This article was written by Lorraine Wilde.
Since COVID-19 changed all of our lives, working moms around the world have found new ways to be even more flexible and creative as they juggle working from home, managing teams remotely, coaching children through remote learning with a host of other daily challenges. The stresses of navigating our new lives will continue to tax our well-being. Mother of three and Owner Agent Nancy Leavitt of American Family Insurance is no exception. But she remains upbeat and hopeful because she’s been able to frame her mindset to help keep work, school, and life on track despite the chaos.
Leavitt has owned and operated her own insurance agency in Bellingham, WA for more than 11 years. “The year 2020 has been perhaps the greatest challenge of my life so far,” explains Leavitt. Her brother, Jeremy, passed away in April when his leukemia returned. Jeremy and their family chose to forgo additional treatment alone in the hospital. Instead, Jeremy moved in with Leavitt’s sister so that he could spend his last days surrounded by family.
But there were even more challenges. “My husband, Nathan, is following his dream, building a new home as a stepping stone for a future construction business,” explains Leavitt. “We bought the property in March, broke ground in June, and it should be built by Thanksgiving.” Then in September, Leavitt’s mother, who lives with her, was also rediagnosed with cancer.
Leavitt says her family refuses to be paralyzed by the curve balls the world is throwing their way. “You can’t let life just stop. We’re all doing a delicate dance, balancing our emotional health, taking calculated risks, wearing masks, and social distancing,” adds Leavitt.
Here are just a few tips that have helped Leavitt keep on keeping on. Perhaps they’ll help you, too, as we move forward in this time of unprecedented uncertainty.
Remember That Change is Constant
Change is one of the few things we can count on in the days ahead. But no matter your situation, whatever you’re doing now is likely to change—whether that’s tomorrow, next week, next year, or beyond. “Illness in our family and this pandemic has made us take a step back and realize how grateful we are for what we have,” muses Leavitt.
Enough is Enough: Let Go of Perfection
When schools closed in Spring 2020, Leavitt’s plate felt too full. Her three daughters, now eleven, six, and four are currently attending two different schools in person. “I felt like I was failing at being my kid’s teacher, a mom, a business owner, a wife, and friend because it was all just too much,” remembers Leavitt. “But then I realized that some things will just have to wait until next year. And that will be okay. It has to be.”
Leavitt says that a shift in mindset has helped her push through when things feel hard. “We’re remembering to give ourselves and others grace. We’re focusing on our emotional and physical health and trying not to worry too much about the rest. And it seems to be working because the kids are doing just fine.”
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Giving yourself grace also means allowing yourself to ask for help when you need it. Leavitt’s family has pulled together, to care for Jeremy and her mother, and also in supporting each other in the care of their children. “My siblings and I are strengthening our relationships and trying to be there for each other as a family,” notes Leavitt. “We’re making those phone calls and slowing down to make that time for each other. And my staff—they are stepping up and just being heroes right now.”
Help Others Through Your Business
Leavitt’s Quotes for Community campaign donates $2 for each insurance quote request to a different local charity chosen by her employees each month. Though small, these efforts have introduced and endeared her to her community and made a tangible, memorable difference in people’s lives. It has also helped her employees stay motivated and connected with others, despite not getting together in person.
No matter what surprises the future holds for us, we must remember that change is the new normal. We must take care of ourselves and our families so that we can be resilient in the face of unpredictability. “We have to mitigate and just keep moving forward,” adds Leavitt.” This is the world we live in now, and probably will for some time. But we can do it. We will do it. We have to.”
Lorraine Wilde owns the public relations and content creation company, Wilde World Communications. She has published more than 250 articles and blogs on a range of subjects over the past two decades. When she isn’t, you’ll find her outside with her twin sons, gardening or walking her dogs, hiking and paddling in the great Pacific Northwest.