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Relax? In a Pandemic? What’s a Mom to Do?

August 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Nina Washington, MD, MPH 

As much as we all would like it to go away, it seems the Coronavirus pandemic, at least for the foreseeable future, is here to stay. When the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020 and the world subsequently came to a screeching halt, it was hard to imagine that 5 months later, we’d still be living a life of social distancing, face-mask wearing and incessant hand washing and sanitizing.  Yet, here we are.

Now, with schools re-opening in some states and charged discussions over home schooling versus virtual programming versus returning to brick and mortar buildings in others, it’s very likely that moms across the country are more stressed and overwhelmed than ever.

With so many decisions to make and the health of her children and household on the line, how is a mom to relax in perhaps the greatest pandemic in history?

I’m glad you asked. Here are 3 not so obvious activities that are sure to give you a moment of respite and reprieve in a time where everything seems to be turned upside down. 

Fend for Yourself Night! 

“I LOVE being asked ‘What’s for dinner?’“ said no mom anywhere on earth! In fact, this was the question my own mother most loathed! For any adult, deciding what’s for dinner can often be a self-ruminating, mind numbing task. Now imagine being asked that question every night! It’s enough to make any mother a little overwhelmed; and let’s be honest, slightly annoyed.

Enter, “Fend for Yourself Night”! A night where children “fend” for themselves when it comes to the age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” Now of course this doesn’t mean caution is thrown to the wind and children are left “begging for their supper.” Instead, age-appropriate children begin the valuable life skill of learning their way around the kitchen. Grade school children? Easy! PBJ’s, fruit, and air-popped popcorn! Teenagers? Even better! Breakfast for dinner! Scramble an egg, make toast in the toaster, and turkey bacon on the side! Toddlers? Sorry, mom they’re not capable of fending yet! 

Podcast, podcast! Take me away!

Whether for entertainment, self-help, pop culture round ups, or (sigh) more news, there is a podcast to suit your fancy! Ranging from 25 – 60 minutes, a podcast is a great way to escape from a world where so much is transpiring. Many podcasts have seasons and accompanying episodes which will allow you to regularly treat yourself to an escape. There’s no greater feeling of listening to and completing a podcast while you’ve washed the dishes, folded a basket of laundry, or heck, simply sat on your couch or in your favorite chair absorbing every single minute. Podcasts are equally indulgent because they are often listened to with headphones. Since no one else knows what you’re listening to, there are no spoilers from those who’ve already listened, no questions from those who haven’t listened to the previous episodes or can’t keep up with the current one, and no groans when you decide to rewind and listen to that juicy tidbit one more time. The podcast is your secret entertainment and your 30 to 60-minute opportunity to unwind.


Nope. That’s not a typo. Every now and then the best way to relax is to do absolutely NOTHING! Leave the clothes in the basket, the floors can be mopped later in the week (or better yet, have someone else mop them), and life won’t end if the bed goes unmade.

With work weeks blending into weekends, kitchens becoming home offices, and everyday tasks like going to the grocery store resembling preparing for battle, doing nothing is a great way to reset. Take a day to play in the back yard, have a movie marathon with homemade popcorn, eat cold pizza for breakfast and (remember “fend for yourself” night?) breakfast for dinner.

The world will not end. The weight from your shoulders will be lifted and you’ll be prepared to start all over again tomorrow.

Let’s face it. Moms are the superheroes of the home – especially during this difficult time. Relax. Take a load off. You need it and you’ll be better for it.

About the Author

Nina T Washington, MD, MPH is a double board-certified pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist. In June 2019, after practicing in her home state of Mississippi for 6 years, she decided to take a sabbatical and travel the world. She’s traveled to over 11 countries and currently resides in Split, Croatia.


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The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.