By Guest Blogger Ashley McNeill

TMoM has covered many ideas over the past few months to help keep your kids entertained during this time of COVID. But what about mom? While many of us are juggling working from home, kids at home, and the stress of uncertainty, the little bit of downtime we have can be somewhat boring! The usual venues we often visit or escape to might be closed or we might not feel comfortable going out in certain public spaces.

So what’s a mom to do? Come to TMoM for advice, of course!

1. Redecorate a room – You can go all out and purchase new things, or just rearrange the items in your house for a fresh look. Ellen Lloyd blogged about DIY books yesterday, which you can see here. Paint is not too expensive and can make a dramatic difference in a room or on a piece of furniture! Check out these before and after pics from one of our TMoM fans who has enjoyed spending time giving new life to furniture in her home!


2. Plant a garden – Even if it’s just a pot of mint to put in your cocktails. Grow something. Here are some great tips, and here are some DIY book recommendations as well.


3. Exercise – I mean, why not? You don’t have to go run a marathon. But every day, commit yourself to a 30 minute walk. Do counter push ups every time to use the restroom. Do some squats while you’re cooking dinner. Play basketball with your kids. Do SOMETHING. You’ll be glad you did. YouTube has plenty of videos that you can watch on your laptop or TV and try new exercise routines. In addition, many of the local YMCAs are offering virtual and outdoor classes! (We LOVE the lead-in photo from the Robinhood YMCA where they didn’t even let the rain stand in their way of a good time!)


4. Take on a new hobby – It’s never too late to learn something new. Hate cooking? Master ONE dish. YouTube “finger knitting” ideas and make a blanket. Make a batch of soap. Dust the cobwebs off your bike. Try a bunch of different things until you find the one that brings you joy. Don’t forget to check out this list of DIY books that might help you get started. You can even be like our friend, Karen, and decide skydiving is your new hobby!



5. Take a class online – Colleges everywhere offer a wide selection of online classes, for credit or fun. Love American History? Take a class. Want to brush up on your French? Take a class. And thanks to Masterclass, if you’re not looking for credit you can take a class from people who are giants in their field. It’s pretty amazing, all the things you can learn!

6. Read – If you’re not a reader, become one! Get off your phone (after you read this blog, of course), and pick up a book. Reading not only engages your mind, it lowers your stress, expands your worldview, and sets a seriously good example for your children. Check out Ellen’s Book Nook on TMoM for some great suggestions as well as this list for 20 books to read in 2020!


7. Go Hiking – Taking a walk is one of the best ways to clear your mind and soothe your soul. We recently ran this list of nearby waterfalls & trails. If you want something a little less strenuous, check out our parks & walking trails list here or our watering holes directory here. There are paths like Cascades Preserve, Little Walden Nature Trail, and Reynolda Gardens that are simple and fairly short. Choose a new one each week and enjoy some “me time” while soaking up the beautifully scenery!


8. Start a New Netflix Series – Maybe you are sick of sitting on the couch, or maybe you haven’t given yourself that outlet yet. Either way, it might be time to take a load off and dive into a Netflix series! Our TMoM fans shared their favorite things they are watching (and re-watching) on Disney +, Prime, Netflix and Hulu. See if one sparks your interest: Downton Abbey, Queen of the South, Love is Blind, Locke & Key, Blacklist, All American, The Good Place, Last Kingdom, One Day at a Time, Nurse Jackie, You, Schitts Creek, Ozark, Dead to Me, The Good Doctor, Stranger Things, The Haunting of Hill House, Sweet Magnolias, Elementary, 9-1-1, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Sweet Magnolias, Lincoln Rhymes, For Life, Bones, Blackish, Outmatched, Burden of Truth, Swat, All American, Zoo, Warrior Nun, Heartland, Black Lightning, Outer Banks, The Crown, Reign, The Tudors, Bloodline, Disney’s Imagineering, Little Fires Everywhere, Virgin River, When Calls the Heart, and Handmaid’s Tale.


9. Spend Time on the Water – Visit a local lake, creek or river. Go tubing. Rent kayaks. Rent a boat. Any and all of these will be the perfect way to escape for a bit. A few recommendations of places we know are renting now: Zaloo’s Canoes, Yadkin Memorial Park, and Carolina Marina.


10. Record Your Memories – Anyone else have a baby book still unfinished from 10 years ago? Now is a great time to pull it back out and even get help from your children to complete it! Or why not start a scrapbook or photobook from your last vacation? You know how there is never enough time to get holiday cards in the mail? Start now! You’ve got your whole family at home for a photo! Lastly, why not start journaling? It will be a great reminder to look back on these days once we’ve gotten through it and be thankful for our blessings!


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