If moms are good at one thing, it's making the most of what they're given. And now, as 2020 comes to a close, some moms are figuring out how to bring the best of 2020 into 2021. Now I won't insult your intelligence or mine by suggesting, even a little bit, that this was a good year. It was, overall, a very bad year. And while it's cliché to refer to 2020 as a dumpster fire, sometimes things are cliché because they nail it perfectly. And with 2021 on the horizon, we are all very happy to bid farewell to this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. And yet...
Look, from the pandemic to murder hornets, it's been a doozy. And, as various studies and think-pieces assured us, it was especially tough out there for moms (especially for Black moms)... but we are a resourceful crew. Because, yes, the dumpster is on fire, but d*mnit we will roast marshmallows over that fire and post a cute picture of it on Instagram stories in celebration of our ability to find whimsy in even the most miserable circumstances.
From unexpected changes in circumstances and perspective to newfound hobbies and routines, 2020 offered some silver linings. Some moms' lives have, somehow, changed for the better this year, and here's how they hope that can continue into 2021.
"I, for one, am absolutely keeping our family meals at the table. We actually had time to sit at the table and I put all the food on the table so everyone can get seconds easily, and it has been such a great bookend to the day."
"I have realized just how much of life is spent in transition, especially between places 30 to 45 minutes away. With those transitions gone, along with the necessary preparation and settling at each end, I have realized how much mental energy is drained through that part of life. I have more time right now to read, plan, and do other things. I am actually cooking a bit now, and I have read more books than the previous two years combined. I hope to find ways to minimize those transitions in the future so I can reserve some of this mental energy for living my life in a way I enjoy."
"Is it weird that I want to just keep doing the mask thing? My kids have been so much less sick this year, even when school reopened, because I — and our school — have actually stayed on top of things like masks and hand-washing. It is the only thing that has been easier this year. I guess that makes me the opposite of the anti-mask crowd."
"I am constantly astounded by how flexible and easygoing my kindergartners are. A year ago, I would have said that no way could a 5-year-old wear a mask, keep distance from peers, and do remote learning when needed. Kids are so resilient. So many lessons to learn from them. Moving forward, I absolutely want to remember that. As adults, we get stuck in our own heads. Littles adjust as needed and keep going"
"We've explored so many more local outdoor spaces, and appreciated the Earth and its trajectory around the sun. For example, sitting on the back porch after dinner, I never noticed how dramatic the difference in the location of the sunset from June 21 compared to Dec. 21. I find it comforting to feel small in the universe. My problems are smaller."
"[I'll continue] drive up/curbside pick-up, or home delivery of most items I’d go to store for, avoiding the chaos of stores with three kids! It's less time spent in line at check outs, and more time to think it all out and not get home and realize I forgot an important ingredient. Since it’s done on my time from computer or phone, I normally do better. Also, meal delivery kits to help resolve my decision fatigue."
"I've had to be more intentional about finding adult social outlets and keeping in touch with friends. I joined an online book club, I have an active group chat with my siblings, and made plans to actually talk on the phone with people like we did back in high school. I hope that I can keep some of that going."
"I finally confronted a lot of my emotional demons. I give myself grace, let myself make mistakes, attempt things I’m not super sure I can do, and am allowing myself to acknowledge my worth even when I’m a big ol' hot mess. In turn, it’s given me a lot more patience with my kids. I don’t overreact when they forget their water bottles for school or don’t put their dishes in the sink or have ‘big emotions.’ In a world that felt out of control, I’ve learned to embrace the chaos and trust that we’ll all be OK."
"I started exploring new hobbies. I found a great love for cross stitch. I mastered some very technical baking skills and plan on continuing to learn. I started reading again. My family and I were always hikers, but we brought it to a new level during 2020, and plan on hiking even more in 2021. For me and my family, 2020 forced us to slow down and learn to take joy in very simple things, and I am thankful for that.
"I’m not going back to regular pants. Leggings forever."
"Home workouts! Finally got a handle on squeezing them in more than once a week and it’s been transformational. No, I haven’t lost a billion pounds or shaved down my jean size, but I finally feel strong and fit and have a sense of routine for my workouts, which took a straight-up quarantine to finally break into that cycle."
"We made the decision to homeschool, the kids have spent tons more time playing outside, and life has been way less hectic. It's been fun watching my kids enjoy learning instead of picking up stressed out kids from school each day. We'll join some in-person homeschooling groups once social distancing eases up so they can make some friends, too. We do miss family and friends, going on vacations, and some extracurricular activities, but this slower pace has been nice for all of us."
"Shop small/local — after the initial Amazon binges, I realized our neighbors were relying on us to stay afloat. I will do my best to shop small."
"Earlier bedtimes, weekly zoom happy hours with far flung friends, more outside play, making homemade biscuits."
"The pressures of planning adventures or visiting every zoo in New Jersey evaporated overnight and I do not miss it. Some weekends are better spent snuggling on the couch watching Frozen for the 300th time."
"I’ve been much more intentional about sharing beauty with my kids. We spent the spring and summer hiking and learning bird and plant identification, and now we’ve started doing music meditations every day."
"Reading out lout to each other, doing puzzles with the older kid, and more time for me to do crafts and art projects has been really fulfilling — I didn’t know how much I missed that. [We've gained] a more keen knowledge that when we have the time and space to be creative it feels good — so we want to do our best to keep that space available."
"I took up cooking as a serious hobby during quarantine and have drastically increased my 'cooking confidence.' I love doing it now. While my waistline might not appreciate it, my family and my wallet definitely do."
"Because therapy is essentially free with waived copays for teledoc things, I’ve made a lot of progress escaping toxic family patterns. Trump is no fun, but he’s brought to the surface the dark underside of some of my family members, not to mention the population. I’ve also gotten to see just how much I enjoy the family I’ve chosen and the family I’ve created. I want to continue with the knowledge about the reality of these relationships, nurturing the many healthy relationships I do have, and remembering how therapeutic and healthy being outside and growing things is."
"The weekends have been more enjoyable rather than over in a blink of an eye. We’ve hiked, kayaked and enjoyed nature together. I want to keep some of that for 2021 and just enjoy life as is, in the moment, at least a few times a month to keep us all grounded."
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