Well, the title of this blog is aimed for new Moms in the world but it is really more like a “Melbourne Lockdown Round 2 Mom Journal”.
July 2020, New Zealand has lifted all restrictions. Italy, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Russia is easing restrictions. Germany is reopening, so is India, Brazil, Spain, South Korea, Iran, UK, Singapore, Dubai, Peru, Thailand…
And Melbourne… well, the most livable city in the world is in 6 weeks Lockdown.
“How did this happen?!” “We had the chance to do it right and now look what has happened.” – is what everyone around seems to be saying and I am feeling exactly the same. The second lockdown kicked off on the 9th of July, and it sure does feel much harder than the first one.
Having a 14 months old toddler, adjusting to this parenthood journey is a huge change at the best of times, and this pandemic season with lockdowns and social distancing is (Can I be honest?) really tempting me to feel angry and extremely frustrated.
Well, surprise! There is a reason the most dangerous prisoners are consigned to solitary confinement. Isolation is a method of severe punishment. Aloneness can be harsh. I know self-isolation at home is hardly comparable to the Apostle Paul enchained in a Roman prison. But even that story of Jesus withdrawing into the desert and fasting for 40 days, it was Satan’s attempt to challenge him, to tempt him. 6 weeks lockdown in Melbourne is literally 42 days! And after 3 weeks in, I am really missing connection.
So, in a time when everyone is required to self-isolate, I want to remind you and myself that it is ONLY PHYSICAL. We may not be able to physically invite our family and friends over to our home anymore but we can fill the airwaves with care and kindness. We can check in on one another, point each other toward hope, and help each other through this season. I have been receiving that from a few of my friends and I try to be there for others around me too.
Forget about “Bloom where you are in quarantine.” “12 ways to live your life during the quarantine.” (My previous post haha…) Feels like that’s all out the window now and I know we are just binge-watching Netflix on our sofa with a bag of chips in our hands. So today, I want to share 4 tips from my heart. Something that has helped me.
1. Look after yourself. Eat well, exercise, Lalala… I am not talking about that anymore. Yes, those are important habits and if you’re doing that, I think you are so well disciplined and amazing! I want to start by Acknowledging the small achievements “you got out of bed”, “you had a shower” … all the way through to day-to-day responsibilities. When you’re a mother of a baby, Self-care might be the last thing on your list. 2 years ago, my self-care looked like this – Going on brunch dates with my husband on a Saturday morning, Staycation once in a while and having tea time at the club lounge, Mani & Pedi + massage at a Spa. These days my Self-care looks more like – Meeting a friend for a walk with takeaway coffee, cleaning the house while my daughter is taking a nap, trying new recipes for dinner, putting out flowers and candles on the table for a pretty environment in the home. Often, self-care seems so attractive but feels so hard to do. What I learned is, take whatever moments you can and celebrate it!! Don’t let the myth of missing out eat you up. Remember to be kind to yourself. Have grace for yourself.
2. Limit the frequency of exposure to media and ‘updates’. No need to ignore them but get information from reputable sources, spend time looking after your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
3. If you’re a Mother like me, it’s ok to acknowledge thoughts that having a baby currently with limits on visits from family and friends has been disappointing. The disappointments about not being able to travel and see family overseas and share precious moments together as I envisioned. It is normal to feel that way. Breathe deep and say or write something like “Even though I am angry that (whatever comes to your mind) I accept myself. ” And THEN find the joys – the things that have worked well at this time. Until you accept what you are REALLY feeling, (And it’s okay to feel that), it can be hard to find gems in your backyard.
4. Connect with others. Don’t be shy to reach out. The methods might be different and screen time can get tiring but even for a short 20 min catch up can change the atmosphere of the day. And please, share your experiences with honesty. It is so freeing.
Lastly, I understand that even though it feels like as if Melbourne is the ONLY place in the world with strict quarantine at the moment, the truth be told, probably there are more people in the world who have to quarantine whether it is their choice or not. My mother who’s in Tokyo has been staying + working from home every day even though Tokyo has not been in Lockdown. Because she doesn’t know where she can catch the virus. Many people around the world have lost loved ones this year and maybe it’s not even the virus that took their lives.
Many might be going through anger and pain, feeling frustrated. But I was reminded of this. We’ve gone through hardships and pain in life before this pandemic. For example, going to school every day knowing I am going to get bullied again and again because I was the girl who moved from NYC, going through my parent’s divorce and not being able to tell anyone in my teenage years, and my brother missing for an entire year without knowing whether he was alive or not – now THAT WAS HARD. Compared to that, this pandemic is not THAT hard. Because this time, I got my family and friends around me and the world is going through it together.
So please stay close to your family and the people surrounding you who need you. This pandemic SHALL PASS – and I am praying that on the other side, we will be strengthened in our hearts and ability to engage one another. In these next weeks and possibly months of separation, it might be an invitation for us to direct our hearts toward what truly matters to you. These hours spent alone will only increase our longing for that connection promised in the life to come.