Stuck in Survival Mode

Stuck in Survival Mode

When I think about last summer, I get a little sad. We had daily playdates, spent hours with friends and family, and enjoyed parties and BBQs. In hindsight, it seemed so magical. I was so excited for this summer, anticipating how much more my kids would enjoy it, being a year older. Instead, we’ve spent most of it cooped with too much TV time and missing our friends.

We’ve all heard the comment before, “Anything goes when you’re in survival mode.” Whether you’ve just had a baby, are sheltering inside from a frigid winter, or enduring quarantine during a pandemic, all parents have found themselves in ‘survival mode’ before.

survival mode

The circumstances of COVID-19 have brought this to a whole other level for me though. At first, I found it suffocating, and crushing--I felt there was nothing I could do to escape it. I decided quickly I wasn’t going to let those same panic feelings come back from the last time I was stuck in survival mode (during my last pregnancy). Instead, I accepted it. I accepted the fact that I was stuck in survival mode, and that it was ok. We’re making it day in and day out. Some days aren’t pretty, they’re downright scary. Other days are straight magic though. I feel myself growing, stretching, and flexing that mom-brain. I’ve had some pretty creative moments come from this situation, and I’ve also had some major meltdowns. It’s all about balance, baby!

Oftentimes we go into survival mode during times of high stress or change--only accomplishing things that are vital (eating, sleeping, and staying alive) just to make it the next day. Usually, we get to this place because of situations out of our control. So I’m not dwelling on things I can’t control. Instead, I’m making the best of it, finding simple ways that can break up the monotony, and brighten our days. Like turning the sprinklers on in the backyard or going on a ‘trip’ to pick up groceries, or even a much needed Diet Coke. We've had picnics in the living room, glow sticks in the bathtub, blanket forts through the house.

What happens when we’re ready to crawl our way out though?

We started out slow, going on walks every day, then venturing to the park occasionally. We now spend several hours at the park each day. Running on the grass, making up games, or playing on the swings are some of the things that have kept our family entertained. We’ve come up with our own dance class which has become a daily ritual, and is highly requested! While it might not compare to our summer last year, and we still spend some of our time cooped up, these few simple activities pulled us out of a rut that felt all-consuming. 

Right now, we’re stuck in survival mode. Our normal has been taken away, and we’re still trying to figure out how to function in our new normal, and that’s ok. I haven’t given up, and I don’t abide by the saying that “everything goes in survival mode”, but I am giving myself self grace. I'm allowing myself to take breaks when I need it, and slowly push forward. I’m doing my best and surviving each day.

The Baby Cubby

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