I hear you. I feel you sister. A lot of us mamas, myself included, are feeling the pressure. Here are some Tips and Hacks for Success!
Hey soul sisters…. I know the past 10 months have been HUGE, right? Loaded with all kinds of changes and stressors, I have felt more than overwhelmed at times.
You may be struggling with your kids doing school at home during lockdown. Or perhaps you’re upset about having so much extra work to do with everyone home. Are you worried that they won’t learn much on zoom? Concerned that you won’t have time for yourself or to get your own work done?
I hear you. I feel you sister. A lot of us mamas, myself included, are feeling the pressure. I have been super-focused since last March on finding my place, finding the truth, helping my kids through lockdowns and zooms, and making decisions that are best for my family.
I absolutely believe that it is Hashem’s plan for us to face these challenges, learn new ways of doing things, and through this process become much more self-sufficient, self-governed, truth-oriented, empowered and closer to Him. He wants us to grow now – in order to be able to contain a great light that is coming in the not too distant future.
At some point during the first lockdown here in Israel I nearly lost it – the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, the schooling, the mess, the noise – 24/7 – how will I do it all and still work in my wellness biz to boot?
I needed new info, a new way of doing things – I felt like Hashem was calling on the world to do things differently and this girl was NOT playing! New info. Now. Please!
Just then, thank You Hashem!, I came across a new homeschool/parenting group led by homeschooling mentor Chana Rus Cohen, who helped me create such a shift in my head and in some home-keeping and parenting habits, that having the kids home now is something I actually look forward to!
I told ya – I wasn’t playing.
Let me share with you some of the shifts in thinking I have been blessed with:
- Despite all the negative, a new era full of new possibilities feels exciting to me.
- No need to be a control freak when the kids are home 24/7. Kids can be self-directed for much of the day as opposed to constantly being told what to do. We the parents give over the rules, values and consequences while explaining and showing them that they are free to reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of their choices.
- It is a relief knowing that I can inspire and instill within them – by example, through stories and life situations – things that they will barely or never learn in school: compassion, thinking for themselves, self-directedness, excitement for learning, being helpful to instead of competitive with others.
- It’s not my job to entertain them – I can let them think and create for themselves. I am not the courtyard jester.
I absolutely believe that it is Hashem’s plan for us to face these challenges, learn new ways of doing things, and through this process become much more self-sufficient, self-governed, truth-oriented, empowered and closer to Him.
- Helping my kids get the most out of their schooling while at home is about relationship and an atmosphere more than academic learning.
- Woohoo to no mad rush in the morning to get out in time, to not feeling bad for them because they have to wear masks all day long, to knowing they have to deal with a lot less negative peer pressure, and to having them in an atmosphere where healthy eating is so much more possible.
Alongside the mind shift, here are just a few of the amazing tools I have learned for how to run the home while having everyone IN IT plus work (I work mostly but not exclusively from home in my wellness biz).
- Simplify – take a few days to completely focus on decluttering your home. The less stuff you have, the less messy it’s going to get and the easier the daily messes are to clean up. Also, children play better when they don’t have a ton of toys and games around. Simplify your academic expectations of the children. Post the house rules and consequences in writing, so you don’t have to constantly be repeating them.
- Based on the Fly Lady system, make sure to finish and start each day with a few basic yet critical things for smoother, more effective days.
Each night, tidy up the living room by picking up messes and sweeping; clean the kitchen by wiping off counters and washing and drying all dishes; lay your clothes out for the next day; make a to do list for the next day.
Each morning, get dressed, brush teeth and make your bed right away, give the bathroom a quick clean right after using it, and put a load in the laundry.
- The Family Meeting – for less misunderstandings and upgraded communication, meet with your kids once a week and have a running list of what to go over. Try to make it short and sweet. Who is doing which chores this week? Any dinner suggestions? I see that you’re not coming home on time from outside play – how can I help you? Remind everyone of the house rules.
It is a relief knowing that I can inspire and instill within them…
- Loving your kids does NOT mean DOING for them. It means teaching them to do FOR THEMSELVES. I do not have to be the 24/7 servant.
Dishes left on the dinner table? Laundry on the bedroom floor? Toys not picked up? Books all over the couch? It all has to be picked up/cleaned up before the next meal.
A great hack for easily implementing their chores and basic to do list, which I got from the FunCheapOrFree blog, is the Clipboard System. Every child gets his own clipboard with a list such as making their bed, brushing their teeth, doing their homework, and their chores.
The rule is – they cannot go outside to play, have electronics time, speak on the phone or go to a friend until the clipboard list is done. So… if they come to me asking if they can have or do this, that or the other, we check their clipboard and if it’s not done, they can’t have it.
- Kitchen is part of school. If the kids are home, the kitchen is part of schooling. Teach them how to make a dish, cut and dress a salad, wash the dishes. Have them watch you as you are preparing food – give them a cooking lesson. Talk to them about the health benefits of fruit as you cut up fruit and vegetables for them.
- Mom is not a babysitting service. It’s okay to pick a timeslot or two during the day and tell the kids – between 1pm and 3pm I am working/resting, and you cannot disturb me. They can read, do homework, play a game, work on a project, etc.
They will learn EXPERIENTIALLY that this is part of real life – sometimes mom is not available, and I can still be okay by being self-directed and figuring out what to do.
- We are co-creators with Hashem and therefore if my child has a problem I can help him in the spiritual realm by praying for him, talking to God about him, envisioning him healthy, whole and happy and sending that vision over to Hashem, knowing that He can and will uplift the child into this vision.
Obviously, each of the above can be an article on its own but I hope that even the cliff notes give you inspiration and something to work with and I can certainly elaborate on these in future articles.
I share this with you today because there is a truth out there that has been lost (actually taken from us).
WE are our children’s best teachers for the things that will matter and help them MOST in their life – self-esteem, good character traits, belief in and fear of God, healthy relationships, thinking and creating for themselves, and being self-directed.
When we capture our children’s hearts, when our children feel secure, when we let them fail because that is actually a great way to learn, when we inspire them instead of require of them, when we focus on relationship and atmosphere – they become open to discovering their unique genius, to developing a genuine love of learning, and to taking responsibility for themselves. And yes, every child is a genius in some area!
Academics take a lot less time to give over than we have been led to believe. There are people who’ve lived through wars as kids, missing 2,3,4 years of school who still went on to become successful professionals and lucrative business owners. Do not worry so much about the academics.
Today and every day is THE DAY to raise souls who joyfully serve Hashem.
I leave you with verses from Tehilim 118, which I find helpful to say every morning:
This is the day that the Lord made; we shall exult and rejoice thereon.
Please, O Lord, save now! Please, O Lord, make prosperous now!
Blessed be he who has come in the name of the Lord, we have blessed you in the name of the Lord.