Okay, let me start by saying that I am incredibly grateful that Lisa and I are safe and healthy and that last week we began seeing patients in the office for the first time in months. It was exciting to be able to make eye contact and see everyone in-person. It was also a thrill to go into the office every day! Don’t get me wrong- I love my family and our pets, I have a comfortable home, several digital streaming services and lots of hobbies. I have a lot to occupy my time and genuinely enjoy the company I keep. But…it’s been a lot of togetherness. Like an “I-can’t-stand-hearing -someone-calling-my-name-I’m-going-to-go-hide-in-the-bathroom” amount of togetherness.
A family I work with laughingly brought up this very thing last week. Both parents said that whenever one of them realizes they need something from the store, they’re quick to volunteer to run the errand. Anything to get out of the house and have a few minutes to themselves.
I mean, you’ve been working, parenting, homeschooling your kids, keeping the household running and probably juggling a whole lot of other competing demands…for MONTHS. You are overworked, may be overwhelmed and are probably over it. You love your family but it may feel like you’ve been doing anything and everything for them every single day.
Maybe you have an amazing spouse who’s got your back and will tag-in if you’re burned out. Even if you’re working together as a team, you may just be tired of how things are. The good news is that the academic year is over (or if it isn’t over for you just yet, you’re in the home stretch)! The not-so-good news is that school is over…so the kids will be home…for the whole summer. Even under normal circumstances, summertime can be a challenge.
Right now, you may be frantically piecing together new summer plans since your original plans fell through due to COVID-19. You may be trying to decide what you and your kids can and can’t do this summer, given social distancing and germ hygiene. I wish I had some amazing advice that would make this easy peasy but I don’t. I’m in the same boat, ladies. But, I want you to know that it’s okay if you’re just done with all of this. It doesn’t mean something bad about you as a mom or a wife or a person.
Most moms I’ve spoken with over the past couple of weeks have “phoned it in”sometimes. I know I have. Even when we care about things, it isn’t feasible for most people to sustain high levels of effort and energy when distressed. We all flame out. It happens. It’s okay to let your family know when you’ve had enough and won’t be showing up as your usual engaged and energetic self. That way, they know it’s not about them but also learn to respect your boundaries. If your kids are old enough and they aren’t participating in planned activities, help them figure out things they enjoy doing at home and then set the expectation that they entertain themselves for a good portion of the day. Most importantly, show yourself some kindness and be patient with yourself- it’ll help you and your family.
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As a reminder, we have an amazing handout for families with information about COVID-19 that you may find helpful when speaking with your kids. Click here to take a look.
Feel free to peruse our blog and see what Sarah and Lisa had to say about topics related to your needs as a busy parent. We will talk about everything from parenting values, to life hacks, to realistic self-care.