Written by Moms on Call

To say that things are going differently than planned right now is an understatement.  Our worlds have been flipped upside down and, no matter what stage of parenting you’re in, we are all trying to find our new normal.  What are the bare necessities for my hospital bag? How do I work from home with kids underfoot? How do I help my older kids through the disappointments of big milestone events being cancelled?  How do I stay involved with my grandkids?  And how do I stay sane through all of this?! We are right there with you and are here to help!

Expectant Parents

Newborn classes have been cancelled.  This wasn’t part of the birthing plan.  Families won’t be able to wait eagerly in the waiting room for your precious little bundle to arrive.  It may not be the birth you always dreamed of, but that does not make it any less special and will be a great story to tell one day!  

Packing Your Hospital Bag

As hospitals are asking new parents to only bring the necessities, packing your hospital bag will be a little different than you had planned.  Your well thought out and researched list may have to be pared down, but don’t worry!  You will have everything that you and your baby need.

Here are some of the bare necessities:

  • Chargers 
  • Night clothes 
  • Slippers or socks with grips 
  • A loose, comfy outfit to wear home 
  • Makeup wipes 
  • Bath towel (the hospital ones are tiny) 
  • An outfit for the baby to wear home 
  • Car seat 

Newborn Education

Moms on Call’s 0-6 month Online Video Course is a great substitute for the cancelled classes at the hospital!  It covers all of the basics, from nursing to diapering and what to expect those first two weeks.  Check out a free preview!

Introducing Your New Arrival

Make sure you (and your families) know how to FaceTime and check out services like GroupMe and WhatsApp so that you can share your exciting news with all of your people!

Toddler Parents

Toddlers can be so much fun and can also completely drain the very breath out of you.  

To help mitigate toddler-exhaustion, we need to put a few key things in place that happen consistently each day.

  • Wake up times (within 15-30 mins)
  • Mealtimes
  • Bathtime and bedtime routines 

The extras — learning, laughter, dancing and walks — fall into place around those key times.  Toddlers operate in 15-20 minute intervals.  Have some simple go-to activities on hand (Busy Toddler and Days with Grey have awesome ideas for easy activities that use things you already have around the house) and get outside as much as you can!  Going on a “rock hunt” and watching construction trucks are great, easy ways to occupy those little bundles of energy!

Remember that you, the parent, are setting the atmosphere and your confidence is contagious. Take each day one step at a time. 

Elementary School Parents

This one is tough because there is real schoolwork that has to be taught and overseen!  We can’t just goof off all day and do nothing.  (Okay, well maybe some days we can let ourselves just goof off and do nothing…but you don’t need our help with that!)

Just like babies, older kids thrive on having a predictable schedule!  So, set up and stick to a routine (the times may not be exact) which includes:

  • Wake up times
  • Mealtimes
  • “Centers” or “Classes” of 30-45 minutes max, followed by 15-20 minute breaks
  • Bedtime routines

Parents with Older Kids

Laura here and we have it all.  In fact, I have two seniors who had both their prom and graduation cancelled.  A junior that didn’t get to do college trips over spring break.  A college kid who has had to come back home.  A husband who is a special education teacher for high schoolers.  A frustratingly slow internet because we are all trying to get things done at the same time.  I’m wondering how one family can go through a gallon of milk a day.  Needless to say, fuses are short!  But, right there in the middle of that frustration and meals to be cooked and toilet paper rationing, there is laughter as these siblings play a game.  There are deep conversations being had about college choices and the weighing of pros and cons.

Parents Working from Home

Participating in a Zoom call while making a bottle/supervising a toddler’s costume party/teaching a homeschool lesson/fighting your teenagers for internet bandwidth/[insert your scenario here] feels like the ultimate juggling act.  And that’s because it is.  We were never meant to parent, work and teach all at the exact same time!  

Here are a few things that will make it a little bit easier:

  • Create a routine that includes at least an hour and a half of nap or quiet time and take advantage of that time to get the necessities done.
  • Leverage your village (responsibly) and ask for help.
  • Come up with a plan for each day with your spouse so that you can trade-off between kid-duty and work.

Most importantly, give yourself some grace in this chaos and know that it’s okay if everything does not get done, there’s more screen time than you would like and the house is a mess.  This isn’t forever and will be the source of fond memories one day!

Grandparents

Those precious grand babies make your world go round and not being able to be with them is tough.  How do you find ways to stay engaged when you can’t physically be with them?!  The great news is that technology has made this much easier than it used to be!

  • Use some of the easy and free video conferencing options available like FaceTime and Zoom to check-in, read a story or watch an art project!
  • Use a group messenger service like WhatsApp and GroupMe to keep up with everyone throughout the day.
  • Share pictures with a photo sharing app like Apple’s shared albums or FamilyAlbum.

How do you survive any of these situations? 

You breathe. 

You take it one step at a time. 

You give grace when the dishwasher isn’t loaded right. 

You set aside some time to yourself.  Go for a walk.  Take a bath (if you still have hot water left after all the kids have gone). 

You laugh.

Stop, look around and know that there really is good to be found today, we just have to look for it.

Moms on Call provides simple, sensible parenting resources to sleep, feed, laugh and love birth through toddlerhood.  Our Online Video Courses for 0-6 months cover everything from feeding and sleeping to schedule transitions and typical days at different stages.  These are the perfect compliment to our books, signature swaddle blankets, apps and e-books.