Mothering During #thisnewnormal – Giving Self Love in Quarantine by Myra Martinez

This all feels like we’ve been zapped from our lives into a chapter where we have some deep soul searching to do and we’re getting to know who we are all over again. So many unknowns, so many concerns, so many questions, and the answers seem incomplete and in a fog. It’s a time to connect with yourself, loved ones, and our online friends who we feel connected to you as well. Although we have to practice personal distancing it has brought us closer socially. We’ve been able to celebrate milestones, love on each other, express our feelings, and lean into feeling our feelings without judgement. Technology gave me a chance to tap back into dance, yoga, and participate in live workouts that served as physical therapy (literally and figuratively). This has soothed my anxiety and allowed me to nurture myself. Enabling me to release frustrations, worries and once again feel good mind, body, and spirit. This is the perfect way to self-nurture and love on myself so I could fill my cup and pour from it after, not the other way around. The pandemic brought on an emotional roller coaster of feelings and for the first time in my life I decided I am going to feel this, be present, and not try to analyze it or figure it out. Quarantine was a time to be; and feel whatever it was that I felt at that precise moment.

As a mother of adult young ladies I shared information to keep them in the loop so that they were informed but not overwhelmed. It was trying at times to not worry to them when presented moments of utter despair; inundated with so many stories and information with very extreme opinions and “facts.” My brain was always on and sleep was a challenge for me. At 4:00 am daily it seemed to be the magical hour when I finally gave in. Turning off your brain to stop the what-ifs and all the things that could go wrong kept me in an eternal limbo wondering about unnecessary crap. Although I have been quite active; there were moments I felt like utter shit and had to take naps, cry from my soul, and breathe. One cannot nurture or mother anyone if you are not catering to your needs. I cannot save the world on an empty tank outward leaving you depleted and anxious One must start and end my day connected to themselves because you function better for those around you.

Setting boundaries is a major key to allow time and space to breathe and take a moment for me. I learned to put myself back on the calendar so that I could attend to what I needed at that moment. Whether it’s a walk, a shower, a book, or simply to sit in grateful silence and not worry or stress what could be. Understanding fully that I cannot be good for anyone unless I am good to myself. One of the most magical things I am putting into practice is saying no and not giving into obligations to others that result in regret. No need to give explanations. I can simply say no thank you and give myself the time and space I need without feeling the need to answer everyone’s call. Saying no can look like – not answering the phone, declining an invite, or excusing yourself from a conversation in order to honor who you are and what you need. On the flip side I also openly express myself and ask for help when I needed support. This is a work in progress since I felt I was bothering others and maybe should figure it out on my own. This only resulted in frustration and overwhelm which got me nowhere and ended with feeling shitty. Moral of the story is; dig deep and welcome worthiness with open arms. 

Sometimes I wake up and wonder how did we get here? What happened? What’s next? Who do I believe? Where the hell am I? Is this really happening? Other times I’m like fuck it; no to taking a shower, throw in the towel- and call it a nap day. I’ve had some eye opening honest conversations which brought clarity and awareness in many of my relationships. I am more aware of my thoughts, feelings, and actions, and am working on being a better listener. It is beautiful to see people lean on one another and hold space to understand and not judge. Many of us will call 2020 a shit show but I am grateful for the lessons and blessings it has brought my life and those around me. This world is made up of many diverse humans who I wish to connect with and unite regardless of our differences. I wish to ask more and judge less, I want to know more about how someone thinks or feels, what made them have their prospective/ point of view, how we are alike and different, and no matter what, as long as there is mutual respect we can all live and come together as humanitarians and seek more peace. The community showed me that by showing up; they respond in the most loving way.

Being founder of R STARS Project, a non-profit organization that serves deserving high school students who were unable to celebrate prom and graduation; I felt they were robbed from end of the year festivities and wished to celebrate and honor them for all their accomplishments. We planned an online fundraiser to help support each student with their college needs. Each student had different needs from tablets, college registration fees, software, books, and living expenses. For every 1k we raised I posted a dance on social media to thank the donors who made it possible. It was fun and engaging, a great way to connect with our audience. We raised over 6k to get each student what they needed (insert fireworks)! It filled my heart and our students were so very grateful for all the love and support poured into making this possible. Moral of this story; we can figure out a way to make the sweetest lemonade out of less lemons. 

I am grateful for social media in keeping us connected; allowing us to share our journeys good, bad, happy and sad. Many created new things, many lost loved ones, and some gained confidence while others ended relationships. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and events all serving us in one way or another. Time is a precious gift; one which I have taken for granted. This time I am embracing all of me, sunshine and shadows, joy and fear, smiles and frowns, ups and downs because it is all valid. Seeing a silver lining is witnessing people strengthen relationships and purge the ones that no longer served them. Who would have thought 2020 was going to take such an unexpected turn and change our lives? We needed to slow down and pause so that we can do better and be better. Sometimes things have to fall apart to mend into better things ahead. The overall takeaways are: move your body, ask for help, listen, express yourself, respect one another, and always always be grateful for the lessons; and say I am doing my best

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