By Fiona Ng
I know parents are struggling right now and if parents are struggling, that means children also are. It is however possible to thrive whilst on lockdown during the coronavirus providing you consider a few things. Let me share some ways you can reduce that struggle and lessen the stress during such a time.
Move away from scrolling
We’re distracted at the best of times, let alone when we are home 24/7 and we can consume as much social media until our heart is content (or not content in many people’s cases). Not only do you want to be mindful of fear mongering and all the news reports you are consuming surrounding the coronavirus, you also want to be conscious of other parents’ posts, especially if you have the tendency to fall into the comparison trap. All of us right now are doing the best we can – and we don’t want anything or anyone else to make us feel like we aren’t. That mummy from toddler group who is posting her home schooling schedule, organic dinners and daily exercise routines is ALSO struggling – she is perhaps just sugar coating it with her regular post updates. Remember people show us what they want us to see (myself included). If you feel like you are comparing – log off!
Lower your expectations
Every single parent I work with suffers from perfectionism and it makes me smile as I am exactly the same!
I’m constantly moving the goal post and constantly wanting to be better! Being on lockdown isn’t time for that – I’m sorry parents but it’s time to let go.
I know this is not going to be easy for you to do, and what you can do instead is observe your desire to be a perfectionist and catch yourself before you fall into that trap. When you feel like you are slipping down a dark hole and not feeling ‘good enough’, think of something you can say to yourselves in those moments. What would you say to a cherished friend if they called up right now and said that they are annoyed that they aren’t being a perfect parent? You wouldn’t beat them up and tell them all the ways they SHOULD be better. You would have empathy and affirm them with some uplifting words. It’s going to feel strange but start doing this for yourself (or ring a friend and straight out ask them to validate that you’re doing a good job!).
Have a schedule but a loose one
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t thrive on some sort of routine and whatever that looks like is individual to you. I generally plan my days around mine and my daughter’s energy so we do something energetic in the morning (today it was an aerobics, yoga and a dance party in the kitchen) followed by some colouring and then some Netflix time! The day goes from high energy to low energy and then picks back up again around dinner/bath time.
Have an idea of how you want your day to map out and I’d recommend sticking to some key routines like getting dressed at a certain time and having bed time the usual time – but if things don’t work out the way you planned – go easy on yourself!
Use your evenings wisely
When the kids are in bed it’s important you use that time to super charge yourself in whatever way that is. Maybe it’s a Netflix marathon or reading a few chapters of a good book. Ideally do things that help you be more mindful like singing, dancing, cooking a nice meal, listening to an uplifting podcast or checking in with a good friend. Is reading the news and spending two hours on Instagram going to make you feel worse or better? Your evenings are now more important than ever so use that time. And if you are exhausted and depleted – just get an early night. It is OK to rest. If anything, I’d make sure sleepy hygiene is a top priority right now. Perhaps fall asleep whilst listening to some positive affirmations on Youtube.