Since it’s usually better to focus on the positive, what is working for my family right now?
Sunshine. Today (and actually for the past few days) the sun is actually shining. That always changes my entire energy level–I feel like I can move mountains. I know the sun won’t shine every day, but I’ll definitely take it when I can. (And when it does rain? At least my girls are happy.)
Projects. Art projects, craft projects, house projects…I’ve been digging into my Artful Parent book and my youngest and I have spent afternoons trying this and that. The liquid watercolors are still out on the kitchen table after a week, just in case. We have salt paintings stacked up on one counter and a large fairy house (still in process) smack in the middle of the kitchen island. Fabric is piled up next to the bookshelf in the kitchen; my youngest sewed herself a little cat this weekend. Stuff for potential projects (egg cartons for planting seeds) and almost finished projects (painted wooden discs about to be turned into magnets) are everywhere. My kitchen is not a minimalist showplace right now….but we’re happy.
Music. It can be Studio Ghibli piano music in the background of our mornings, or Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony while I’m prepping dinner: music helps. I dare anyone to still be in a bad mood by the end of Beethoven’s Seventh. Truly.
Time outside. I spent one Saturday afternoon simply weeding and cleaning up flowerbeds. It was one of the most peaceful days I’ve had. If the weather cooperates (thunderstorms turn our backyard into a swamp quickly), being outside is a blessing. A friend commented last night to watch the birds–they don’t realize there’s a pandemic going on. Sitting on your porch (or deck) and simply watching the animals in your backyard can give you a tiny dose of normal.
Free stuff to do from sympathetic souls. I’m surrounded by people crowding my inbox with here’s something to help you through this time, for free (or heavily discounted). We’re in a unique place where everyone, to a certain extent, is dealing with similar problems–and people are ready to help.
Books. A secret stash of books, to be precise. After our last trip to the now-closed-library, where I stocked up on things for my youngest, I sorted everything and hid over half of them on the shelf of the living room closet, complete with dividers telling me what was where. She’s plowing through things faster than I anticipated, so it won’t last long, but for at least awhile I can trade out her finished Magic Tree House book for another one, and set out “fresh books” downstairs on occasion as a surprise.
My new morning “alone time.” This is actually me trying to spin something that’s honestly making me crazy. My youngest has been sleeping in a ridiculous amount, rivaling her teenage siblings. She admitted one morning–after stumbling downstairs at eleven o’clock–that she’d read until after midnight. Somehow, the little girl who was picking her way gingerly through the Puppy Mudge beginning readers not even a year ago is now inhaling the Rainbow Magic Fairy books in one sitting–and not sleeping. I’m horrified. Our daily routine is totally shot. Except that it does allow for bonus alone time for me as I start my day, giving me time to do things….like write this.
Think on it awhile. What’s working for you?