One of the most amazing things about the human spirit is the ability to adjust and accommodate even the most extreme types of situations. If you are like me, you find that every day brings something new. Whilst I am tired and sometimes feel overwhelmed, I am actually finding that I have surprising talents as a parent, a cook, a teacher, a child entertainer, and even as a home nurse and financial manager!
Of course, there are also times that I feel completely lost, and as if things are spinning out of control. Comparing to a rollercoaster ride doesn’t seem quite right unless the rollercoaster is completely out of control and hurtling along the tracks. However, there are also sometimes when I can stop and reflect on all the things I have managed to accomplish, and this helps me to find the motivation, inspiration, and the strength to keep on going.
I have developed resilience, which is a way of saying I have learned that I can manage and with this issue that is impacting almost everyone on the planet. Through the work I do with my business CM Talent and Career-Mums I have definitely seen the challenges and opportunities from a stay at home parent and a working parent. No one has it easier, just different and I know I have certainly learnt a lot from them over the last weeks. I’ve wrote about their lives and how they have used resilience to deal with the rapid changes we are all faced with…
Olivia and Marcus
Olivia and Marcus are both professionals, she is a manager for a national clothing retail chain, and he works as an accountant for small business owners. While Marcus has worked from home for several years, most of his days are spent in meetings with clients. Olivia works a typical business day, and she often travels throughout the UK to visit different stores.
With the new stay-at-home-order, both Olivia and Marcus are now working from their small home, and their three girls are also at home and no longer attending school. Their girls are ages 13, 9, and 7.
Both parents are committed to maintaining a routine for their children. The first order of business was to develop work and play areas in the house and create rules as to how to use these spaces. This was done through family discussion. The girls seemed to really enjoy creating work and play spaces and also developing a routine, which is managed on a large chart posted in the kitchen.
With a bit of searching online, Mum and Dad found some great apps and online resources from the school and from other online sources. Educational websites and virtual tours of art galleries, museums, and science centres add to the entertainment factor of the school day.
The family has also created break times, where everyone comes together. The girls have taken on the role of preparing a healthy snack for the breaks, and the whole family enjoys lunch together.
The family also takes a daily physical education break, where everyone goes for a walk or a bike ride. The kids are aware of social distancing, and the family practices this every day. On bad weather days, they use one of the thousands of free exercise videos online for a fun, entertaining workout.
What the family is finding is that being together takes work, but it also brings its rewards. Learning to look to the scientific facts and avoid the social media frenzy of misinformation helps to keep everyone calm and grounded.
Nancy has always been a stay at home mum since the birth of her first son. Now, with two sons and as a single mum, she finds it challenging to do all she needs to and also be with boys on her own 24/7.
Her two sons, now 7 and 5, attended a local school while Nancy worked providing freelance writing services from home. While her work has slowed down, she still has to complete her contract work while also keeping her kids busy, doing all the household chores, and somehow getting her own work done as well.
Nancy has also created a schedule. As a single mum, she uses screen time and work through online educational game sites and apps to keep the boys busy while she does her work. She also has frequent breaks built into the day where they get outside and enjoy healthy snacks and meals they prepare together.
Nancy is using this as a time to teach her sons essential life lessons. In the past, she had always done the cooking and cleaning, and now she uses the time to show the boys the basics, and they are becoming excellent helpers. They have times to watch silly videos, play card games, and just talk to each other in a way Nancy may have taken for granted just a few short weeks ago.
Becoming Resilient and Confident in Difficult Times
Instead of a focus on what they cannot do, both of these families are focusing on what they can control and how they can successfully adapt and enjoy life. This is at the heart of building resilience and avoiding becoming trapped in a never-ending spiral of “what ifs” and doomsday scenarios.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover from a challenge. It is not hiding from the issue or wishing it away, but in finding the good and the potential in times that are not easy or convenient.
This is a time to focus on relationships. These are the relationships with the people in your immediate space, but also connecting and reconnecting virtually with friends and family across the world. It is also a time to be compassionate and to find ways to show empathy, taking the focus off of yourself, and thinking about how we can all help each other to come out the other side as better people.
Today, look for the positives and the achievements you have accomplished thus far rather than focus on negativity and restrictive thoughts. The positivity is the source of your resiliency, and it is a powerful tool to keep you moving forward even in times of uncertainty and challenge.