Silver Linings for the Pandemic Parent
The Pandemic is not all doom and gloom for stressed-out parents
It’s Monday morning, you’ve barely had your first cup of coffee, the kitchen is a mess, your child is crying in the next room and you have 50+ unread emails to get through. On top of all that, the grocery list is piling up and you barely have time to go to the store because your meetings run back to back all day today. If you’re familiar with this scenario and the varying stresses of working from home while raising a family, you’re not alone.
Being a parent during a global pandemic has proved to be emotionally, mentally and physically taxing in the past year, but moms seem to have it particularly hard. In South Africa, 40% of mothers are raising their kids on their own, this according to a study by global research. Even two-parent households have moms struggling. The modern woman already had problems juggling work, home and self-care duties, but the coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated the problems of managing a household.
This can obviously feel overwhelming because any change is difficult. But no matter how much we try to control the virus, this transition seems to have permanently altered the way we live. If we’re to get used to it, it’s important to consider the silver linings of living in a world where home and work are irrevocably blurred.
In the past, working moms often suffered from ‘mom guilt’. They felt that working too much kept them from enjoying important moments in their children’s lives. However, the current pandemic has done more than just let us be there for first steps or first swimming lessons; It has essentially tested the strength of our relationships with our children and our spouses. Children learn to deal with conflict in different places, including at school amongst other children. Now that we have more time to spend at home, there are so many valuable ways we can teach our children to deal with negative emotions. Teaching them that it’s okay to be vulnerable, validating their feelings and giving them problem solving techniques to manage stress is not only key to a healthier child, but is vital to a fruitful relationship.
A chance to get more creative and adventurous
Children are often at their optimum when they’re able to tap into their creative and adventurous energies and because recreational and entertainment spaces were closed during lockdown, a lot of us have had to find new ways to enjoy our leisure time. Mother of two and broadcaster, Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, turned her garage into an art room for her children to get creative in. Encourage them to do more arts and crafts by helping them build anything from a jewellery box to a treehouse. Consider taking them for those piano lessons you postponed a while ago. Give your child a chance to grow and learn something new about themself during this pandemic.
Although this may seem unlikely because you’re at home a lot tending to them, your kids can get a chance to be more independent at home. Depending on their age, your child can be the one to learn how to clean up their toys, store away their clothes from the laundry, make their favourite meal or bathe and dress themselves. A more independent child is a more confident child. Giving your child more chances to do things for themselves means they become more self-reliant in the home and outside the home when they eventually go visit extended family or friends. Also, as your child becomes more independent, your me-time also increases.
While we’ve all heard the anecdotes about moms and dads drowning in parental and work duties during the pandemic, we also know that it’s not all gloom and doom and that there are silver linings. Tension and difficulties at home right now are a chance for us to learn how to be problem-solvers together. It can also reveal that we’re more fun than we think we are and that we can adapt to change in productive and beautiful ways.