How to be content at home, Part three

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I’ve been hearing from a lot of moms who are stuck at home with the entire family and feeling really invaded and stressed out. I watched a young mom snap at her old mom in the store because her mom had an opinion about the husband who was yelling at her on the phone. So many feelings!!

Don’t be that mom, I mean, you might be that mom, but take this opportunity to be extra compassionate with yourself and your people. If you feel the tension building and the sense of being invaded is strong, give yourself five minutes alone. This is assuming you can do so safely, but really if your house is full of people, usually somebody else can be the designated grown up for five minutes.

Take five minutes

If you have them, put on some headphones and dial in some white noise or rain sounds. If you don’t have them, use earbuds, or in a pinch just hold two conch shells on each side of your head. You know what I’m getting at. Block out noise and light for your five minutes and let yourself feel whatever you are feeling and name it. “Cocksuckers” is not an emotion. “Fury” or “tension” or “panic” or “self pity” are the sort of labels we’re going for here. Take some deep breaths and let your emotions bounce around you or sit in your lap. They may seem annoying, but they belong to you and it’s fine. Relax, just a little bit with your emotions that are still there and imagine you are exhaling the tension.

Do this any time you feel your ears tingle or whatever your early warning system is for a tantrum.

Remember, this is hard for your pets, too, as well as other people

You have no idea how many cat naps you are interrupting now that you are home all the time. Sure, the cat is cranky, and that’s perfectly natural. You’ve really messed up her schedule.

I feel a certain happiness every time I see people doing regular things. Somehow there are many more smokers hanging around outside, but it’s probably just because the weather has warmed up a little. At least I choose to believe it’s not that so many people have reverted to smoking out of worry. The ladies who clean are still cleaning and the training goes on at the ball field. For most of us, however, things are the kind of normal that would only happen in an emergency. If a family member was critically injured you might congregate at home and waive off all the usual responsibilities, exactly like this. Even if something like this happened before, the pets still won’t get it.

Learn something new

My brother is learning German and I’m considering re-learning French, so that we can still have a great excuse to not talk to each other. My preferred method is watching French television shows and turning the captions off now and then. It’s not complete, but I may well be able to solve crimes when I’m done, in French! où est l’autopsie?

Don’t you have a musical instrument hanging around? No? If you really want to aggravate your housemates, this is the perfect time to learn to yodel!

If you don’t know how to cut your own hair, or other’s, this may be the time. Take your time and be leisurely about it. Understand that your arms will get tired in a new way, assuming you don’t usually cut hair. Some styles do not require precision or sharp scissors, so maybe try those. No matter how tragically bad the result, hair grows back and in the worst case, you’ll have a new appreciation for your hair stylist.

Call someone

I know some younger people don’t like to do it, but it really is nice to hear a voice you haven’t heard in a while, particularly if it isn’t your own. Sure, you can call me, but I want to encourage you to call anyone you haven’t spoken to for a bit.

Now if the reason you haven’t spoken to them is that they stole your car or gambled away your savings, maybe skip them. Assuming that grand larceny isn’t in the mix, pick someone in a random way, make sure you aren’t likely to wake them up–Sorry for all the times I forgot this step, California!–and then just do it. Don’t over think it. Don’t wonder if they want to hear from you or worry that you won’t have anything interesting to share. Calling out of the blue is interesting enough on its own.

Keep looking on the bright side. It’s always there.


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