By Valerie Groysman
Parenting, even in the best times, is a challenge.
Today’s already sleep deprived parents have been thrown in for another loop, into a climate of uncertainty and uncharted territory.
You may notice that you or your partner are feeling more fearful, irritable or anxious. You may have a harder time parenting together while you are both home caring for your children, managing household responsibilities while you try to work from home, or generally keeping family life “normal” during this time.
You may be experiencing tension and conflict with your partner, particularly if your way of coping is at odds. One of you may be feeling that you want to slow down, hibernate and pull away from normal life. The other has the urge to pretend that nothing is going on and is experiencing the need to keep busy.
Remember that both you and your partner are trying to make yourself feel balanced and secure and both types of approaches are understandable.
The added responsibility of leading little ones through this time, can result in emotions running high. The best thing we can do for our kids though, is to model calm during these turbulent times.
Your children will not remember what you told them, or how you entertained them during this time – they will remember how they felt.
In order to be a calm presence for them, you and your partner must first be calm yourselves, in order to remain a calm, united front. How to accomplish that? Read on.
Here are some tips for working through disagreements with your partner, so you can bring your partner A-game and parent as an A-team:
1. Self Awareness
How are you feeling right now? Be honest and true with yourself. Are you judging yourself for how you feel? Don’t – It’s okay to feel whatever it is that you feel. It is likely that the feelings right now are a roller-coaster of ever changing emotion from hope and confidence to doom and gloom and everything in between. There is no right or wrong way to feel or react right now. You are not overreacting. How would you respond to a friend who was feeling this way? Treat yourself as you would your best friend or loved one who is thinking or feeling these emotions or thoughts.
2. Partner Awareness
Know that it is likely that both of you are experiencing heightened emotions and that’s okay. The first step is to acknowledge this – you and/or your partner may need a bit more support right now simply to decompress and regroup. Reflecting on previous times of uncertainty or unpredictability in your lives – what has helped you as a couple? Is it having a plan and structure in place? More time to think? Less social media contact?
What is within your control right now? What’s outside your control?
The answers will differ from partner to partner but you can work together to try and have as many needs met as possible. Focus on those things that are within your control.
3. Specific Communication
If there is something that you need or would like from your partner, something that would support the process of calming down – let them know. It is likely that they want to help, but simply do not know how. Do you need 15 minutes to yourself for a meditation? 20 minutes to do a quick workout or a walk? Be specific. If you can’t think clearly – this is the time to take a break and do something that calms you (shower, bath, walk, deep breathing, meditation etc.).