We wanted to take a moment to recognize some of the unsung heroes of this pandemic. The parents, children and grandparents. We are all faced with uncertainty for our future, being asked to give up things that we’ve become reliant on to keep us sane at times. Some of us have more of a burden than others but we are all in this together.
Parents are working from home creating make shift offices, being forced to be part time teachers attempting to keep these little minds engaged, and still navigate our own internal dialogue with tact so we don’t create a generation of anxiety riddled adults. Creating new rules and boundaries all while following the guidance of our government. We need to be more gentle with ourselves picking our battles with tact to maintain some sort of balance in our homes. If you run a tight ship now might be the time to let lose a little to give yourselves some breathing room.
Raising children is a tough job having only done it once in this lifetime I can say hats off to those with little ones, teenagers or those navigating accommodating children with special needs. The ones who are whispering about the stress of paying their mortgage/rent or maintaining their income by leaving the house to go to work risking illness. For those who yell a little louder or lose their cool with their partners be gentle with yourself. Take time alone to assess your reasoning and identify how you can address your stressors so you don’t burden the children with adult concerns. Be mindful of open ears when your venting to a friend. Encourage the children to talk about their fears, seek silver linings and lessons in the struggles we are all faced with and let yourself be vulnerable in their presence. That’s right don’t hide those tears because you’ll make them think that being honest about their losses isn’t ok. They need to know that we to have good and bad days, we get sad and we are human just like them.
As a mother of an adult child who has been quarantined for weeks with her middle aged parents I cannot imagine her inner dialogue. But I’ll start at “these people are crazy I can’t believe I’m equal parts of these two nut jobs”. We now realize we’ve raised an adult who understands the concept of rules and which ones are not to be broken. With the ability to entertain herself with all the things she never had time for before. We encourage her growth by commenting on her daily activities. I keep telling her that her quarantine was brought to us by the letter “B” that by the end of this she will be a botanist, barista, baking, bartending, badass, who will have a new toolbox of skills. Her future is 100% up in the air at this point but she has gained time not lost it and we continue to reinforce the benefits of this pause. Time to reflect on where she’s been and where she’s headed. I’m not concerned because she has grown as a person in this experience if anything I’m grateful that life has paused for her to explore other parts of herself before adulthood absorbs her.
These children are being given an opportunity to imagine, play and grow outside internet life. It is our job to help them explore their own imagination they truly can be anything they set their little minds to. We should encourage them to entertain themselves independently this will allow them to form opinions on their dreams and feelings. Giving them guidance for time in the yard to explore making mud patties, time online creating villages maybe teaching them how to build something in real life. Allowing the kitchen to be a little less clean, the laundry to pile up and their personality to shine through their independent self-exploration. We chose to have them let’s take this opportunity to explore them and how the outside world or our busyness has impacted their little minds. Let’s all take time to get to know them in ways we may not have been afforded to prior to the pandemic. Listen to their reasoning closely are they making choices in their day to appease others or are they using critical thinking to form their own ideas?
Then there are the grandparents many spent years raising children awaiting the golden title of grandma or grandpa. This role is one I’ve always looked forward to one which would allow me all the joy with less of the responsibility of raising a young mind. These individuals are missing births, first steps, graduation celebrations for educations they may have helped pay for. Think of having the burden of not only your own health but two generations you helped create on your mind. Grandparents drive us insane at times with the bending of our rules and endless treats but let’s be honest here they also alleviate the burden of parenthood at times. Whether it is after school pick up, a sleepover so we can cram in a date night or they co parent with us they are also worthy of a break. We should take time to appreciate everything they do for us no matter how big or small. Take some time to verbally thank them for their support and acknowledge their worries making suggestions for them to fill their time with a new hobby. Often we get so lost in our own story as adult children we don’t allow them to express their interests or challenges.
The silver lining in all this is that we are all being called to question what our core values are. Who are the people in our lives that we value most, how much effort are we putting into maintaining those relationships and how can we grow as individuals? Let’s put down the devices, loosen the structure and explore each other. I encourage you to explore what the old normal robbed you of and how you will change these things when our new normal is established. We are being given an opportunity to grow together will we answer that call?