Parents everywhere are reporting that they are feeling beyond burned out. We are not meant to be parenting in isolation. It is challenging to be on all the time, keep up with work and other household chores, and be our children’s only companions. We need other adults. What I would give to schedule a playdate or talk to another parent at the playground. Our kids miss it too. My daughter recently started reminiscing, “Mom, do you remember the times before everyone got sick and I used to play with my friends and we got to see my cousins and we didn’t have to get our food to go?” It breaks my heart. I miss seeing her play with other children as much as I miss seeing friends and coworkers.
Though it does seem like things are starting to get better in some places and the vaccine is being administered, projections still show that we may be in for a long ride. So, what can we do about it? How do we keep ourselves connected while maintaining safety and advised protocols? How do we strengthen our villages when we can’t physically be together? How do we find better balance for ourselves and our families? How do our children maintain social relationships?
- Give yourself something to look forward to on a regular basis. Date night. Book club. Plan some solo time.
- Make a calendar with your partner to help balance jobs around the house and block time for self care for both of you too. You both probably need time solo and together.
- Set boundaries for your family of what you deem safe. Is there another family that has the same boundaries that you trust to be part of your quaranteam? Perhaps with children similar ages to your own so that they are able to play together? Dr. Chelsea Towler Campbell and Dr. Joey Tadie wrote a great article about this you can read here.
- Gather your parent friends. Make a facebook group or host a virtual hangout. Find a way to connect so that you are not feeling isolated. Can you meet at a park for coffee social distance style? Text, call, check in. Drop off a care package with a note letting you know that you see them? Thank them and give a shout out to all the things that they are doing. Sometimes all we need is some recognition and someone to say thank you!
- Change it up-trade recipes, new hiking trails or open spaces you love, and parenting tricks for how you are making it through this with friends and family.
- Be honest with how you are feeling. Talk to your partner or a close friend. Make it a priority to have a go to person if you are needing more mental health support. It is okay to not be okay right now. We are living through an incredibly challenging time.
I see you. This is hard. This is not okay. We are having to make decisions and choices and are being put in situations that we did not plan for or prepare for. You are doing a good job. Be kind to yourself. Meet others with empathy. Find your village to the best of your ability. You are not alone.