Mom Diary: What I Learned During Quarantine

Let’s face it. Being a mom is hard during normal times. Mom fails, mom guilt, all the worries you have about your kids happen on a daily bases.  But being a mom during a pandemic and under quarantine had quadruple all the fails and guilts.  

I was always worried about Joey and Addie’s emotional state each time they asked if they could go to the park, see their friends, or go to the swimming pool. I felt like I was saying, “no, we can’t do that” all the time. 

Of course, all the guilt of saying “no” led to spending more money on buying toys and activities. Online shopping had definitely quadruple in our house too. We are totally guilty of all the Amazon boxes filling up our recycling bin. 

A big adjustment, especially for Joey, was having daddy working from home. We had to learn not to interrupt daddy when he’s on a call. The hardest was knowing daddy can’t participate in the games and activities we do even though he is just in the other room. 

Mom Diary backyard pool
One of our quarantine purchases to help us stay cool for the summer.

All the guilt and worries kept building up and did not help with my sanity. I had less patience, and everything drove me crazy! Life felt like it was on repeat and it was like Groundhog Day every day for months. 

As we try to adapt to a life that works best for our family during this pandemic, I was surprised how adaptive my kids were. They amazed me with their compassion for not wanting people to be sick, their understanding of each other’s feelings, their patience for me when I needed a mommy time out, and their love for spending time with us. 

Mom Diary quarantine birthday
Addie celebrated her 4th birthday during quarantine.

Now we still had many tantrums (I had my shares too), days where no one was getting along, no one was listening, messes and chaos. But through all the hair-pulling moments, there were also sweet moments that have taught me how to be a better mom. 

Here are some of the things I learned as a mom during quarantine.

They can do more.

Joey and Addie are not quite at an age that they are self-sufficient. There are things that I just do for them out of habit and for the sake of time. 

They had been mainly in charge of dressing themselves, putting away their laundry, and cleaning up their toys for a while. But with plenty of time being at home and not having to rush out the door to the next activity, they have asked to try doing a few more things on their own. 

It started as simple as spreading the peanut butter and jelly on the bread to make their sandwiches. They’ve watched me do it plenty of times, so they were confident they could do it on their own. Check out how we made our version of Homemade Uncrustables

With a few demonstrations and instructions, they were able to take on more responsibilities and chores around the house. Their favorite ones are being in charge of setting up the table for dinner, using the vacuum cleaner, and helping with the backyard.

Mom Diary backyard cleaning
Helping and playing around with trimming our apricot tree.

Siblings need time apart.

Besides the different interests they have between a boy and a girl, Joey and Addie love playing with each other. They will get immersed in a game or activity with each other, and the giggles I hear from them are priceless. I also take advantage of those moments to get some stuff done. 

But when they had only each other to play with for months, the arguing and sibling rivalry was daily. There were multiple times a day where they will lose patience with each other, and then I lose patience with them. 

Mom Diary quarantine activity
Spending some alone time on one of his many building activities.

I had to start sending them to their rooms for some alone time to take a break from each other. They can’t stand being alone for long though. They let me know they are ready to “play nice” with each other after 5 minutes. 

I realized before the quarantine that they had plenty of time apart when they were in school and had their activities. When they finally get to play with each other at the end of the day, it was short but sweet. 

So we make it a point to make sure we find separate things to do with each of them during this pandemic time. Joe will take Joey along for his runs, and I will take Addie to run errands around town. It gives them a break that they need from each other, which they have more patience when they are together. 

Mom Diary drawing
She loves spending her quiet time drawing. A picture of the friends she missed.

Be OK with more screen time. 

It is so much easier to limit screen time when we had a full school schedule, activities, and playdates. Their interests in watching tv or playing games on their tablet had quadrupled (like everything else) during the quarantine. 

With access to so much more learning platforms and streaming services for families, more screen time is inevitable. Now I don’t let them be on the screen all-day. The key is finding a balance and maintaining control as a parent. 

2 things I maintain to help me stay in control of screen time:

  • I hold the right to veto anything they watch.
  • When I say it is time to turn off, they need to turn off without arguing or whining.

Now, this took a bit of training. I made it clear that they will lose the next screen time if they did not follow the rules. There were definitely some arguing, whining, and even tantrums in the beginning. But after holding my grounds a few times, they got the point. 

We alternate between screen time for fun and screen time for learning throughout the day. We also list out non-screen related activities to do once the screen is off. There were a few days that was too hot to play outside for long. So we put on some kids yoga or GoNoodle as our screen time.

Mom Diary kids on computer
Looking up instructions for his building set.

Ultimately, I have to do what is best for my family. It is so easy to get sucked into a rabbit hole of guilt. There are so many times I ask myself why this mom or that mom can get it together, and I can’t. 

Especially during this pandemic, we need to not compare one mom’s decision to another. Everyone’s situation is different. We all have good days and many not so good ones. There are days when I just need to put the tv on so I could hide in the bathroom for a moment of peace. And that’s ok. 

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