The Coronavirus has affected many parents’ lives in horrible ways, right down to work-life, their home life, and the lives of their kids. It’s especially hard for single working moms and dads to juggle their work, their families, and, most importantly: their children. Sure, it looks like different situations depending on the mom’s job, how many children they have, and what the support system looks like – but the bottom line is all parents are dealing with added stress.
For instance, nurses and healthcare workers are struggling through long shifts, being sequestered from their families, and sometimes even handling school and life for their kids from different parts of the house or city. On the other hand, some moms are stuck working from home, with nowhere to go, no outlets, and this demands a serious shift in how they manage their work and kids. Parents are cooking more meals than ever as our seemingly convenient lifestyles for nights out, or easy takeout options have all but disappeared.
For some, there have been some unexpected good things to come out of this pandemic. Working parents are getting to spend more (too much?) time with their kids. Parents who are normally balancing communication with kids on busses and commuting in heavy traffic are now either working remotely or laid off and trying to job search, homeschool and teach their kids to be responsible and cook their meals. (Not sure if that’s easier?? But it’s different than it was).
So what can we do?
- Tell yourself you’re 10/10 for making it through hard times: For moms, working ones, especially, it can be hard to remember that you are doing a phenomenal job and succeeding. So make it a part of your routine every day to just give yourself a little boost. Whether it is looking in the mirror and telling yourself you are amazing, treating yourself with a few extra minutes for self-care, or even just taking a deep breathe when the kids and work seem overwhelming. All of that is there to remind you that you are amazing and doing the very best that you can.
- Remember that teaching your kids to survive a pandemic is enough. Just because you are at home with your kids now, it does not mean that you need to master the role of the teacher. Do what you can to help move your kids through the end of the school year. You should know that you are doing enough by helping them get through each day. Try to remind yourself that just helping them live each day without falling apart, and you have done enough.
- Find ways to re-engage your mind: With the uncertaintity of how to handle the shifting work environment, your kids at home, and the uncertainty, it can be really good to get your mind off of it all. It is good for your mind and body to find something to engage in. Whether it is a new exercise routine, a new hobby, a virtual book club, or cooking more, it is all a great way to engage with yourself.
- Create something: Now, for most people, this quarantine has probably given you a lot more free time to fill. And a great way to do so would be to set your mind to creating something, whether it is an arts and crafts project, a new type of food, or finally getting to that DIY project you wanted to do. All of it stimulates your brain and pushes you to do more than just sink into your thoughts. It is healthy to put your mind and body into doing and creating something, and the result will make you pretty happy as well.
If you’re not a parent or don’t have kids at home, consider finding a way to support the people in your circle with virtual or in-person support. As the quarantine lifts and we can move about our communities, many organizations are canceling summer camps and parents find that they will have their kids home full time for even longer. If you know working parents who might be struggling, you could head over to take the kids to the park, or out for a walk, and lift a huge burden from parents’ lives, if even for a few hours.
It is important to remember that, no matter what your situation is, we’re all in this together. Look to help rather than ignore the problem, and if you are a working mom, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help, you might not know who will show up. So we drive on and wash our hands, take care of our families the best we can, try to keep our businesses afloat, and hope that our focus on coming through this is the best way to help your community.
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