They say it takes a village to raise a child. Parenting requires support. As humans, we are social creatures. However, in the midst of this pandemic, it is hard to get a break and utilize support networks in ways that helped us in the past.
No, let me correct that, this is more than “hard.” Parenting during this pandemic sometimes feels impossible, especially when we are cut off from our support networks. A lot of us are suddenly wearing a lot of hats all at the same time: parent, teacher, spouse, cook, employee, maid, etc.
This is not sustainable. Nor should it be. And that’s okay. This is a pandemic. This is not normal. It’s okay to not be okay. We need to acknowledge that this is our first pandemic. And like most first times, it’s hard because we don’t know what to expect and we are just trying to figure things out.
Most parents I talk to share similar experiences of exhaustion and not enough time in the day to get everything done.
Here are three things that won’t take a lot of time that might help you right now:
1. Give Grace
Give yourself grace.
You cannot wear all of your hats at the same time and excel at all of them. And that’s okay. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Every day will not be good, but there is something good in every day. Try to focus on the small things that are good.
Give your kids (and partner) grace, too.
Give them kindness, love and mercy even when you feel they “deserve” something else.
Try to look beyond behaviors during this time and focus on connection. Let go of some of your previous parenting techniques or goals. Just as we adjust our parenting expectations to match evolving development, we need to adjust our parenting expectations to match our evolving environment.
Changing the way we talk about ourselves and our situation can have a significant impact on our mental well-being. Negative or catastrophic thinking can significantly impact our mental health and ability to focus. However, focusing on positives and reframining how we view a situation can improve our mood and energy.
For example try saying:
- “Safe at home” instead of “stuck at home
- “At home trying to work” instead of “working at home”
- “Connection Seeking” instead of “attention seeking”
- “I’m doing the best I can” instead of ” I’m failing” or “I’m drowning”
- “Physical distancing” instead of “social distancing”
3. Find Support
You are not alone. I encourage you to be authentic about your experiences. Reach out to friends and family. Utilize the many unique ways to stay connected with others. Consider professional support.