It’s not just you – this is how so many parents are feeling right now. Here’s a whole heap of reasons why.
1. Endoftermitus is rife right now which makes EVERYTHING a bit more heightened. The children are ready for the school holidays (even if you’re not) which means little things may be getting big (over) reactions from all family members.
2. Restrictions may be easing, but a couple of coffees with a friend and a night out is probably not enough to replenish your resources after the last 18 months. The odds are you’re still running on fumes right now.
3. Your children have had a roller coaster of a year with their education and you and their teachers will be bearing the brunt of that. Big feelings about all that has happened are totally understandable. How those are expressed – often through behaviour which can feel tricky to handle - requires lots of patience and understanding. This is hard to do when you’re already exhausted and running on empty.
4. SELF - ISOLATION – whether you’ve had folks in your house isolating, you’ve been helping other who are isolating or you just live with the dread of it happening this is also taking its toll on many families. Any relief from the pandemic with restrictions lifting has been tempered by the fear of a text at any point and another intense juggle.
5. You’re also living with the impact of a year of fear – we’ve spent over a year being bombarded with fear based messages. Navigating those messages, holding it together for your children and then having to fill all the gaps of what’s missing – teacher, playmate, activity coordinator etc whilst your own support has been cut. This is immense. It comes at a cost and you may be feeling the longer term impact of it right now.
This is before we also factor in any specific needs and challenges of your child or family. It’s no wonder parents are feeling on the edge.
But what can you do which doesn’t require increasing your energy deficit?
1. Get real about what you’re expecting of yourself. Managing your expectations of yourself is hard (I know it’s not just me that finds this one tough) Maybe you have to let some things go right now. Instead of looking at what you haven’t done look at what you’ve accomplished over the last year.
2. Plan in some fun – play isn’t just good for children it’s also vital for adults. What one little step could you take to build in some more fun? This needs to be a priority not an optional extra.
3. Mute those who suck your energy and wellbeing (as much as possible – I’m not talking about ignoring your kids!). Whether it’s the news, people with great intentions or just the shininess of life on social media finding ways to give yourself space from those who drain your energy can help. Sometimes just temporarily snoozing that friend who is “loving life” on social media may be the antidote you need to the pressure to be doing it all.
4. Reconnect with people who uplift you. It does take effort to do this, but it’s an important one – connection has taking a hit over the last year as so many people have had to operate in survival mode. Who uplifts you? What connections are missing?
5. Give it time. We’re still in the midst of a pandemic and its fall out. Recovery takes time and whatever anyone else is doing you will need to find your own ways and pace to move forward. Whether you’re striding ahead or taking one baby step at a time the key is the direction in which you’re moving.
6. Reach out and talk to someone – offloading to someone who really listens can make a huge difference. It may not feel like it changes anything, but it can be like a fog lifting, making the way forward clear and easy.
This last 18 months have been tough on families. Recognising the ongoing impact is really important. With the summer holidays ahead there can feel like a pressure to return to business as usual, but maybe right now it just needs to be just one step at a time for you and your children and one day you’ll look back and see just how far you’ve come.
Most of all I encourage you to be kind to yourself in these challenging times.
I help parents who are struggling with self doubt or wondering what on earth to do to tap into their expertise and find ways to best support their child and nurture their own wellbeing so they can make their family life a more positive and happier experience for the whole family. You can book a free taster chat to find out more at: https://calendly.com/optimumcoaching/appointment-with-julie-cresswell-clone