Blog Post, My Story

What I’ve Learnt from Self-Isolating as a Single Mum

What if self-isolating during covid-19 were an opportunity for self-growth? Even as a single Mum, I haven’t had this much one on one time with my daughter where we’ve been completely alone, with no one else around, for….. Well, I never have!

She is at the stage where her language has exploded and she loves to practice the art of conversation. All the time 🙂

I generally love it and I find such wisdom in the space of her ‘whys’ and her own explanations and reflections. But I also crave quiet time alone inside my own head. Where I can write, think, unravel and connect. Where I have clear SPACE.

Representative of my internal state at this stage 30mins into our day 😉

Usually I know that the capacity I have to meet her in her frustrations, big feelings, and state of overwhelm directly correlates to the opportunities I’ve had to meet these needs for myself.

To listen to a podcast. To go for a walk. To write. To dive into literature. All of these things ‘give’ to me. These are things that expand my heart, mind, and bandwidth for ‘holding’ of space when my mothering calls for it.

What has been a challenge during this time of isolation, is finding ways to still meet all of those things ‘for me’ everyday, in a way where I am also actively mothering and alongside my child.

Our fear becomes theirs

A few days ago I started to notice my shortened threshold for tolerance. It was a rising sense of frustration. An agitation and irritation and being touched and needed and talked to.

A feeling of overwhelm that I can get ‘nothing’ done. Like I’m just treading water. Eventually you get tired of that, your nervous system can’t take it anymore, and you need to enact an intervention, or you will create a rupture.

The interesting thing about the relationship with our children is that they mirror all of this back to us. We are an interdependent and co-regulating little unit. If she is out of sync, it’s my job to co-regulate and help her nervous system calm and come ‘back online’.

But if I’m out of sync, I can be almost sure she is going to mirror this dysfunction and tension back to me. She’s going to express the tension that I’m repressing.

She will also be TRYING to regulate herself amidst this tension. This is by doing things such as jumping across the couch. Hanging upside down. Throwing things – flinging the uncomfortable energy away from herself. These types of regulation attempts are often things that trigger and push me further into my own cycle of dysregulation.

One way to move her through this tension is to hold space for her tears – but I was not in a place to do that. I was struggling with my own regulation.

So when I’m in this space, I need a circuit breaker. These circuit breakers can shift energy, which can shift perspective, and a shift in our perspective can change our entire experience.

It’s our responsibility to shift the energy

Some things I’ve been doing in these moments where I know I need a circuit breaker for myself:

  • Take a big breath, hold it, and slowly release it. Over and over until I feel calmer.
  • Say ‘freeze’ and freeze in a statue pose. Ask her to copy. Then press her belly button as the ‘reset’ to start again.
  • Start star-jumping.
  • Break out in song or hum to myself.
  • Spin around together then fall on the floor: re-orient ourselves and the world around us.

I’ve been consciously reminding myself to show self-compassion in the same way I would to a friend. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to talk about how challenging I’m finding this moment right now.

If – more like WHEN – I speak in a way that doesn’t align with my values, I know how to ‘repair’ with her.

I know that talking through emotional processing gives her more lessons than maintaining the illusion of ‘perfection’ ever could.

Self-isolating an opportunity for self-growth

As I rub up against discomfort, as I feel the swell of rage within, as my skin feels prickled and pinched with every pull and grab, it feels like energy is being physically ripped out from within me.

And THAT is how apathy is transformed.

That is how ego is humbled.

That is how you meet new parts of yourself.

That is how you call forward the parts that ache to be healed and the passions yearning to be expressed.  

Perspective shifts and a path to consciousness

This is why mothering can be a spiritual practice, a path to consciousness, a stripping back and a (re)discovering of who you are.

I’m feeling into all the ways I can be challenged by experiencing life this way amidst a global epidemic.

How I can remain connected with communities.

How I can use this environment to teach my daughter.

How I can use this as an opportunity for learning about myself.

How I can serve others.

How I can bring greater awareness and gratitude to our seemingly small everyday moments.

It is also a reminder of the fragility of life and the certainty of death.

We are all living as these little organisms within our homes. Connected to each other more than we can understand.

Yet sometimes that does little to guard against that feeling of crushing isolation and loneliness.

Know though, that are thoughts are incredibly powerful. Our words are incredibly powerful. The creation of art is incredibly powerful. The practice of gratitude is incredibly powerful.

Surrendering and letting go

To feel my wholeness I let go of expectations on myself to get the same standard of work done as I usually would.

I let go of all house-cleaning pressures until she was in bed.

I put music on – music that I liked (sorry Wiggles) – and we danced.

I packed up the car and headed to an almost-empty beach.

We collected wild flowers and put them in a vase when we got home.

I felt into the hard moments, not wishing them away but surrendering.

When I’d created this spaciousness within myself, she was able to feel safe and held in releasing her feelings to me. She was able to let go of her feelings.

Two nights ago she had a huge ‘tantrum’ before bed. Crying and flinging herself away from me, screaming at me. I knew – and as I teach in transforming toddler tantrums – this tantrum was purposeful, and I could meet her in the ways that she needed.

As a result, yesterday and today our days have been transformed. We have both had a beautiful energy that has been in synchrony and we’ve both felt much ‘lighter’. I know we’ll cycle back into the hard places again – it’s inevitable.

But this is part of the cyclical nature of our whole human experience more broadly, isn’t it? There can be a type of comfort in knowing everything passes. Let this ignite our passion to soak up as much of this life as we can, knowing that the essence of it all is right in front of us in our everyday, ‘ordinary’ moments.

Trust and Gratitude.

Picking flowers on our beach excursion

If you’d like support, guidance, and connection in your own journeying of consciousness and good-enough-mothering, then check out my SUPPORT program.

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