Due to the recent COVID19 outbreak, many parents are finding themselves working from home. While some parents are used to working from home, many are making the transition and settling into any given comfortable space in their home.
Whether working from home was the norm or a new transition, many parents are also now finding themselves taking on the role of teacher, cook, playmate, lesson planner, and everything else in between for their child(ren) in addition to having to work their job and keep up with daily work demands.
While we as parents may understand that this is the “new normal” and how things have to be for now, it can still be difficult to carry on all the responsibilities that we are used to all at the same time and all in the same location with every member being home all at the same time.
This transition may be difficult, but we can help!
We used to have the luxury of taking a break and going to our favorite coffee shop to get a hot latte that warmed the soul or going to our favorite restaurant and enjoying our favorite meal in the midst of mindful eating. Now? Not so much.
The breaks at the house may not seem as pleasant or appetizing as they once did. Your patience may be wearing thin and you may be singing “Jesus Take the Wheel” more than you ever have before.
Feeling overwhelmed right now IS NORMAL AND VERY MUCH OKAY. You are human. You have needs and you also need breaks. Self-care is important. YOU are important. I can assure you that you are not alone in feeling this way.
Strategies for Coping
So how can one have some semblance of sanity in the midst of this chaos? Here are a few suggestions that might be helpful:
Establish a routine
Not only for your child(ren) but also for yourself. While the routine may not look like it did before, there is some sense of normalcy in having a routine (with time).
Keep taking breaks during the day as you once did
Sure, you may not be able to hit up your favorite spot but you can substitute that time with another activity. Maybe you take a short drive somewhere or take a walk around the neighborhood/house or even take an actual lunch break in a different part of the house. Or maybe you take a few minutes for meditation and deep breathing.
When you can, ask for help
Whether that’s from your partner, nanny/sitter, daycare, or whoever! If you’re partnered, tag team it up. Split up tasks. Ask for what you need and be specific in what you need.
Check in with yourself often
If you need to, reach out to someone you trust and just vent. Whether it’s a family member, your partner, friend, neighbor, therapist, church member, whoever. Let it out.
Make time for a break
My favorite way to do this is setting a slightly earlier bedtime for your kid a couple of times a week. That way, they’re in bed and you’re hopefully taking a hot shower and catching up on your favorite show or just sitting there in silence.
Join your family, friends, co-workers, etc. through a digital coffee date, a Zoom meeting, or Google hangouts. Adulting with other adults is important!
Practice giving yourself grace
Parenting isn’t a competition and we are all in this “new normal” together. How easy is it to understand and validate another’s situation but then get down on ourselves?
Remember, we are human and aren’t perfect, and this includes in the parenting arena. Sometimes Fruit Loops and screen time are exactly what’s needed. Go with it.
Leticia Frazier, Licensed Clinical Social Worker