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COVID-19: Mindfulness & Parenting While Quarantined

Working from home because you have to is OK. Working from home with kids can be difficult.

Motherhood

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first week that I'm working from home with my six-year-old daughter. I've had the pleasure of a flexible working schedule for the last few years; she's had three days to learn Google Classroom and get acclimated to virtual learning.

Working from home is a great option. Working from home because you have to is OK. Working from home with kids can be difficult.

Without the proper infrastructure, there's a lot that can go wrong, from missed assignments to a lack of focus. Honestly, the uncertainty from all of the news websites doesn't help either. The internal unrest is enough to drive the sane insane.

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So how am I coping? I'm not. Each day comes with its own set of challenges, and I'm doing my best to be present and intentional with my time. More importantly, finding ways to keep my daughter engaged and inspired in the absence of normality. I've decided the only way we're going to get through this is together. So, I'm committing more time towards mindfulness. Sure, it's still business as usual for most companies, including my own. But our attention is being pulled in many directions, making it impossible to work at full capacity.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us. It can be activated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation. When we're mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our mind, and increase our attention to others' well-being.

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Mindfulness is not something you have to cultivate, it's already within you. It's that act of choosing to observe your breathing and your thoughts; to name them and experience them fully, and to practice non-attachment.

To participate in mindfulness is to engage in the act of refocusing the mind.

Mindfulness sparks innovation by leading us to effective responses to seemingly complicated problems. For instance, the challenges that come from working from home can be solved by working in increments. By implementing these work strategies, we can reduce stress and enhance our ability to perform.

Research has shown that mindfulness helps us reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to stress with the awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motives may be driving that decision.

Here are some other ways to cultivate mindfulness:

  • Live in the moment
  • Accept yourself and others
  • Focus on your breathing
  • Eat mindfully
  • Walk mindfully
  • Observe your breathing
  • Connect with your senses
  • Pause between actions
  • Practice active listening
  • Get lost in the flow of doing things you love
  • Meditate daily
  • Reduce the amount of news you read
  • Embrace silence

If you're home with your child, I suggest adhering to a schedule and carving out time for deep breathing and meditation. Whether it be during the morning or after lunch, mindfulness can bring peace to your home. With limited playdates and fresh air, give your children the freedom to practice on their own. They may get frustrated during this period of social distancing, but this can have a calming effect.

As the governments work to flatten the curve, I'll continue to make my family's health and safety a number one priority. Mindfulness gives me the tools to manage my stress and remain agile. The silver lining in this whole situation is that I get to spend time with my baby. Watching her adapt to this new lifestyle is inspiring; kids are so resilient. She asked me if there would be school on Saturday and Sunday since they're working remotely, I responded, "No." She instantly smiled and said, "Great 'cause I need a break." We all do, baby.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Everything You Need To Know About Coronavirus

Powerful Mantras & Meditation Techniques For Mindful Mamas

4 Ways To Stay Sane When You Work From Home

Cultivating Mindfulness: The Best Meditation Practices For Your Zodiac Sign

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Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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