5 Lessons I’ve Learned This Year

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This pandemic has impacted us in so many different ways. Everyone’s situation is unique and we’re all on a continuous journey through uncharted waters. Yet we’re all drawn together by a common thread: motherhood. As we approach the end of 2020 filled with more uncertainty (and anxiety), I find myself leaning on other moms for support and encouragement and trying to give back the same.

5 Lessons I’ve Learned This Year Vanessa Santamaria Contributor Miami Mom Collective
Enjoying a socially distanced outing at Lion Country Safari.

We’ve seen our friends and family become ill (some have even lost loved ones to this pandemic), been separated from those closest to them, lose their jobs or be furloughed, pull out all the stops in order to entertain kids, planned more staycations than ever before, become homeschool parents and adjust to a virtual school platform — all while a few more gray hairs creep in. 2020 is no joke.

But we’re resilient. We’re fierce, we’re driven, we’re passionate. We’re supermoms, right?! We got this! Despite all the craziness this year has thrown our way, I’m doing my best to focus on the positive.

Here are five lessons that I’ve learned this year:

Family time means everything to me.

This year we have spent more time together than ever. Our family has taken this quarantine pretty seriously, so we’ve been socially distancing together at home, making the most of our time together. Although it’s true that I’m also working harder because my kids are with me 24/7 and I’m doing all the things, it’s also been nice to watch movies, play board games, swim, do arts and crafts, go for a walk, and just enjoy each other’s company. This is one of the things we will remember most.

5 Lessons I’ve Learned This Year Vanessa Santamaria Contributor Miami Mom Collective

I was reminded that I can do HARD things.

All we want is what’s best for our family. And for us, this has meant continuing on with virtual school as we enter this school year. When my kids were sent home from school in March, I had no idea what to expect or how we would juggle everything. It was overwhelming, stressful, and challenging. The school wasn’t prepared, and neither were we as parents. I never would have thought that I could run a business, maintain a household, raise two kids, and manage virtual school all at once. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve surprised even myself with everything I’ve been able to juggle while still keeping some semblance of my sanity. I’ve often stopped to remind myself that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

I’ve learned not to take our health for granted.

Our health is a top priority. I’ve watched my loved ones taking precautions and had close calls when we thought my daughter may have had Covid. Weeks later, she’s still recovering, but we were told it wasn’t Covid. My friends have lost parents and grandparents to this pandemic. My mother-in-law had open-heart surgery in the midst of this. She spent nine days in the hospital by herself before she was sent home. My father-in-law suffered a stroke. Life is fragile. Without our health, we cannot care for ourselves, each other, and our families.

I was given opportunities to be creative.

This was truly a gift that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. When the pandemic hit, my business was turned upside down. My work has been focused on the travel and tourism and health and medical industries, both of which were greatly impacted in very different ways. Most of my ongoing projects were delayed or canceled. I took a step back and began thinking about what I could do to keep my business afloat. I had no choice but to be innovative. That allowed me to think outside the box, pivot, and create new products and services that would serve my client base. After a few months of blood, sweat, and tears, I’m getting ready to launch some exciting new offerings and I wouldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for Covid.

My heart has grown even more grateful.

I don’t take things for granted. I’ve realized that the little things in life are often the big things because they’re what matters most. This gift of gratefulness has brought me much peace during the past few months. I’m ever so grateful for our teachers, frontline workers and so many others who make our lives better every day.

These days I find myself focusing on the silver linings around me. A hug from my daughter and a walk outside enjoying nature. Calming bird sounds, a conversation with a friend, and a sweet treat. The warmth of the sun on my face as I float in the pool. No matter how your experience with Covid has been, I think we can all agree on one thing: 2020 is a year we won’t ever forget!

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