This pandemic is certainly an interesting time. It’s presented challenges none of us ever dreamed of facing, uncertainties and the dreaded unknown. Sometimes it feels like you’re just getting through the day, and if you are, take it from me: you’re doing a great job.

My learnings from being a COVID mum come with a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I’ve muddled through this time. 

First up, my CV is set to benefit as I’ve taken on the new and challenging roles of home-school teacher and quarantine hairdresser. My time management skills have been put to the test as I’m also running a family business, exploring entrepreneurial avenues and trying to remember to hang out the washing in between. 

Like many of us, a cloud of anxiety makes an appearance from time to time. The health and safety of my family, and what the future holds are two worries on high rotation in my mind.

Complications with my pregnancy have seen my parents move in, so I can get some much needed mandatory rest while they help around the house. I’m unbelievably lucky to have the support but it doesn’t come without a glimmer of guilt from watching my mum running around and insisting on taking care of me. 

Making time for selfcare has always been a challenge for me: I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to constantly be doing. During this time I’ve been forced to slow down and as a result, I’ve had time for things I wouldn’t normally have had time to do. 

While taking the rest I need for a healthy pregnancy (and brushing up on maths tutoring and home haircuts) I’ve been presented a sparkling and unavoidable opportunity to face my thoughts and fears, and reflect on what really matters. 

We’ve heard it time and time again, but I can’t help but stress the point: you’re not alone. 2020 continues to be unsettling for everyone and we are all trying to adjust and take it in our stride as we merge our personal and professional lives.

I’m pulling through by reminding myself that no one likes change, but it’s necessary and always worth it in the end. Time management helps with feeling productive, and a positive attitude makes a world of difference.

Here are my tips on getting through a pandemic like a pro.


1. Prioritise Tasks

To say that mornings are hectic would be the understatement of the century (the juggle is real!). 

Parents all over the world will relate when I say I feel I’m being pulled in five different directions before 8 o’clock in the morning. ‘Mum!’ is a battle cry bellowed from all corners of the house, coupled with an urgency that suggests a limb has been severed but usually involves a missing piece of Lego. 

My coping strategy is to remain calm and take one thing at a time. I deal with the most urgent issue first and prioritise from there, one step at a time. 

It’s actually been a great opportunity to instil patience in our children, and perhaps even a little independence. When I can’t get there fast enough, they have to learn to wait their turn or come up with their own solutions. 

Lockdown has this strange paradoxical nature: some days feel so languid and full of time, other days I feel overwhelmed at the mountain of jobs to do. 

On the quieter days, I try to allocate an hour or two to meal prepping or ticking off bite-sized tasks for my businesses. I think of it as putting credit in the time bank for the more stressful days.


2. Take the time to stop (even if it’s just for 15 minutes)

After these busier-than-busy mornings, I look forward to the quiet afternoons when my youngest boys are napping. The older children will have finished the majority of their schoolwork and the day starts to wind down. 

I send them outside to play and take those few precious moments to breathe.

Many of us don’t prioritise selfcare, but COVID has really drawn attention to the importance of building it into the day. Personally, I’ve noticed that these 10-15 minutes make a big difference to my wellbeing. It gives me time to stop, reflect and recharge. 

I’ve made my own selfcare habit of tucking myself into bed and reading a few pages of a book each night purely for pleasure. It sounds simple, but it’s a true luxury. I love nothing more than getting whisked away from reality by a book as it distracts your mind from hashing over the hectic activities of the day. It also makes going off to sleep so much easier. I find I sleep more soundly and wake feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the next day. 

Gentle exercise such as a long early morning walk or some yoga is also another favourite form of selfcare for me. I’m unable to do this at the moment due to pregnancy complications but this means I’ll enjoy it all the more after our baby arrives.


3. Focus on the positives

As always, I try to focus on the positives which include sleep-ins as there is no school bus to catch and no school lunches to pack.  (Although lunch has somehow transformed into a new daily stress. Is it just me or is everyone burning through more food than ever before!?)

Our new slow-living lifestyle, which previously I could only have dreamed of, means we’re not constantly on the go. I like to remind myself that living a fulfilling life is not all about constantly ticking off jobs and running errands. Rather, it’s about spending precious time with my family and making lots of wonderful memories. 

Life seems easier sometimes as we’re not rushing from school to sports training, then whipping around the supermarket before attending a community event. On the other hand, there seems to be more to do. I know my house requires a whole lot more cleaning because we’re home so much more.

Without a doubt though, the best part of living through a pandemic is the increase in quality family time. This is one thing I’ll never forget and it’s so very important to embrace it while we can.

Taking on the new normal while pregnant has had its own set of challenges. When pregnant with our other children I loved being out and about with my baby bump, however that’s obviously not happening at the moment. It’s similar after having a baby: you want to show it off to the world but again, not this time around.

Again, we have to embrace the positives and enjoy the quality bonding time at home – not to mention it’ll be the perfect opportunity establish breastfeeding without a million other things to do.

I’m torn between wanting and needing to soak up time in hospital to recover after having our baby, but know that our children are so excited to meet the newest addition to our family. The positive is that my husband and I will have some uninterrupted bonding time with our new bubba before we get home to the hustle and bustle of family life.

As challenging as these times can be, like everyone else we are just trying to keep things as real and normal as possible for our children. Our older children have a lot of questions and are a little overwhelmed from time to time. Just like you, we don’t have the answers either. The best piece of advice I can give is to focus on the positives and embrace the quality time this pandemic has gifted us.