Many parents attending my counselling practice have been feeling overwhelmed and under pressure especially when the news broke of another lockdown involving homeschooling and working from home. Parents with young children can really struggle with the stress of trying to meet everyone's needs in the house. Juggling your own work with minding children is difficult and none of us have the usual supports around us with extended family etc due to the lockdown measures.
So how can you support yourself through this demanding time so that you and your family get the best version of you? I like to think of mothers as the barometer emotionally for the house. When you’re taking care of yourself, you will feel calmer, happier and you will have more compassion and understanding for your children’s emotional needs.
Self care can be tricky especially if it doesn’t come naturally and if you don't know where to start. Instead think of taking care of yourself as a priority for your children’s sake. If they are getting a frazzled, unhappy, stressed out mother, then they’re not going to be happy either. If you are feeling calm, your parenting will be too!
Write out a realistic schedule for the day including your own self care. This is not meant to be a rigid structure but will help you all to know how the day will look. Self care could be sitting down to drink a cup of tea, putting on some music that you love, making sure you eat regularly, going to bed early, making easy dinners during lockdown, getting a take away one night, going for a walk in the morning or evening, relaxing your cleaning standards while kids are home etc. What would taking care of yourself look like to you?
What would you like your child to learn while they’re at home? Maybe you have a keen baker or bird watcher in the house?
Is there something that fascinates your child?
How can you support your child’s interest in this subject?
What are the life skills you would like your child to learn during this time?
Take a few minutes to write out how you want to feel and how you would like your children to feel while at home and watch this manifest.
At the end of the day, your child’s mental health and your mental health is far more important than anything else.