Sassy’s Blog (#3): Parenting in the Midst of a Pandemic
Welcome to Sassy’s Blog, named for the very astute cat of WRC’s Clinical Director and Resource Coordination Counselor, Kai Qualls, M.A., LPC. The theme of the Blog is Resilience, which is especially timely given our shared uncertainty during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. We hope you will enjoy and benefit from Sassy’s Blog, this month written by fellow member of the Resource Coordination and Counseling team, Rujuta Chincholkar-Mandelia, PhD, M.Ed.
Most of us struggle with parenting during “ordinary” times. I know I do! The pandemic has forced us to parent on autopilot. With schools being online, it is difficult to keep up with my children’s teachers and whether my children are finishing their homework. Our children are sitting in front of the computer all day trying to figure out technological issues and completing schoolwork. They have no after-school activities and very few friends. Siblings are not getting along and are constantly arguing and fighting over trivial things. Social interaction is at a minimal and work is at its maximum. As parents, we are juggling our work responsibilities, housework, and responsibilities towards our children. Perhaps, we are also taking care of the elderly. How are we able to cope with the overwhelming feelings of inadequacies and helplessness?
I hope these techniques are able to help you:
- Be(ing) in the present – One of the most important lessons I have learnt as an adult is that I cannot change what’s coming (future) or what has already happened (past). Our minds are constantly traveling into the past and the future. It might sound very simple, but as adults we have forgotten to be present, truly present in the present moment. As parents, bringing our attention to the present moment allows us to pay full attention to the problem at hand and make a conscious choice to work on it.
- Self-compassion – We have learnt to try and outdo ourselves. That’s awesome! Is it working for us? I have heard many clients say “NO.” When you feel overwhelmed, please take the time to provide some self-compassion. In other words, what would you tell a friend who is struggling? I bet you would say to that friend, “You are doing the best you can” and “I am here for you.” Can you say that to yourself in a moment of struggle? Be a friend to yourself during those moments.
- Let go of the suffering – We all feel pain, however, suffering is a choice. If you are unable to finish a task, instead of criticizing yourself, take a moment, a pause. Process the pain of not completing a task or struggling with your children and then ask yourself, “what did I learn from this?”
As parents we are constantly juggling. By using these techniques, the hope is that we are able to catch the balls without stressing our mind, body and spirit.