Three Tips to Appreciating the “New Normal”


Remember the days of the pandemic when uncertainty seemed like the only constant? The term New Normal seemed to be a key in life and finding stability was like unlocking a door. As a Mom and support parent for three children of very different ages, while working with people full-time, I find negative stress is real. Every phase of parenting has its needs and its strengths. But, when Mom enters the house to see the dishes piling up, rushes to help the preteen pack suppers to-go with multiple bags on her shoulders, drives to archery lessons with a tired baby, and the eight-year-old mentions missed assignments in a ten-minute period…life is hard. This new normal is hard.

Google defines the New Normal as “a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected”. Reading this meaning, one could think- “how is this a thing?” I mean, every Mom juggles so much in her life; we try our best with routine, but that ebbs and flows. How can we appreciate life while running through the chaos? 

Adjusting to the New Normal 

Capture the Candids

When I hear the word “candid”, I think of Kodak films. Candid life moments are those natural or spontaneous instances that happen in life. For our kids, there is an art of free-flowing opportunities without a screen that makes an impact. Finding times in the day that we can allow open conversation or a laugh from a “knock-knock” joke is so valuable. In our home, we find that those come most frequently during transition times; especially, drives in the car, while working on sitting to eat, daily hygiene assistance times (brushing teeth or changing into clothes for the day), or just before bed.

Recenter YOUR Priorities

There are books written on time management on priorities for so many reasons. With that said, most of them do not include each of our life needs or assume that we have a baseline of what is “needed”. While we may see what needs to be done, creating a path for that is the ultimate element of juggling. Have conversations about what needs to be done, delegate what tasks could be done by someone, and (most importantly) do not be afraid to postpone some wants.

Learn to Exist, Yet Be Present

Personally, one of the hardest parts about parenting continues to be overstimulation. Whether that be from the general hustle, many sounds, or feelings (physical and emotional…after all, I have a preteen in our home), I tend to be on edge or the verge of frustration very frequently. Grounding activities or completely walking away have been very beneficial; however, can also be hurtful to those who do not understand the Mom-Overload.

Learning to block out some of the things that put me over the edge has been key. While my body may be present, I am focusing on another need and blocking out things. The best example of this is always at the dinner table; when no one wants to eat the meal I prepared, I focus on finishing my meal first, then helping with the discussion and plans to ensure everyone gets enough to eat. As long as there are not any physically aggressive behaviors that need to be supported instantly, postponing and forming a response allows me to care for ME. This allows me to have better feedback and responses.

Maybe living in the New Normal isn’t so new…as much as it is an exciting sense of success, knowing we are doing our best, and giving kids tidbits of life skills along the way.

parenting changes

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Melanie Bange
By day, Melanie works full time in the fields of education, social service, and juvenile justice. By night, Melanie is a partner (Wes), mother to an infant (Otis), support parent to two a teenager and elementary schooler (Maddie and Wesley), and suburban farmer (4 chickens) among other roles. Growing up as a Navy Brat with family from Northern Louisiana, Melanie created roots in Central Ohio based on access to travel, diversity, and Midwest honesty. Melanie prides herself on enjoying local businesses, finding low cost family opportunities, and prioritizing self-care. On a weekend, you may find Melanie at a Farmer's Market, museum, coffee shop, restaurant, trying out a new recipe, or traveling on a day trip away from Central Ohio. A typical date night for Melanie includes riding on the back of a Victory motorcycle, exploring a record shop, or attending a concert. Melanie and family love to kayak, hike, shop, explore museum exhibits, play board games (especially Sleeping Queens), paint, and dabble in "try nights" (trying a variety of junk food after eating a nutritious meal). Follow along with Melanie and the family's adventures on Instagram at ohiogirl.travelingworld


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