#1 – The Unexpected CAN Happen, AND We Will Survive

If you told me last September that school would suddenly be forced to move to a virtual platform, that we would spend over six weeks quarantine at home, that I would not be spending my fall cheering on the sidelines of the football field, I would have laughed. 

I really want to be able to promise my children that A+B always equals C but reality is so many things influence our experiences that we have no or limited control over. If I structure our lives around trying to cling to the assurance of specific things happening, we will be disappointed. It’s not that that I don’t think it’s important to dream and have a vision for the future we want. I absolutely believe that’s important. Dreams and goals move us forward into thriving and healthy life. However, the pandemic has once again taught me that I can make plans, dream, and continue show-up in the present moment, no matter what is going on. 

#2 – Rhythms are Important

When our typical rhythms flew out the door in the spring, I quickly learned how valuable it is for our family to have some type of structure. By nature, I push back against regulated structure. I don’t like to make lots of future plans, I hate being told I have to something at a specific time, and if every day of my week is the same, I start to burnout quickly. 

However, I have learned that it’s important for my family if we can give a little structure to our unstructured life. For example, going for a walk in the evening together is important. However, some nights we go before dinner other nights we go after dinner. It’s a rhythm that changes depending on the needs of the day. 

5 Things I've Learned While Parenting in a Pandemic

#3 – What I Focus on Is Significant

In the first week of quarantine, I was struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, and waking early in the morning. My mind was loud with worry and anxiety was screaming at me constantly. After four days of limited sleep, I knew something had to change. 

First, I cut back on my intake of the news, specifically in the evenings. Then I started a nightly gratitude practice. I wanted to be mindful of the good things that happened each day within the chaos and crazy. There are some days that the gratitude flows freely and making a list of 4-5 things is easy. Other days  it feels like a stretch, and I am grasping for the smallest things. But even on the hardest days, there is always something and by focusing on even the small things, it brings peace in the midst of the chaos.

#4 – Play Makes Everyone Happier 

Yes, we can all agree that our kids need to play. It’s not only important for them physically, but they are learning about themselves and their world through play. In this season I’ve been reminded how important it is for me, as the parent, to play as well. To play with my kids and to play as an adult. Sometimes it’s as simple as turning up the music and dancing around the kitchen while making dinner. Other times it’s responding to a cranky kid playfully rather than with exasperation and annoyance. And it’s not just playing with my kids, in the midst of all the demands and crazy of work and parenting, it’s creating moments to do the things that bring a small to my face and laughter to my lips. 

#5 – We Need Our People

I’ve always known that I do better when I’ve got safe and healthy people that I’m doing life with on a regular basis but this time of pandemic has reminded me how important it is for me and for my family. We all have different levels of need when it comes to connecting with people. Some of us need a lot. Others, it’s less. Wherever you are on the need scale, if we are completely isolated from other human connection, life gets really hard. So I encourage you to reach out to your people and stay connected. Because together we are better not only individuals but parents. And our kids need us. 

We hear you parents and are offering a FREE gift to you right now. Our self-paced, online class, “Parenting in a Pandemic: Secrets to Survival,” is full of knowledge and survival skills that will help you not just survive but thrive through this season. Click here to get access to the class today!

– The Power and Need For Connection. –

Last week I found myself in a place where I was just done! DONE WITH ALL OF IT! 

And I had a little melt down that went like this…I CANNOT KEEP DOING THIS! …all of this!

Pandemic fatigue- It seems like there is no end in sight!

Parenting 24/7- I can count on my hands the number of hours I have been away from my kids in these last 6 months and my goodness what I wouldn’t give to sit in silence for a while with no one needing anything from me! Can they just parent themselves for a bit? 

Schooling- Moving in between the role of parent vs. teacher is exhausting and hard and trying to balance that with other kids in the home or a job just adds up to not enough hours or patience in my day.

 Loss- The loss of lives, of normalcy, watching my kids continue to mourn the difference in life, it can all feel too overwhelming to keep moving forward.

Everything else- Fires, political overload, hurricane, social unrest, lost jobs, anxiety…and the list goes on

I realized quickly through the tears that I was on empty. I had nothing else to give anyone anywhere. I had been sucked dry with no replenishing and with nothing in the tank, I had nothing to give. 

There are lots of ways to take care of ourselves and fill ourselves back up. The one that stood out to me most was our need for connection. I needed to connect with my friends to let me cry a bit, tell me that what I’m feeling is completely normal, and then assure me that they are feeling many of the same things right now. Whether that was a Zoom call or a drink on a back patio to assure me that we were going to get through this together. I needed the security of a friend who reminds me that yes, it is absolutely hard, and that our kids really will be ok. Their childhood will not be ruined if we are able to trick or treat next month or if yell at them one more time for interrupting our work. 

So my fellow parent, I want to offer you encouragement today. You are not alone! Call on your community and let them know when it has just been one of those days! If you don’t have a community that you feel is safe enough to engage with, then let us know how you are doing and how we can support you! That’s why we are here, that is why connection with community is at the core of Action Parenting. 

 It’s ok to not be ok, and we are not created to do this alone! We are better together!

Have a good cry, link arms, and keep moving forward!