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My Rebound: Forced to change for the good

Kendra Bylsma and a daughter on swings
Posted at 11:58 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 15:09:46-04

Editor's note: Kendra is blogging about being a mom trying to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. She is married with four kids: a 1-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son, 5-year-old son, 10-year-old daughter and 16-year-old bonus son. She is also the owner and lead fitness coach of Allegro Coaching in Grand Rapids, which she founded in 2009. She lives in Tallmadge Township.

Prior to this quarantine chapter of my life, I always envisioned stay-at-home mothers with superpowers.

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Super patient, super creative, super crafty and super amazing chefs.

During quarantine life, my daily mantra soon became, “Jesus, take the wheel.” Staying at home with small children is probably the hardest job on this planet! Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. But every day, every hour, every scream and every meal? That's a CEO salary for sure!

What started off as two weeks of scheduled school activities and recess breaks quickly plummeted into coasting by. Some days, we rocked out our scheduled Zoom calls with the classroom, playing bingo or learning how to do compound fractions. Other days, we binged Netflix movies and stayed in our pajamas all day. I felt like I was failing as a mom and as a teacher.

But something was happening, despite my lack of structure and goal-setting personality. I was beginning to finally relax and just be present. I can’t tell you how many times I have given a keynote presentation on work-life balance and talked about the concept of fake resting. Yet, I was doing it all the time.

Get this, a typical Sunday afternoon. We are home from church. The kids are relaxing, my husband is sleeping in his recliner and the babies are napping. Me? I’m doing four loads of laundry, catching up on emails and trying to order a round of Shipt, because we have no food in the house. I’m not resting. My family is!

I have never fully rested prior to quarantine. I mean pre-kids and pre-business owner, sure. But it’s legitimate been YEARS. I was a hot mess always pretending I had everything put together.

Weren’t we all.

None of us are perfect. Especially as moms.

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What used to be my personal bias toward stay-at-home moms has gone completely out the window. Their job is not rainbows and sunshine like I used to think. It doesn’t require me to be super patient or super creative. It just requires me to be super present and strangely content. We drove to Hobby Lobby today to just get out of the house, fill our time and find a good deal. I couldn’t believe how happy I felt when I found a handful of cute pictures on clearance for the boys’ room! Nesting is the best. :)

Quarantine has forced me to slow down where I never would have done that on my own. Quarantine has helped me to experience life from another perspective and gain so much respect and understanding that I never would have found on my own. It seems like we could all use a little bit more of that these days, right?

Perhaps this quarantine has been a gift to ALL of us, reminding us of what truly matters in life and what needs to shift in our everyday focus. After all, that’s what work-life balance is all about. It’s not about having it all. It means having it all WORK together.

And perhaps, this time has given you space to figure out who you want to be next and make a shift in this next chapter of life. Either way, being forced to slow down, shut down and stay home will bring something new your way. I hope you embrace it and find joy in the one constant of life: CHANGE.