By Sarah Bibi Patel – Good Night Sleep Consultant
Hindsight is 2020. Or so they say. And certainly, the year 2020 will go down in history, for never before in our lives have we EVER experienced something like this.
I’m Sarah, a mom of 3 beautiful children. My son is 5, and my twin girls recently turned 2. To say that COVID-19 threw our lives into disarray would be an understatement! Have you been quarantined with 3 energetic, occasionally crazy toddlers? It’s certainly enough to make you lose your sanity. Especially, when you add the fact that I work from home AND had to do the dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping, dishes again…The list is endless. Have you seen how toddlers eat? And play? They leave a trail of food/ dirt/or both EVERYWHERE.
It took a few days to get into this new “routine” of ours. And a “routine” it HAD to be. Yes, it was certainly tempting to pretend every day was a Sunday. But I quickly learned that routine is vital for my children, not only me. Toddlers don’t have the concept of time like we do. They strive on structure and routine, because it makes them feel secure. They come to learn how their day should go, based on a daily routine. Given the fact that this a scary time, for adults AND children, I had to ensure that my son felt secure and safe, because he was old enough to ask questions and wonder about “lockdown” and “Covid-19”. Whilst we had honest discussions about it with him, it was equally important that he felt safe and secure – routine played a HUGE role in helping with that.
Which brings me to my next point: One of the afternoons, whilst doing a Whatsapp video chat with my friends, we all came to this one point: That even during lockdown, or perhaps ESPECIALLY, during lockdown, we have learned to be grateful.
Every cloud has a silver lining. At least, that is what we endeavour to teach our children. And it is certainly true. And that left me wondering: What am I grateful for in this lockdown period? And whilst there were many, many things that crossed my mind, one of them was that my children were always in a beautiful routine. It really enabled me to juggle all the balls, without dropping one (sort of).
My children have always followed age-appropriate awake times and routines as babies, and that has never changed. It was a relief to know that I could catch up on some work whilst the twins had their set nap every day. It was comforting to know that regardless of the busy, tiring day I had, all my babies would be in bed at a reasonable hour, with no bedtime battles, because that is what they were always used to. My babies were always independent sleepers – mummy gives hugs and kisses, and I walk out, leaving them to sleep happily on their own. It truly saved my sanity – to know that after a hard, exhausting day, I could simply love them and leave them, and take a breather – a much deserved breather – for myself, when I put them to bed, knowing and trusting that it was ONE battle, I did NOT have to fight. That was my silver lining.
Self -care is the new tag word in our world. And it can have so many definitions. For me, self- care is good sleep – for me and my children. As moms, we have to be the port of calm for our family, when we experience a storm. It is so much EASIER to be that port of calm when you are well rested. it is empowering to not face naptime or bedtime with a sense of dread. When these times are calming and loving experiences, instead of being stressful, it’s a gift for every one in the family unit. Sleep is self -care too.
So while we’re still in lockdown, life has carried on. We continue with a routine, and it enables our home to function much more smoothly. I am eternally grateful that I have a few peaceful hours after my children have gone to bed. It enables me to rest and put my game face on, because as a mom, our job never ends.
Tomorrow, I will have to do it all.over.again.