What I Have Learned From The “New Normal”

Life looks different for us today than it did a year ago, two years ago, and even three years ago.  I’ve never liked the phrase, “the new normal.” As a mom who typically avoids change, ‘new normal’ was not something I wanted to get used to. I do not like change. Period. However, that is the one sure thing in life, right? Change. This tends to happen just as we are finding our grooves. I know it did for me. I was in my groove; work was flowing, mom-life was rewarding, and I was training for my first half marathon. I felt like I finally had this thing down {whatever ‘thing’ I thought it was}.

It only took a pandemic, the shutting down of my local YMCA, and preschool to send me hurdling into tears of disbelief, anger, confusion, fear, and even claustrophobia. Is this really happening? How is this happening? What does this mean for my husband, a frontline healthcare provider? What does this mean for us as a family? Am I really stuck in the house, by myself, with our 2.5-year-old while my husband risks being infected and bringing home a virus that we know very little about? Walls were closing in and I began to panic.

My version of normal was gone forever. 

normalMany of you can relate. Many of you had your versions of normal shattered in different ways. Maybe you used that time to spend quality family time together. Maybe you were by yourself trying to keep your head above water. Maybe you lost your main source of income. Maybe you lost a loved one.

While I cannot relate to all of these circumstances, I do know that we have all been shaken and rattled out of our seemingly normal lives into a new normal in one way or another. 

When I was able to come to grips with reality, one of the things that pulled at my heart as a Mother was how this current status of life was going to affect my daughter. I wanted so desperately to give her the best. I wanted her to experience life; find joy and laughter in the ability to go to a park, to school, and to make friends. She would only be young once and I didn’t want these pieces of her childhood stolen from her.

Then I was reminded; normal is an illusion based on past experiences.

This was her normal and she was looking to me to help facilitate that joyful, fun childhood I so desperately wanted her to have.  

Moving forward, I’ve had to let go of upholding a certain kind of normal for our daughter that I thought she needed. We didn’t have to be on the go all the time. It was ok if we weren’t going to the local YMCA or play place on a weekly basis. Instead, I realized that it was more important that we upheld our family values and morals and find a way to weave them into our new world. Our daughter would not know life before the pandemic. She will only remember life since then.

I wanted to show her that life was still fun and still beautiful. I wanted to teach her the things that stay the same; kindness, respect, understanding, compassion, love, and gratefulness. Learning things like, being still, calm, and peaceful were just as important and something we were lacking pre-pandemic. I realized that it was my responsibility to facilitate the kind of childhood I wanted her to have, despite current events. So, I got creative and we did more crafts, baking, did yoga together, changed my attitude and outlook on life, spent more time outside, and turned off the news. 

I am more resilient today than I was two years ago. I have learned to adjust, adapt, persevere, and cope in ways that I never prepared for. My hope is that I have taught our daughter the same, along with giving her memories of her childhood worth smiling back on. Life is different today than two years ago, but it doesn’t have to be worse.

It can be better as we move forward, learning from the past and teaching for the future – together in our new normal. 

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Hi! I'm Cassie Butters and I am an Occupational Therapist, run my own health and wellness business, while juggling all things 'mom.' On various days you can catch me running, crafting with my kiddo, exploring the great outdoors, helping others with their wellness goals, or writing on wellness and mom life. While I don't punch in a "full-time" work schedule; running a business, treating clients, and being a mom keep me well occupied! My husband and I are natives to the Mitten State and we reside in Jackson, Michigan with our fun-loving, 4-year-old daughter and our fur-baby; Lambeau. I'm so excited to be a part of this amazing group and having the opportunity to share motherhood and adventures in Mid-Michigan with all of you!