Self-care was one of those catch phrases that I always appreciated but never really took seriously. Until our day to day life was totally turned upside down due to Covid-19.As I am sure many of you can relate, I went from being a full time working mom of 7 year old twins to a full time working mom/homeschool teacher/entertainer/chef…..and the list goes on and on.Being in full “survival mode’ for the first few weeks began to take its toll on all of us as a family. The lack of routine, the excessive screen time due to my work schedule and out of desperation to keep the girls entertained created a chaotic, unsustainable living environment.
According to Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, LMFT and owner of www.stopparentingalone.com “The most loving decision a parent can make for their child is to be a secure base. A place where they fell seem, soothed, and secure. Each parent has to take inventory and wonder how can I be that secure base when I am with them? Once you have your answer, create the habits you needed to be a secure base.”I knew that I needed to establish that secure base for my twins, and that secure base consisted in self care. In this case, self care did not mean massages, or long baths with champagne. The keys to my self care consisted of the following:
We had to establish a routine that worked for all of us, and incorporate screen time into that routine. The most important thing for children is that they know what to expect and what comes next. And especially with twins, you are facing the challenge of having two children of the same age who have very similar needs, and both needing your help and attention.
Divide and Conquer
My husband’s work schedule is not as an intense as mine, so fortunately we were able to divide and conquer the basic household chores within our routine. It really helps to make a detailed list and to decide who is doing what, and when, so everyone is on the same page and everyone in the family knows what to expect.
With the lack of schedule/routine in the beginning of Covid all of our sleep schedules also suffered. Lack of sleep leads to meltdowns and overall inability to function, especially in children. It was essential to also factor in bed time to our daily routine. When my twins started to get their full 10-11 hours of sleep a night again it made a huge difference in everyone’s behavior.
Time for ME
This is where, as Sandaal Acosta also states, “Your oxygen mask first-always” rings so true. My time for me is my exercise-that is my oxygen mask. Even if I have to get up at 5:30 am before anyone else is awake to go for a run-it is so worth it. It helps my mood, my energy, and my patience-and makes me a better mother to my twins.
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As we all navigate these incredibly uncertain times with all of the changes that life has thrown at us in the last few months, I am very grateful to have the gift of my multiples because they do keep each other company at a time that can be very lonely, especially for children who don’t have playmates. I am incredibly thankful for our health and the time that we do get to spend together, as in the crazy day to day pre Covid there was never enough time for us as a family. Self care can be defined however you need it to be to serve you and your family, but just keep in mind that your happiness and well being as a parent is JUST as important as your multiples. And your ability to take care of yourself will provide them with that secure base that is so essential to their well being.
About the author
Meredith Mortimer is TLC’s Miami associate and a mother to 7 year old very energetic twin girls. Born in Los Angeles, Meredith lived in Spain for 8 years before relocating to Miami and has worked in television marketing for over 10 years. With a BA in psychology, Meredith’s passion for being a mom to multiples is apparent. She is an active participant in moms groups and provides support and advice wherever she can, and will even go up to complete strangers who have multiples to offer words of encouragement. Meredith is also passionate about health and overall wellness, and is an avid runner and yogi. You can reach Meredith at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on our Miami services.