It is quite obvious we are living in such a challenging time right now. I hope that in 6 months’ time when someone reads my blog they are thinking ‘Wow that was such a tough time, but we got through it and we are stronger and happier than ever’. I hope that many vital lessons are learnt by individuals and society, but we come out all the better for it.
At the time of posting this, much of the world was either on lockdown or self-isolating due to the Coronavirus. Everyone in the world will be affected somehow, and for us step-mums, life is just that little bit more complicated anyway, so something like the Coronavirus will potentially affect our lives even more so than a first family.
The advice for stepfamilies is quite confusing – at the moment, children under the age of 18 are allowed to travel between homes, but that would change if anyone in either home was showing coronavirus symptoms, was a key worker, was pregnant, elderly or had a weaker immune system. In these cases, then children and adults should stay in the home that they are in and not have visitors or visit the other house.
Also, different sets of houses may have different ideas about social distancing and healthy habits. I can see why some parents and stepparents are worrying about kids travelling between homes as we don’t always know what goes on in the other home.
It can be hard to know what to do as I know we want to keep a sense of normality for the kids, but we also want to keep everyone safe. We don’t want anyone to look back on this time wishing we had done things differently.
Every family is different and should do what is best for them personally.
It is so hard not to worry right now I know but I will drive myself mad if I keep worrying about every little detail! I am trying to stay as sane and healthy as possible, and am doing a fairly good job so far, so I thought I would right a list of my top 10 tips for step-mums during this period of our life.
1) PUT HEALTH AS A PRIORITY
If someone in the family has coronavirus symptoms and needs to self-isolate, the current guideline is that you should be doing this for the 14-day period.
Even though the government has said children under the age of 18 can move between homes, if one person is ill in one home and could make members of the other household ill, then they should not move between homes.
This is extremely difficult for all involved I know, but everyone’s health should be the priority. Remember this time will pass.
Both my stepdaughter and I had a high temperature so we self-isolated at different homes. I knew of someone who passed away during this time, so I didn’t want to take any risks.
During this time, it really does not matter whose turn it is to have the kids, especially if someone is unwell in one home. Parents should put aside their differences and be more understanding of last-minute changes in the schedule.
Ideally parents should work together to come up with a plan that works for everyone, with everyone’s health as a top priority. There should definitely be more communication between parents where possible, updating each other on how every is doing, if anyone has fallen ill and trying to keep things as civil as possible.
Now I know that in a lot of high conflict situations, even something like the Coronavirus isn’t likely to make everyone one big happy family. It would be lovely if it happened, but stepfamilies are complicated!
But what we can do is be civil, kind and understanding of one another. We may decide to moved forward with more love and patience in the future, realising that bitterness and pettiness isn’t worth it.
Now is not the time to be accusing the other parent of withholding their child, even if they think it is happening.
We never not what is going on in someone else’s life or how they are reacting to a situation. It is so important right to give people the benefit of the doubt and not add to the stress in the world.
Everything will work out in the end, as life always does. It is important we all look out for each other and make sure we keep each other safe.
2) LIVE FOR THE PRESENT MOMENT
In this situation, it is necessary more than ever to not worry about the things that are out of our control. Panicking about what may or may not happen in the future, really isn’t going to solve our problems right now.
We really do not know what tomorrow will bring. It is so important to make the most out of every day as life seems to be changing rapidly. We really do have to live in the present moment.
Hopefully we all learn to not take for granted the friends and family we love so much when we all get to be together again in a more normal scenario.
We all need to keep as calm and as positive as we can right now.
It isn’t a time to be arguing with your husband about things that may or may not happen in the future.
As the past has shown, none of us had any idea this was coming! I am wondering if we would have done things differently if we knew it had?
This is certainly making me realise that life has no guarantee and every moment counts.
3) IS IT TIME TO MAKE PEACE WITH A PERSON OR SITUATION?
It could be potentially (at a good time!) a good time to reach out an olive branch to an ex who you may not be on good terms with.
Obviously talk this through with your husband and make the best choice for yourself and your family. Every stepfamily has a different history and circumstance, and only you know what is right for you.
I think the majority of people have started to already realise what is important in life, and how much we have taken for granted.
No one needs to waste any energy right now on holding onto anger, resentment and past hurt.
For example, holding onto anger can weaken the immune system. A study at Harvard University found that in healthy people, simply recalling an angry experience from their past caused a six-hour dip in levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, the cells’ first line of defence against infection.
Maybe this could be a wakeup call for a lot of families to forgive and let go of the past?
4) TRY NOT TO LOSE THE PLOT DURING THIS TIME!
Even very young kids will sense something is wrong. Kids don’t understand and see the world the way we do. It is really important we all keep as calm as possible and look after our mental and physical health.
If you have more time with your kids, make the most of it! If you have less time with your kids, don’t take it for granted when you are all back together.
Try and keep healthy in mind and body, spend more time in nature, keep exercising and do Yoga and meditate so that you can cope better with whatever comes your way.
Having a healthy body and mind is important in everyday life anyway, but is vital right now.
It will help us to stay strong, positive and focused on this is working out for us all.
5) FIND THE BLESSING IN THE SITUATION
Life is all about perspective.
Most people rush around at a million miles an hour.
We are being forced to slow down which might not be a bad thing for a lot of people.
Everyone’s situation is different, but what are 3 good things that have come out of the Coronavirus situation so far for you?
6) PRACTICE DAILY GRATITUDE
Gratitude helps us to find the good in a situation and realise how lucky we are in life.
Yes, I know times are not ideal for a lot of people, but we still all have a lot to be grateful for.
What are 3 things that you have to be grateful for today?
7) DO NOT LET FEAR CONSUME YOU
How true are some of these statements right now for you?
Even though some of these statements may have truth in them, did you know that fear is by far the most detrimental thing for your health?
It has been proven that 90% of illness results from fear and stress. When your body is in stress mode, it can’t repair the damage that is resulting from the stress.
Also when we are stressed and fearful, we are far easier to control. We are more likely to believe all the facts and figures we are being told. Our minds are very powerful and will create what we believe.
Also, our brain can’t tell the difference between a bear chasing us and less life-threatening fears.
All fear, whether small or big effects our bodies in the same way.
I urge you to research into the fight or flight mechanism and how this impacts our bodies.
The good thing is, we can counteract the effect that stress has on our body as our bodies also know how to relax.
When we fill our mind with emotions like LOVE, FAITH, CONNECTION, HOPE, JOY and PLEASURE fearful emotions start to dissipate and the stress response stops.
When we feel supported, hopeful, optimistic and loved, in flow with life and connected to others, the body automatically triggers the relaxation response.
Every person will read this and feel that LOVE or JOY means something different to them.
Whatever brings you feelings of happiness, joy, love and hope, please do your best to do that right now!
We are all creative beings, and now is the time to put that to full use!
I know we are all a little more restricted right now, but can you find at least 3 things to do every day that put you in that loving, peaceful, joyful state?
8) BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS
We really are living in such bizarre times. It is important that we are kind to ourselves right now. We probably all have a little more time on our hands, so why don’t we use this time to speak kindly to ourselves, to tell ourselves we are doing a great job, to not be hard on ourselves if things aren’t ‘perfect’ right now.
I realised today our fridge was pretty empty, so I went to our local shop to find not a lot of what I wanted. I started to feel bad that I wouldn’t be able to cook the type of meals I was cooking before. I was actually feeling bad because I couldn’t find broccoli – how silly!
I then had to check myself and realise that I am going to have to do the best with what I have.
It really doesn’t matter!
It certainly isn’t my fault and doesn’t make me a bad wife or stepmum if the shelves are a little barer than normal.
Our stepfamily life is probably just that little bit more complicated right now. Of course, we should all be pulling together but don’t give yourself a hard time if you say or do things out of character.
A lot of the time us stepmums do things that are out of our character anyway, because this whole life is not a natural way of living. Being a stepmum isn’t natural to the majority of women, and this situation is also not the norm for us right now.
Go easy on yourself, you really are doing the best you can.
Also very importantly, be kind to everyone else right now, especially your partner. He may not be able to see his kids for one reason or another, be worried about their health, have stress and pressure at work and worried about the changes happening in society.
9) SEE THINGS AS YOU WANT THEM TO BE
I am a big believer in the power of the law of attraction. I do believe that everything we think, feel and believe will manifest in lives. We create our own reality, but then we also co-create this reality together.
We create whatever we believe. It is important we don’t focus on the worst-case scenario. It is important we focus on the way we want things to be.
Our intention is so powerful. The words we use are so powerful. Everything we think, feel and say should be in a positive tense.
Humanity is changing right now; we are all being forced to become more conscious and slow down.
We can use this time to work on ourselves, to raise our vibration and to all become the best version of ourselves. If we own our and realise our power, then we can create a better world for ourselves and for our children.
10) MEDITATE DAILY
Meditation really is the best medication!
We should all be meditating each day for as long as we can which will help to boost our immune system and help us think more positive thoughts. A lot of people are very stressed and anxious right now and meditation is the perfect antidote to that.
Meditation has honestly changed my life. I am so much calmer, healthier and in control of my mind. We all need to be control of our minds right now, so we don’t succumb to the mass hysteria and fear that is circulating the planet right now.
I have been practicing and teaching Yoga for 5 years now, but it is only for the past two years that it has become a part of my daily life and essential as drinking water.
For those that are new to meditation and would like a little guidance, I am offering a free 15-minute private meditation session via Skype or Zoom.
Please just send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org to book!