Yeah, You, trying to parent in 2020:
Be kind to yourself!
Written by Michelle Molle-Krowiak, LCSW, Ed.S.
Parenting in 2020 is a challenge like no other. Looking back, it is odd to think that the typical chaos of December and January were simpler times compared to what are handling now. Over the past few months children and families have been exhausted. So many are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression as a byproduct of this new world. It has been a long Spring filled with unprecedented challenges and it seems that there are still many more challenges to come as we transition into Fall.
One of these unique to 2020 challenges is deciding whether to send our children back to school this Fall. There are many perspectives circulating about what the best option is. But the truth is, this is a really complicated issue, there is no one right answer, and we are all just trying to do our best.
At the end of the day, every parent must make a decision that they feel comfortable with for their family. Some parents may prefer and be able to keep their children home, while others may feel that sending their children back to school is the best option.
Both choices are valid.
Both choices will present their own challenges.
Both parents love their children and are just trying to do their best.
During these difficult times, we need to come together as a community to support one another. We must do this without extending judgement to those who make a different choice than ourselves. Each family is weighing their options, sometimes without even being sure what options will be provided by their school district. Families are contemplating the potential costs and benefits of sending their kids to school or keeping them home. They are doing so with consideration for their financial circumstances, their child’s social and educational needs, childcare, work schedules, and a variety of other impacting factors. We may not know the struggles others are facing, and they may not know ours. Having to make these decisions can cause stress, anxiety, and guilt. It is just one more thing you have to worry about – as if life wasn’t already complicated enough!
This is not easy for anyone.
Here at PEC, we have each chosen to dedicate ourselves to supporting you and holding space with you as you navigate these challenges. It is our honored role to do so, and we want each of you to know that we are here for you.
We see you.
We hear you.
We will get through this together.
Moving forward, give yourself some credit. While life may feel disorganized and unpredictable, you have risen to the challenge. Even if you don’t feel like a hero, you have done something incredible and you need to allow yourself to be proud of the small feats. Life is not ‘normal’ right now, so you need to adjust the expectations you put on yourself and consider what is realistic for you in light of the current circumstances.
Don’t be so hard on yourself!
In fact, spend some time celebrating your small victories.
You deserve it.
Today, I challenge you to take some time to care for yourself. Here are 3 key points to help organize your body, mind, and soul:
Spread Kindness. Spreading kindness fills your emotional bucket as well as others. Sometimes a simple smile or a kind word can change someone’s day. Most of all, be kind to yourself. Take a moment to reflect on a challenge you have overcome and allow yourself to proud of it. Practice kindness by spending some time today doing something that you enjoy – something that brings you peace or happiness. A little bit of positivity can go a long way.
Find Your Calm. Take a moment to breathe. Throughout the day you may experience frustration, anger, anxiety, or controversy. Sometimes reacting based on our emotions does more harm than good. Try to be mindful of your experience and shift from the emotional reaction to a more purposeful response. Our breath is powerful. It empowers us to choose responses that are more constructive and healthier. Through this, we practice kindness and demonstrate respect for others and our own mental health.
Take Control by Letting Go. At this moment in time, it can feel like life is happening to you without your permission. There are so many things that we cannot control, and for those us who are anxious by nature, that can feel terrifying. Sometimes we feel like we need to be on top of everything or something will certainly go wrong. The truth is, we are not very good multitaskers and when we try to do this, we spread ourselves too thin. Take a moment to think about all the things weighing on your mind. Now choose one to put aside for now. Give yourself a little relief and know that it is OK to not be able to do it all. Ultimately, you are in control of your own life, thoughts, choices, and emotions. Sometimes we have to be reminded to let go of the things we cannot control or change in that moment. We must allow ourselves to find some relief.
Through practicing these 3 key points, you will find you are creating the power within you to make a difference for yourself and others.
From all of us here at PEC, we wish you a restorative summer of healing and some relief from the difficulties of life.