Moving from COVID Craziness to Mindful Delight
Moving from COVID craziness to mindful delight sounds impossible. With time and practice, guest blogger Jessica Temple and her husband Lewis dialed down their crazy and upped their delight even while raising two boys with special needs during a pandemic. Today she describes how mindfulness gives them life and joy.
In the last two years we found out that our younger son Alex had a stroke to learning our older son Benji has autism. We have learned to juggle working, raising special needs children, and countless appointments, treatments, school meetings, and home therapies. My husband Lewis and I were stressed out. We were angry, had trouble coping, and were completely burnt out I.’m sure you have felt that way too.
Then COVID-19 turned our lives upside down.
Before COVID, we typically had four adults in the house at any given time to care for two kids. Now it was just me and Lewis 24/7. We felt like we were losing our minds. At some point during the second month of quarantine, it hit me that I was being given a second chance at maternity leave. I could spend long stretches of quality time with my children. Something I hadn’t had since Benji was a baby. That leave was broken up with appointments. Now there were no obligations, but how could I enjoy it when all I saw was screaming and fighting, hitting, hair pulling, glasses breaking, head banging, and toys being thrown?
The answer was mindfulness.
By moving from COVID craziness to mindful delight, I could improve and enjoy even those moments and make the most of the time I had with these children before the pandemonium of real life started again.
We started walking around the neighborhood with the kids. Those times were, and still are, full of whining and screaming and kids dragging their feet. Even so I loved every second–
feeling the air blow against my skin,
seeing the blossoms of spring and summer flowers,
being curious about why and how they grew the way they did,
rediscovering the joy of blowing dandelion fuzz,
delighting in the search for the motorcycles and pickup trucks my kids adore,
grabbing the youngest and chasing the garbage truck through the neighborhood, so he could see it eat the trash,
watching our toddler learn to walk and run and frolic through the grass and rocks.
Moving from COVID craziness to mindful delight with with my kids means–
watching the gears turn in their mind as they try to solve a problem,
cherishing their humor,
listening to the funny ways Benji scripts the things he’s heard,
gazing into their shiny sparkling eyes,
holding their soft hands and kiss their silky chubby cheeks,
analyzing their growth over these quarantine months,
seeing how they are stretching out and growing into kids, not babies or toddlers,
listening to them figure out how to use new words in conversation,
watching them do new fine and gross motor activities,
seeing my youngest run for a second before taking off, just like the Road Runner,
observing them learn to use their utensils and try new foods,
witnessing Alex looks at Benji with love and try to do everything Benji does.
Moving from COVID craziness to mindful delight around our kiddos makes good moments better and bad moments shorter. It can make you appreciate the time you have with your kids, even if it isn’t as much time as you desire. We are at our best when we are present and mindful.
Life is when we are present and mindful, even in the upside down days of 2020.
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Jessica Temple, PsyD, ABPP-CN, is a board-certified adult clinical neuropsychologist. She has two children who have special needs. She and her husband, Lewis, host a podcast called Thriving in The Midst of Chaos, where they talk about all aspects of special needs including getting a diagnosis and treatment, self-care, relationships, transitioning to adulthood, school, and finances. They created Thriving in The Midst of Chaos to offer support to others in the special needs world as well as to provide an easy way to find the most useful resources. They aim to share helpful resources with others, advocate for improvement, change in the special needs world, and offer a different perspective on parenting. To find out more about how Jessica’s work can help you, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @midstofchaospod on all social media platforms.
In the final installment of this series, a neuropsychologist and special needs mom shows the power of our senses in combatting compassion fatigue.
Jessica Temple is back to explain how the word IMPROVE can help caregivers who know combatting compassion fatigue is important for themselves and their loved ones.
Jessica Temple says caregivers implement 3 simple strategies for combatting compassion fatigue. In this post, she explains how to use mindfulness.