May 25, 2020 — 10:03 AM
As you are about to offer your input during your important work video meeting, you see your dog drag precious toilet paper out of the bathroom to play with while you live in fear that your children will come running—and screaming—into the room. You work from 11:15 to 11:30 uninterrupted until you hear a fight break out between your children that you must referee. Your youngest child is having tele-speech therapy and constantly closes the computer and exits the video program while flopping in his chair declaring “This is boring!” to the beleaguered speech therapist. When you finally get back to your work, the doorbell rings with your groceries and, hopefully, more precious toilet paper.
For the last few months, you have somehow continued to wear different hats: Full-time parent, full-time teacher, and perhaps full-time employee, too. And now summer is looming: While some parts of the world will still have camps and out-of-the-home activities, others will be called upon to continue at-home child care. As many parents continue to home school until “summer break,” the thought of now being your child’s camp counselor is daunting.
Parents are physically and emotionally exhausted and now feel ineffective in multiple realms of their lives. While the world is opening up in many areas, the existing home-schooling and child-care woes are leaving parents in need of revitalization.
Tune in to assess your emotions and give yourself a small moment of compassion every day. What would you say to a friend in your situation? Say that to yourself. Listen for signs of stress and for what your body and mind need: food, exercise, or a moment alone. Give yourself permission, and the time, to stop, identify, and implement what you and your family need to recharge. Rushing back to carpools and hectic weekends may not be the best way to recuperate. If you don’t have the internal resources to meet your own needs, you can’t be the parent you want to be. Connecting with other people, finding a system of support, and reaching out are key to stemming burnout. Connecting helps your body and mind and may provide you with increased energy.
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