Those great multi-tasking skills which mothers are admired for and endowed with must come in handy now but, probably, to an exasperating degree. Working mothers are working from home, literally, without getting a break. Stay at home mothers who normally would get some time off when their little ones toddle off to nursery aren’t getting any time off.
Everyone is locked in with kids needing attention all the time. If there is a partner in tow, mothers are having to contend with, perhaps, someone who is not used to being at home all the time. The situations that we find ourselves in are myriad and diverse. I can imagine that there are households whose collective sanity is wholly being kept intact by the mother who is having to be the resident court jester, cook, bottle washer and is doing the washing on the go. There are probably fights that require a referee and mother steps into that role too.
While this is not my lockdown experience, only because of a whole load of complicated reasons, these are scenarios which I have had play out in my home during other times in the past such as family illnesses or during long holiday weekends. That was, frankly, enough for me. A prolonged lockdown would have exasperated me.
My call is for mothers to take some time out during the day to look after their mental health. Even if it’s 10 minutes a day. I term it the ‘oxygen mask theory’. If you don’t put your mask (pun not intended) on first, you will not be able to carry on looking after everyone else. We are all dealing with an unprecedented way of living and, while there is no template or example to follow, common sense and an awareness of self can be the guiding principles.
I previously started a series called the ’60 Minute Mother’ in which I advocated a self- care routine which took up an hour a week. Mothers are under an enormous amount of strain under normal circumstances. You will see these ’60 Minute’ posts in the ‘Motherhood’ category on this blog. I now advocate a simpler routine consisting of 10 minutes a day. If you can do more for yourself, please do. The big picture of my 10 minute a day strategy is to call upon mothers to recognise the new and untested strains which they are being put under and to prioritise their own care at some point during the day everyday.
Here are some 10 minute things that you can do:
- Start a journal in which you write your thoughts or aspirations in life. This will act as a self-reflective exercise on what makes you happy and what makes you tick.
- A 10 minute meditation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZToicYcHIOU
- A 10 minute stretch. This is one of my all time favourites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf4lYSg1XpI&t=21s