The Magic Of Isolation
Expressing Deep and Wild Love For Yourself and Everyone Else
Take the gentle path -George Herbert
Your life and that of your family are very important. Our family and the world need us. I believe that our willingness to love and be loved will benefit the whole world. When we are consciously expanding ourselves and our love for our family we are available to be of more use to others. We then attract and add to the love and expansion that everyone is needing right now. I want you to know that you are enough and have everything you need to express deep and wild love for yourself and everyone else.
When pregnant with my fourth baby I was placed on bed rest. I had a seven year old, one preschooler, one toddler. For those of you who have these wonderful littles in your life you can see how this could be a challenge.
The greatest gift I have ever received was a letter from my sister-in-law who wrote me a list of “Things to do when on bed rest.” I believe much of this can apply to “Staying Safe at Home” with the kids. These activities are the titles of the brief paragraphs to follow. This is a short road map to help with direction and ideas. You may be saying, I’m too busy to stuff one more thing into my mind about trying new things or anything else. After all, I need to make money right now, don’t I? Yes, you do. Even if you can’t see through this day, I encourage you to try a very small tidbit of idea and see how it expands or deflates. I believe that when we love those whom we have been called to serve the money shows up. Yes, the work for the job does have to get done yet there is some kind of magic that happens when everything aligns. I can’t explain how. I only know that it works. It has happened to me and my family more than once. Just when we thought, this is it, how will we... a raise, extra clients or more hours became available.
Note: I believe in short bursts of inspiration, quick solutions, and getting information quickly (Just get to the point!) What this means is I won’t drag this out for 20 pages to make my point. Besides, we want quick ideas and things we can implement NOW! Am I correct? Let’s go!
How do we express deep and wild love for ourselves and those around us when the kids are going bonkers and spilling things that you’ve cleaned up 100 times already? I like to re-envision every irritation with “it’s just another reason to love.” What do I mean by this? Could it be possible to give to yourself in ways you’ve never done before? You see when we take time for ourselves with lots of permission slips in the busyness, everything else is then encapsulated with love. I don’t mean that the kids run you and the household. What I mean here, is that when you feel refreshed you have more light, love and positive energy to give. We can be annoyed by all of these irritations and isolation or we can re-frame things. If I am reacting to what’s happening around me, I can ask my dear self why am I reacting and lashing out with unkindness? What is it that lies deep in me like a trap door spider waiting to spring and capture me in old patterns or in ways my culture, gender, religion have shown me? Those programmed responses so deep inside me that they barf onto everyone around me, with surprise, guilt and immediate regret.
I learned in therapy that a simple phrase response can change the dynamics of any situation because children in their sweet, accepting souls (no matter what age) don’t need much. What is this simple phrase? “You didn’t deserve my unkind words, temper...” - you fill in the blank for yourself. Kids are simple loving beings who don’t need long conversations and details. They will witness your softening toward them and respond positively (teens will take longer because what you’re saying is new and rockin their world). This doesn’t mean the obnoxious, childish behavior ends, but it does set a precedent for all future conversations going forward. Never use the words: “Can you forgive me?” These are learned behaviors in us from religion, culture, and gender. This sets kids up to accept any bad behavior from adults, siblings, babysitters and grandparents. Including, but not limited to, abuse in any form. (I speak more about this in my book “The Magic of Abuse”)
We can no longer live our lives the way we always have. The whole country is on pause, giving us every opportunity we could ever want to re-connect, not only with ourselves, but with those who mean the most to us. Tell those babies at home that the way we used to do things is over. It’s Over! Your schools will not teach the same. The adults will not go to work in the same way. I want to teach you how to think and how to thrive by giving you opportunities to not only serve your family in the home but our family who are not near us. Some are not our family but they are living in nursing homes isolated from their loved ones. We are going to find new ways to connect with one another. Love one another. Serve one another.
Now mama take a deep breath. Breathe consciously and let this breath fill your mind with new dreams and new imaginings as we go forward into this new landscape.
Every bit of this list can include the teens and pre teens creating and crafting with the little ones in your house. Things to do when we and everyone else are at home:
Forts & Construction:
Indoor sandbox, got an old plastic bin with lid? Fill with sand, let the littles play. Cover it when done. Easily sweep the floor. Keep in mind that physical messes are always easier to clean up than emotional and spiritual ones.
Forts, out of sheets & blankets covering the table, chairs, couch.
Set up the train/car track all over the house including ramps. Building contest with blocks & Legos. No blocks? Use all of those boxes that you’re getting from deliveries. Decorate with paint and stickers, writing and coloring with kid/teen artwork. Make ramps for the driveway or yard to jump bikes, scooters & skateboards.
Soap Box derby cars full size. Create out of go carts and boxes.
Teens/Preteens: Got extra cans of paint? Let them design and create their own walls. (Remember this can always be painted over) Renting? Dip left over fabrics, think old T-shirts in liquid fabric softener, apply to walls wet. After it dries it peels right off. Push pins work too.
Get some model magic, make play dough, add cookie cutters and plastic picnic ware. Make a piñata, fill it I with all the little toys they no longer play with.
Magazines are great for modifying the faces and outfits in them creating a different narrative with markers.
We used to play a game called tigger tail (tuck socks, bandanas, ribbon) into back of pants of who is IT. the chasers try to grab the object while IT is running away. Have a party for all the stuffed toys, use hats, blowers, balloons. Play store, your little ones take your order (writing practice)
Make fruit kabobs with cheese and grapes or whatever is in the frig. Make jigglers. Let them have pop tarts, organic or not. Teach them how to set a table & table setting. Make table settings out of items around the house (hot glue beads and things onto flatware (it peels off) use quilts as table cloths and hand towels tied with ribbon for napkins. Create a center piece. Make sure you look in every room for gems to enhance your centerpiece theme. Books make great placemats. Challenge yourself and your family. Pleasantly surprise yourself with picking a crazy object like branches, fruits, moss, fake snow, picture frames & candles. The point is to use what you have around the house and yard.
Talent show. Puppet show. Show and tell. Singing contest. Dance games.
Make a dinosaur land in the covers of the blankets. Play dress up. Bring in the scooters for a parade ride. Let them ride all over the house. Play freeze dance. Have a party for all the stuffed toys, use hats, blowers, balloons. Bring out the games, play cards teach math. (Millie Bornes) is a great one. Ticket to Ride with older kids. Risk. Castle Risk. Apples to Apples. Charades.
Have some old, long skirts around the house? Cut them up the center, attach some string for instant capes. Pool noodles become light sabers and swords with a little imagination.
Plan your Disney cruise or Disney park ultimate vacay. This teaches geography. Make collages out of all the ideas. Prom. Quinces party. Dream car, wardrobe this will help you learn some things maybe you didn’t already know about these interesting individuals.
Education: Along with daily on line school:
Read to them. Even the teens can get behind this especially if they learn audibly. Oldest read to youngest. Pet care: do the kids know how to really bathe, clean up and care for them or do you do it because you don’t want to take the time to show them how?
Photo creation. Learn to use the camera on the phone, order prints from persnicketyprints.com create memory books and journal about #Covid19
I am aware that most of this can be found and done alone and we all need some of that, but what better time to build and have fun with your fam?
Decorating and Acts of Service:
Write stories, write notes and cards for relatives far away. Create videos too. Load the windows with Christmas lights, make banners to hang in windows or on front door that give messages of hope. Banners for front yard or chalking the sidewalk and drive way with messages of love to those on the front lines in any capacity.
How can the kids serve you? I am a fan of making everything an educational experience. I was a homeschooler for part of my motherhood years.
Make parent’s bed daily. Make mommy a bath at the end of the day. Serve her her favorite beverage in the afternoon. Make own beds and clean bathroom daily. Daily laundry split: one washes, one throws them in dryer, one folds, one hangs and steams them.
Kitchen: one loads dishwasher or rinses dishes. One washes and puts away. One sweeps floor and wipes down counters. One sweeps floor and takes out trash.
Are you concerned that the pre and teens are keeping crazy hours like 2am-2pm? Use that cycle to your advantage. If they are more alert at 3pm maybe it doesn’t matter. Do they really need to be awake at the crack of dawn? Modify the schedule to however it makes you feel less tension for you and them. (Think Google & Amazon) Besides they will need to learn to be self starters with consequences when they grow up) This is flex time, getting to know one another time. Finding a respectful flow. Remember you all have been out and about. It’s an adjustment for everyone. If you, mom and dad, are feeling overwhelmed, remember the kids are feeling the same.
I have no time to do anything. How can you add more ideas to my day? I’m just saying that perhaps you can add a thing or two that would ease the need for your constant attention.
By the way. If you are working at home and the only way for you to get anything done is by letting the kids watch movies and eat popcorn and goldfish and yogurt all day, give yourself lots of permission slips and grace.
Permission Slip to ask for support, give it, receive it, ask for it. You are not alone.
Permission to work in small bite sized pieces. Permission to nourish yourself. permission to live elegantly and successfully with yourself. Permission to not have it all figured out. Permission to live in the new normal. Permission to feel like you’re going to pull your hair out. Permission to do nothing today except do puzzles and slurp ice cream floats with the kids.
Disclaimer: All of the ideas above are only that, ideas and suggestions. Use your own judgement and caution.
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