This week I wanted to share with you some thoughts from Certified Sleep Nanny, Hayley Firman, who is reflecting after a couple of months of self isolation in Spain with her young family.
We love our kids and partners, but let’s face it, parenting is stressful enough without being captive in your own home-like-pressure cooker with them all (due to something neither you or they fully understand). No more outside work, school, clubs, groups or distractions – the full force of your own offspring now directly on your shoulders but without the usual support team or typical tactics.
For the foreseeable future prepare to be surrounded by a barrage of Whys and When´s and How´s as your kids literally lick the windows and gaze at freedom of their yonder days. You can forget about letting the kids ´burn off some steam´ or play on the park whilst you collect yourself, soft play whilst you ask another Mom a million questions (but never know the answers) is no more! That steam is now tightly contained within your 4 walls and honestly at times it is about to blow!
It goes without saying – I am completely 100% behind #STAYATHOME, I am concerned for my family, I am worried about the vulnerable and by no means am I missing the severity of the situation. To the contrary in fact- being in a country that was hit hard and fast by this vicious virus with devastating affect makes the reality and velocity of the danger tangible.
We are a week ahead of the UK quarantine in Spain, daily recorded cases growing– no exercise options – streets are patrolled – massive fines enforced. Zero tolerance mixed up with my lack of the local language makes for the very real possibility of being gassed by the 10-tonne truck of antiseptic that skulks the streets.
A feeling of lack of control permeates, for a usually controlling and organised person this is foreign as it is for everyone. A lot of things I am unsure of so am practising letting go – just focusing on the day to day things I can control. Reorganising our wardrobes, homeschooling with flare, painting, up cycling, recycling – cycling (jokes). But most of all- protecting my families´ health- Giving us all the best jump into sanity and wellness in my house is with fun, games, cooking and of course good sleep!
Staying happy and staying well for my kids is a direct product of great naps and nights for us all – it’s essential to keep some balance and a sprinkling of adult time – but lets face it we all need to top up on sleep whatever age, stage and situation we are in – it really is COVID-19 that shines a great big flash light on it.
But how in holy hell – will I keep myself, my 16 month old, 4-year-old and 34-year-old hub sane whilst simultaneously riding the wave of unpredictability. In answer to my own question – at times I won’t!
Initially- I was super motivated, organised, efficient – I had everyone up, dressed and ready for the day as if we were actually going somewhere. I home schooled like a pro, baked a quiche, kept a journal. We learnt a new Spanish word each day and joined an online boot camp. We pondered about Science and Dinosaurs- I read loads and sang loads with the kids – we used all corners of the house, were seriously resourceful with food and danced around the kitchen a lot!
Once the initial excitement of change wore off, things were somewhat different, I gained 5lbs, spent way too much time online watching hairdressing tutorials, broke my no weekday wine rule, and started a million different creative projects (including cutting my husbands hair). Both me and my husband tried to plough ahead with our own home working schedules whilst shouting up and down the stairs passing each on infant and tagging out of our parent role and into work role. Sometimes I talked to my clients like they were my babies and my babies like they were my clients – do you think either noticed?
As time in lock down ticked on – I wont even go into but it ended in me being kicked out of Lidl with a nappy wrapped around my face like a baby bum burglar. Things got Cray! The kids picked up on it and quite frankly we all wanted off this family freight.
One thing I am hopeful for is that our kids will not remember this time for the impact it has on Mommy´s wine consumption, Daddy´s sanity, the WHO statistics or the uncertain future of our Economy but on how we all ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together or our 4pm balcony raves. They will remember the games we played, the silliness,the way that brother and sister became best friends. I try to remember this being stood at the gated front porch clapping the Spanish Health services every night at 8pm as the kids wave and watch our neighbours dance and sing from their balconies. The fun we had when we were jailed in our home.
So far, were surviving our own lock down and I am grateful. It has not what we expected . . . but then again, nobody expected this, did they? Already we’ve had blood, sweat, and tears. Literally. We’ve done freakish dance shows, we’ve experienced our fair share of tantrums. We’ve baked, we´ve created, we’ve chalked, we´ve painted, and utilised all the various tools at a resourceful (and desperate) parent’s disposal.
What I’m learning is that kids adapt pretty quickly, even to extreme situations like this — and that parents are far more tenacious than we ever allowed ourselves to imagine.
Having said that, right now in this moment I urge you to look at your families´s sleep – could you use this, moment of pause to make successful sleep changes as from where I’m sitting here in quarantine, it might just help save your family’s wellness, strength and mental health.
Other than that, stay safe, rest well, and of course – wash those hands!
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