Juggling work, household chores and your kids can be overwhelming while self isolating during the coronavirus pandemic. Many parents feel heavy, sad or anxious and are living like a radioactive land mine just waiting to go off.
Indeed, there is an actual threat out there, not just an imaginary or potential danger.
“We have deleted many of the joys in our lives and poured on the stresses,” said Morgan Myers, a Lochwood mom of two who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years. “We may have lost our jobs, our income, our kids’ education, our health and support from babysitters and nannies. In our decisions with our kids, we feel a great responsibility, caution and downright fear for their safety. The natural reaction to this kind of state would be fear.”
But there are steps you can take to maintain your sanity.
“As parents, it can be so easy to let this stress impact our relationship with our kids,” Myers said. “Emotions can cloud our judgement, especially when our kids are emotional. The fact that you’re angry or anxious or grieving is not a problem in itself, but it’s important that we pay attention to our own emotions during this time so those emotions don’t escalate with our kids’ emotions. Then we can be present and compassionate parents.”
- Notice your emotions. Reflect on these last six months and see what you’re feeling. Be specific. If you feel mad, is it a sense of injustice? A sense of loss? Frustrated at the futility? If you feel sad, is it grief? Did you lose something you cared about?
- Talk to someone. It’s hard enough to connect with others authentically during a normal season. Now we have added barriers to that connection. Be intentional about your friendships and your relationship with your partner. If you have to, prepare before meeting up with questions, such as: Are you comfortable sitting outside and chatting? Would you prefer masks on or off? Be direct so you’ll feel comfortable when you’re together.
- Connect with your children’s emotions. Remember they’ve lost a lot too — their school year, their friendships, their summer. Remember kids are going to act out when they feel powerless. All emotions are OK. Not all behavior is OK. Acknowledge their emotions so they feel validated. Acknowledging their emotions is not the same thing as condoning their behavior.
- Name it to tame it. When your child is having a big emotion, sometimes simply naming it in a calm tone can tame their behavior. Try, “I can see you’re really disappointed we didn’t get ice cream today” or “You don’t feel like it’s fair that I took the iPad away.”
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.