By: Christina Melville, MSED, LCPC, NCC, Clinical Therapist at 360 Youth Services
Raise your hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed being a parent during this unprecedented pandemic. Now raise two hands if you feel like you have no CLUE how to handle all of the roles you’ve been thrust into these past few weeks.
You are not alone.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and unsure of how to manage this new reality. I’m guessing you weren’t planning for an event like this, and therefore you didn’t have school lessons and mock schedules and blueprints for how to do your job from home laying around in case a pandemic left you and your family homebound for weeks on end. I certainly didn’t. And it took me two solid weeks of constant trial and error (heavy emphasis on error) to get my bearings. We had an abundance of tears, temper tantrums, sibling fights, technical malfunctions, and breakdowns as we attempted to navigate this new system together. Very few moments were worth capturing for social media.
It’s okay to not have an intricate school system in place yet. It’s okay that your home isn’t running like an in-home daycare. And…it’s okay if it is! (In fact, if you ARE one of the people who immediately had it together two weeks ago, please share your wisdom with the rest of us!)
This is a challenging time for everyone, and I think the most important things to focus on right now are:
1.) Showing Up and
2.) Reaching Out.
All of us want the absolute best for our kids, but that doesn’t mean we need to be all things to them at all times. We also don’t need to do things perfectly. We simply need to show up. This might mean something different to you than it does to me, but the bottom line is that we know our kids best and we know what they need each and every day. We show up when we continue to try – to be present, to be compassionate, to be patient, to be loving. To pick up and try again when things fall apart. To remind your kiddos (and yourself) that you will get through this.
It is NOT easy and I’m sure you’re exhausted. You are not alone. Which leads us to the next point. Please reach out to others around you. Find people you can vent to, exchange ideas with, ask for guidance, and share funny memes with. Don’t be afraid to be honest and vulnerable if you need to process what you’re going through. This is a time where we need community and support more than ever.
You deserve to be cared for and embraced, and to feel heard. Start a group text with friends to check-in, look for places on social media where you can share your experience, or use a messaging app to exchange videos with friends. This is technology’s time to shine as we retreat from in-person socializing. Find the medium that works best for you.
Show up for your people. Reach out to your people. And remember you are not alone in navigating this new path. All the best to you in the coming weeks ahead. We will make it through together!
360 Youth Services in Naperville, IL provides substance use prevention education and counseling for youth and families, as well as housing for youth experiencing homelessness.