The Birmingham Bar Association (BBA) has been sharing a weekly or twice-weekly wellness message to provide members a wellness-focused word of encouragement during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. BBA member Susan Han, who is also the co-chair of the Alabama State Bar’s Quality of Life, Health and Wellness Task Force, shares her techniques for balancing work, family and homeschooling, while fitting in a little bit of personal time. This article is republished with permission and was first shared in the BBA’s Wellness Message email.
My kindergartner exclaimed to me one morning before school this year, “Mommy, I wish I was born with all the knowledge I need so I didn’t have to go to school and could stay home.” Due to recent school closures implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, her wish about not having to go to school has come true. I now find myself in the roles of around-the-clock caregiver of two daughters (ages six and eight) and working mom. My husband is a healthcare provider and work at the office continues intensely for him during this critical time. In our world’s new circumstances, “finding balance” as a working mom is taking on a whole new meaning.
How am I managing this? One day at a time. I try to do work before my children wake up and after they go to bed or after my husband comes home from work. I save TV/movie time for the kids during important work conferences or when I am physically spent. I accept that my working hours for at least the next two months will be more part-time than full-time. I read the news before the kids wake up and put my phone down (most of the time) when they are awake. I forgive myself when I am not the perfect mom, perfect housekeeper, or perfect lawyer. I do my best to embrace the precious time I have with my children—baking, gardening, and reading with them, learning how to home school, going on daily walks/scooter rides/bike rides, playing with sidewalk chalk, playing Uno and Scrabble, and growing “aqua dragons” in an aquarium. I have daily, lengthy phone chats with my parents who we can no longer see in person despite the fact that they are neighbors. I claim some “alone time” in a brisk walk after my husband returns home from work. And I remember, as the late Reverend John Claypool said in one of my favorite sermons, “Life is a gift.”