I love when something old hits you in a new way. That is exactly what happened to me this week when my kids were watching “Mary Poppins Returns” for the um-teenth time. Meryl Streep was belting out her musical number, singing about the world turning turtle, when a line that Mary Poppins said caught my ear…
“You see, when the world turns upside down, the best thing is turn right along with it.”
The craziness of 2020 definitely turned our world “turtle”. I am sure all of us can relate; especially my fellow parents of kids with trauma. We have struggled with the balance of life and work while having kids home on the longest Spring Break in the history of spring breaks. We have struggled through the loss of routine, loss of connecting with friends, and the loss of ability to lean on community activities to regulate through the long summer days. Even with the start of school, we have struggled with how to create normal in the midst of so much change. But, most of all, we have struggled watching our kids have questions for which we have no answers. On one of the hard days, I finally made the decision to stop fighting the temptation to reach for my old levels of expectation. If the world is going to turn upside down, we are going to turn right along with it. Here are some of the ways we have been doing that to find peace and even joy in the midst of the challenge.
- Stop the hamster wheel! I cannot accomplish the same amount that I did before COVID and stay sane. Instead, I have had to choose what is most important. What do my kids and family need today? What does my work require to stay on track? What do I need to be able to not just get through today but, to be sane a month from today? I have taken more breaks than usual and repurposed hours in my day around kid school schedules. That means I have to work more evenings and weekends but, I have also made a conscious decision to have 1 day a week where I do something that has nothing to do with work. I have created margin for relationship and joy.
- Connect with people! With everything going on, it has been impossible to see all the people we want to see. There is a lot we cannot do but, there is still a lot we can do. In all honesty, the last thing we want to do is be digitally connected with one more thing or person (work and school has been so much!) Instead, we look for intentional ways that we can connect with each other every day. I am trying to look at school work as an intentional time to learn together instead of a to-do. We watch movies together while doing laundry. We grab some takeout to maximize our meal time together and mix up the day. It reminds me that my tribe is my favorite part of of my day and my life.
- Find the fun! Our home has become too many things; work, school, reminder of the never-ending housework. So, we have decided to find the fun outside of it’s walls. We have been spending that free day I spoke of earlier swimming, exploring nature, and going on long drives. We take walks and even have car dates where we eat and watch airplanes land. It has given us the space to breathe and refuel as well as space where there is less stress and tension.
Through the challenges of this season, I am grateful for the lessons it is teaching me and I hope those lessons will remain even after the world stops feeling so “turtle”.
Founder/CEO Foster Arizona