Parenting in the Time of COVID-19
This is an open letter to all the parents out there who are struggling to find a healthy balance between working from home and homeschooling your young ones. As a mother of two elementary age girls, I am here to tell you that I am with you, I too am struggling most days to find my peace of mind as we work to find balance in our home. You may be feeling overwhelmed and saddened by the pressures of quarantine, you may be feeling under appreciated as you fight the clock to accomplish days of work in 24 hours, you may be feeling exhausted beyond understanding or you may even begin to spiral into feelings of hopelessness and ineffectiveness. I’m here to let you know that those feelings are absolutely normal, to let you know that your feelings are valid, that your struggle is real and while you may not be fighting on the frontlines of this battle, your feelings matter.
Take that in, let it settle around you as you acknowledge the things in your life that have changed, the things in your children’s lives that have changed. Sit with the uncomfortableness of what you may have lost, give voice to your feelings as you navigate these emotionally turbulent times and remember to offer the same support to your young ones who are also coping with the changes that have been thrust on them.
While you are thinking about the things that have changed, I would also challenge you to consider that, while difficult, change is not our enemy and can bring with it welcome relief. What ways has your life changed for the better since the pandemic reached our door? I understand that we may fight the urge to find positivity in this situation, it may even feel wrong to admit that, hey, I like not having to fight traffic daily, I like being able to see my kids and I might even like the pause that this virus has placed on my life. In fact, most of us rush through our day forgetting to hit pause, to look around and live in the moment, and if you can accept it, you may be able to see this as an opportunity to enjoy the pause. I understand that you might be feeling guilty to admit that you have do have silver linings when faced with the reality that so many others are struggling with death, loss of income, food insecurity or long work hours. Please remember, this is not a competition to see who is struggling harder, we are all struggling in our own way and we all deserve to have our feelings validated, whatever they may be.
So, if you are asking yourself, what can I do to find my balance in this difficult time, here are a few things to consider:
Acknowledge that your feelings matter and set aside the notion that because others are suffering more that you do not have a right to your feelings. You do.
Find your silver lining, reflect on what you are enjoying and use this positivity to energize you.
Take Me Time. Parents, I know that this is almost an oxymoron, but you can take time for yourself. Remember that an empty pitcher cannot fill a glass, you have to fill your own pitcher if you expect to continue pouring into your family.
Schedule your day, own your time and be proactive rather than reactive. By providing your day with structure you are giving yourself the gift of a sense of control over your life. You will feel better prepared to tackle the day. Remember to give yourself and your children much needed built in breaks. We all need some down time and trying to give 100% effort 100% of the time will only leave you feeling overwhelmed and ineffectual.
I hope that this short list can help you start the process of healing and I wish you all peace of mind and good health as we enter the next phase of our quarantine lives. Please, be kind to yourself, you’ve got this!