and staying home — except for the unique moments when my husband or myself have to run to the grocery store.

And we’ve been chugging along as best as we can, half wondering if our lives will go back to some semblance of normalcy — or really what this “new normal” will look like?

I’ve talked to a couple of people these last few days who have transitioned or have somehow made strides in moving their business to a more remote set-up. It’s a struggle for some, and a huge transition for others, and so life does somehow seem busier for a lot of us.

I know that my day’s schedule has to blend in all the meals, the preps, and my brain shifts back and forth constantly from work-to-home-to-kids-to-work-to-laundry…. it’s exhausting! And yet of course — we make do with the situation as best as we can. We have no choice.

But really — we are resilient. We adapt, in more ways than we think. And while I used to think about what it is we were missing out on, we started to think about what this lockdown has made possible for us.

Over these last three weeks (yes, I just checked the calendar), some of our habits have changed. Our lifestyle has definitely changed. And contrary to pre-coronavirus beliefs that I had to be at the grocery every other day, it does seem like we can stock our home and have enough food for a good week and a half.

Well… we also have refrained from food deliveries and eating out — whereas that used to be a weekend habit of ours.

So now, I cook.

Clockwise from top: Tuna cakes and asparagus, Banana Nutella French Toast, and Greek Lemon Chicken.

Much to my husband’s delight too — because these are recipes “never before seen or tried in my house.”

Left: Thai shrimp curry on broccoli. Right: Garlic porkchops with cauli rice.

On our family’s previous schedule — we would never have tried these recipes. And yet — we are definitely eating better, and healthier too. We see it and we feel it!

We’re also exploring new ways to stay entertained. Gifts and items that were once locked away and never played with before are suddenly getting some attention.

The puzzles have come out of the closet.

My long-time friends and I got on a Zoom call, and that was the most we’ve ever been “together” in such a long time. We realized that we’d never have thought of doing this under normal circumstances.

Lovely lovely people.

Ahhh, the Zoom life. What can I say.

We’re also exercising a lot more.

The treadmill is now in use! And Jamie and her team are conditioning together!

The treadmill that was once a glorified “shelf”, has actually been moving more now than ever. And I do believe that it’s so much better from my husband who’s so used to sitting down all day.

Jamie and I both miss our respective gyms. It’s definitely not the same. But we try to make the best of it with home workouts for me, and Zoom conditioning sessions with her team.

I think the biggest upside to all this is our increased family time together.

Dinner al fresco.

The girls are loving the sit down dinners, movie nights, and the fact that they’re seeing us more regularly.

We have no choice but to be together all the time — because we really can’t physically be with anyone else! Thankfully we like each other enough ey. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can’t say it’s been easy. But as the days go by, I can’t kid myself into thinking that this will soon be over. I hope that it will — and there can be some semblance of what life was like before. But somewhere deep down I know it won’t ever be the same.

I just have to keep going back to accepting this new reality, and looking at what this is making possible for myself and my family.

March 24, 2020
by mymommyology
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Hey Mommas…What Does “Me-Time” Look Like for You These Days?

I am checking in with my fellow moms out there.

I used to define “me-time” as time alone, time with my own thoughts, and time when I can just… exhale and not have to worry about anyone else for a little bit. Time to sleep.

Well! Given our current situation these days where social distancing is happening everywhere else except in your own home… I find that “me-time” feels hard to come by. Anyone?

Let’s agree — it is a lot to deal with these days. A LOT! As it is the nature of motherhood, we give of ourselves on a regular basis. But lately, does it feel like we need to give so much more these days too?

Which leads me to ask — What does “me-time” look like these days?

We can only give what we have, so we definitely need to fill our emotional cup. And Iโ€™m not talking about a Mom’s night out, a massage or a day trip away (besides, I donโ€™t think those are options nowadays).

We can’t add hours in our day to make time for ourselves. There isn’t much physical space left (if it’s not in the bathroom). So maybe, we just have to make it happen in our minds.

Is this a familiar sight?

The mind is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

A shift in perspective of what “me- time” can look like in a time like this, could fill our emotional cup without trying so hard. It may just help us get through each day with a little bit more of a smile.

Here are some ideas of shifts we can make, to find our “me-time” and peace amidst the chaos.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be everything. Just ONE little thing a day.

A repetitive pattern of four short inhales, and four quick exhales. When done at the beginning of the day for about five minutes before anything else, it can help invigorate you and get you going with more energy.

Getting in sync with the kids’ study time and breaks. Okay — so it may not be all “at my own time”, because there are other people home all the time. So I’ve had to re-frame my day such that I time distance learning, recess and lunch breaks with them as well. P.E. time is also when we work out.

Mandatory “quiet time” for everyone at home. While your kids are reading, take a nap! Or read a book too. Join their quiet time and make it yours as well. This may be the most obvious “me-time” switch there is, and it’s an easy one too. Besides, what could possibly happen in the 30 minutes that you power nap or bury yourself in a good book? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had to use a meme for this one! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Work! Doing productive work (paid, volunteer and otherwise) that isn’t a chore. Ideally, this is work that you love or like though, so remember that!

A Salt Bath. Of course — the bathroom is always a place to retreat when all else fails. But this is my favorite part. After a stressful day, or a day that was just “too much”, a warm soak for 15 minutes does the trick. When you sit in the bath, think of all the things that stressed you out, and see it wash away — literally down the drain — when you rinse and end your bath with a scrub. Trust me, you will feel lighter.

Practice Daily Gratitude. For some, it’s a meditative prayer. Others, it’s a journal. Sometimes it’s really also only just the thoughts.

Gratefulness is a habit.

I can’t handle too much negativity. I’m always out for the positive spin. And just finding the good is sometimes enough.

Sometimes, I do it alone. But these days I see it as a chance to connect with my kids without the hustle and bustle of our typical day. We do it at night, before bed — as a reflection of another day safe, at home, together.

And we always always say a special prayer for the doctors, nurses, and frontliners out there who are risking their lives to save ours. They are parents too, who are parenting the world these days. Now THAT is truly a lot to carry.

When I shift my perspective to that… I find I have no reason to complain about the loss of my alone time.

With everyone at home together 24/7, it purposely makes us slow down and have more me-time — together.

March 19, 2020
by mymommyology
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Work from Home

So it has begun.

Emergency Distance Learning (or EDL as it is called) curriculum was issued today. Our city is on lockdown, so that means even my husband is on work-from-home mode –all of us trying to do our part and flatten the curve, and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

I am completely on board with this principle. I think being proactive is the best way to get out of this self-quarantine sooner than later. If everyone just cooperates, it will work out for us all in the long run.

But for now… Everyone is home *faint*.

Yesterday — we were a hot mess. On top of the fact that it was my daughter’s birthday (more on that soon), it was a flurry of excitement and nrevousness over this “new normal”. Just getting everyone through breakfast, set-up and where they needed to be.

We talked about physical space.

6th grader needs the privacy. So into the guest room she goes.

I gave everyone theirs, and as the morning went on they all got into their routine, of checking homework and doing their collaboration calls.

The husband of course gets the official office — he says he really needs to be “at work”.
And Jamie got the official study area (with the growing pile of pre-edl activities around her).

I got the room with a view — and the explosion of the morning.

Central to the chaos.

Mine is also the most public room in the house, because apart from trying to work on my own to-do list, I need to be accessible (lest we have the yelling of “Mooom!” during periods of serious work and study). For some strange reason (you tell me), MOM seems to be the solution for everything.

I have to facilitate food, clean-up and schedules across three other people. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Typically when they all leave for work and school, there is quiet. I settle into my own routine for the day, depending on what needs to be done… but I get it done.

Yesterday the quiet didn’t last very long (on top of the fact that I now have clients too who need my attention)… thanks to “recess”, “PE” and the mere intermingling of everyone as they came to get a drink or a snack. It was also the need to connect with MOM to tell me what just happened and share stories… Yes. Constant interruption — ALL. DAY. LONG.

It was very hard to be productive. Sometimes close to impossible. It took forever to check off items on my to do list, to the point that I was a little panicked that it would just get longer as this self-quarantine went on.

Fight the overwhelm. FIGHT.

Are you laughing — or do you sympathize?

Then I think — this is all new to everyone now working from home. And I need to call on some patience, and give us all some grace. There is a learning curve, an adjustment period… it will get better.

The world outside is already chaotic, crazy and scary — I really cannot bring that into my house and into my now very public work space.

I posted this on my Instagram account the other night because I think it’s what’s going to get me through this “new normal”. What can I control?

I need to focus and take deep breaths. It’s really all I can do at this point.

I’m finding so many more people very understanding of our current situation. I was on a webinar earlier (not on mute) and somehow my kids’ interruptions of my discussion became comedic and a light reprieve. I suppose it is finding the good in the little things.

We just have to roll with the punches and take everything in stride. And hopefully sooner than later — if we all do our part, we can all breathe a little easier, and exhale a little bit more.

March 15, 2020
by mymommyology
1 Comment

Homeschooling in a Time of Self-Quarantine

It isn’t even day 1 of our self-quarantine days and already many of us are panicked. Children are home for 3 weeks. All sports, extra-curricular activities are cancelled. Vacations are cancelled. No play dates (remember social distancing!).

Remember, this is not a vacation,” my kids were told that Friday on that last day of school.

Jokes are already going around about who will survive whom at the end of the three weeks. Some of us have scheduled virtual brunches with friends to keep sane. We’ve considered starting a run club but everyone has to maintain a 6-ft distance when they run.

And then of course — the school work is promised to come.

But let’s face it — we all know that the situation different. And kids — as much as they need free time — they need some form of structure too (which is why they’re in school half their waking time in the first place).

I know the other reason I put my kids in school is because I can’t homeschool them. Day in and day out — I love them with all my heart and soul, and I would do anything for them… but I just know we’re going to drive each other nuts. I have utmost respect for the parents that DO homeschool their kids and choose to do so… day in, and day out.

And yet — here we are, most of us are left with no choice, all in thanks to this coronavirus scare.

I’ve been practicing the art of positivity and gratitude lately (Thank you Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi) — but that is for a different time and a different post. I tell you though, it’s worked for me.

In anticipation of this closure, I’ve done a couple of things for myself and for my kids, to help us ride out this 3-week self-quarantine at home. We are after all, making sure we do our part.

I decided and committed — I’d make the most out of it.

Sometimes just the way we see things makes all the difference. Who am I kidding — it’s everything.

I could choose to see it as an inconvenience: I JUST started my business, and it’s beginning to take off… how on earth do I manage my kids’ schedule and mine on top of it all for three weeks with no break?!

Or, I just see it for what it is.

I am a mom first. They are my WHY, so my kids’ needs take precedence over all else. Thankfully (THANKFULLY) we are all healthy and safe — but yes, they are still young and we need to keep up with their learning. So I will do the best that I can.

Is it an interruption of my daily routine? Yes it is. But at this point, there’s not much more to do that to make the best out of the situation, which in reality is not so bad — all things considered.

From that commitment, I’ve worked to set up the following:

A physical space for each of us to work.

All of us at home now have a physical space (desk/chair/office) that is separate from each other. Noise is limited by headphone / earpod use (because really not all of us have hallways and rooms of space). The rule is, if you are there, you are meant to work with minimal to no interruptions. Mom included.

Individual planners — to manage their schedule and follow it.

Yes, my girls are old enough that I can task them with this responsibility. But what if your child isn’t?

I know a couple of parents who’ve gotten creative. White boards with stickers and schedules for the family to follow, check off, erase, and the like.

Alexa, alarm clocks and time timers are all great tools to help keep time and keep kids on track. We moms say it the most — DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

Befriend technology and social media.

Okay. We’ve all heard the horrors of too much technology and too much social media access for kids, teens and tweens. I get it. BUT! In times like these — let’s choose to see technology as our friend. Why?

There are a lot of resources that will help us pass the time. Did you see the one about the virtual museum tours around the world? There you are — field trips at your fingertips.

What about the one by Oceans Initiative, offering online marine biology camps — this is perfect for my budding scientist, and it’s only one example of so many other groups that are doing similar things like it to help parents and kids with their learning at home.

And hey, if moms can do virtual brunches — how about virtual meet-ups for the kids? Virtual study groups? For as long as there’s an adult present in the room guiding the kids through their tasks, then it could work. There are so many online meeting rooms now with Zoom, Webex, Go To Meeting, Google Hangouts and the like.

Personally, I would still watch the amount of usage of gadgets on non-essentials like games and shows though.

Incorporate physical activity as family togetherness time.

Kids still need physical activity. It will help them focus better. And we need it too — trust me we do. Find ways to exercise together. You Tube has a lot of 30 minute workouts that you can follow. Or have each family member take charge of the day’s work-out and follow their routine.

Learn something new everyday — together.

My daughter came home and said, “mom, my teacher said we should make everyday an adventure. How do we do that?”

An adventure doesn’t necessarily need to be a trip out or something big. It could just be doing something different at home — like chores. Kids can learn chores and have fun with it too. Or everyone learns a new dance move and creates a new dance move. Try a new recipe — everyone has to eat it… oooh. Have family book club night!

So many new things can come out of the current situation we’re in. And while we probably never would’ve asked for this self-quarantine to happen, we’re in the thick of it now. And if all else fails, I can only see my family becoming closer and more resilient towards any other crisis that we’re put through.

January 4, 2019
by mymommyology
0 comments

Another New Year

New year — new blog format it seems! I guess it’s been a while since my last post!ย ย As much as I tried my hardest to write regularly, life got in the way. Doesn’t it always?

I will admit, man that last quarter of 2018 drove me to the ground. Everything had to happen at neck-breaking speed (literally). In the end, they were all good things and much got accomplished, but the juggling and time management of it all did send me towards…. wine (what else?).

We’re currently on a trip out of the country at the moment (and a lot of future posts I have mapped out will go into further detail), but let’s just say I’ve found some downtime now at our hotel now that Jamie is down with a cough. We opted to stay in and take it easy, so she is napping now while the husband tours Sam around on our last day.

Being away for three weeks has truly made me miss home; the predictability, the regularity of it all, and of course a little bit of the busyness that comes with it. I am hoping I will be “smarter” this new year about time management and commitments, but I suppose that remains to be seen. The irony of it is I keep harping about the same to Sam, and yet it is possibly a lesson I too have to learn in a different way.

I think I have to admit that there’s always going to be a lot to do. We are involved in so many things, it will always be an adventure, and it will always be tiring.

I suppose it’s just a matter of perspective. As a wise person recently told me — it’s because you’re capable of more.ย  I suppose that is a good perspective to have, to be able to do more because we can.

My little family ended the year with quite the adventure. And we greeted the new year with another adventure. As they say, the first day of the year sets the pace and tone for how the rest of the year will look like.

If it is truly any indication, then I suppose I know what kind of year I’m in for. At the end of the day, it is all good — the girls learn, they have fun. And I have to remember, it is because I can.

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