This pandemic has been very stressful for many people for a myriad of reasons, parents included. As a mother myself, with four kids ranging from a newborn to 12-years-old, I have found myself struggling more than any other time in my life with self-care. I have been multi-tasking homeschooling three kids, caring for a baby, and working full-time from home. I quickly found out there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done as a mom, wife, teacher, and a therapist so how could I possibly have time for me?
A serendipitous thing occurred during Covid-19. My neighbor was getting rid of things and put it all out on the curb – what he calls the “free market.” There was an extremely large blank canvas just sitting there in all its white bleakness. The old artist-at-heart in me had to walk over and check it out even though I have not painted in a decade, nor could I possible have time! But then I couldn’t resist such a fine canvas once I put my hands on it. Soon after, I found myself with a brush in my hand and inspiration in my heart to paint something.
I would have NEVER, hear me on this, NEVER chosen this time in my life to reignite my love for art and painting. I would have laughed and scoffed at the idea of adding a hobby to my life, especially right now. A hobby sounds like a luxury that a mother of four during a pandemic certainly cannot have. It almost felt selfish and wrong. Yet the canvas appeared and I have found taking time to paint during this stressful time is one of the best things I can do for me. When I paint, I feel calm and I’m able to imagine and wonder again. I am getting in touch with a part of myself that is not just a mother, wife, teacher, or employee. I am getting in touch with myself.
Now I hope I have got you thinking “What can I do for me?” What interests do you have, or did you once have, that have maybe been lost over time with new ventures like parenthood, a career or family? Painting, coloring, calligraphy, sculpting – all great activities to fill the gap. Maybe take some time to scrapbook or make a collage with all those photos that are weighing down your phone memory for a few years. If you have a green thumb, or want to have one, get in the yard and start a colorful and fragrant garden. Spend some time in the dirt digging and growing beautiful plants or vegetables.
I share this story to encourage you. It may not seem like this is the time to return to old hobbies or create a new one, but this is exactly the time when we need to pause and do things that make us feel like ourselves. Things that restore our souls, like painting did for me, and remind us that the world is so much bigger than the pandemic.