Parenting in a Pandemic - When Parenting is damn hard!
Lessons in me that made me a better parent.
As the glistening wet worktop dries to smeary streaks of chalky white , I sigh again as I reach for a clean microfiber cloth and frantically circle the smears away. Mr Miyagi would be proud of me. The granite gleams back the sparkling pieces of mirror within its core, glint in the downlighters. I smile to myself for a short minute pleased with the results, knowing full well that within the hour it won’t look as if I’ve laid a finger on the kitchen.
This latest lockdown has had me cleaning more. Not because life got dirtier, but because the cleaner isn’t coming for a while. And if I’m brutally honest I’m not quite as busy with the other job, so I do have the time. In fact, I have all the time in the world, more time than I ever thought I would need. This weekend saw me getting so bored, that I decided 3 hours to clean an oven was a well spent day. Not only was it a workout for my arms but my oven is now sparkly clean. I also rewarded myself by paying me for the effort and hurriedly took advantage of the Holland and Barrett penny sale.
I often wonder if I am unique in these moments? If anyone else does this? I’ve noticed that my cleaning frenzies happen on two occasions. Firstly if I'm stressed or bothered by something I tend to clean more. The first paragraph is that case in point. Can you relate? Do you know how you work? What makes you tick, what quirks and strange rituals you suddenly notice yourself doing at odd moments. The second reason for a mad rush for the under the kitchen sink contents is boredom. Although I have to be really bored and have to have sat still for a good few months before I actually reach for a duster. But then it's like a bomb of Mr Sheen has exploded. Nothing is left untouched, a “Spring Clean” where even the sofas are moved and the venetian blinds are not left out.
You see I know when I’m stressed, when I’m feeling overwhelmed. The sign is my cracked hands from the cleaning fluid, the dried skin on my fingers makes me look ancient beyond my years. Occasionally I moisturize but only occasionally. I know all about me. I’m an expert if you like! I’ve spent my whole life gemming up on what makes my cogs grind. But it took an in depth course of 8 weeks before I really understood what all those ticks and traits meant. And more importantly how to move forward in order to make ME work for ME.
You might already be familiar with mindfulness? You might not, so for those who don’t really know here’s the definition of mindfulness
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
"their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"
a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Put on your life jacket first Mama- When Parenting becomes easier.
The point that I’m making is not that I’m some Domestic Goddess (although I think all women are) - there are probably some Men too? But definitely none of the male variety in this house. The point that I’m making is that once you take the time to get to know you, then lots of other issues start to fall into place.
Teenage mental health issues during this pandemic are apparently on the rise. As a mother of one elevenager I certainly have noticed more tears and tantrums since our civil liberties have been curtailed. But what also noticed, is that once I’d secured my life jacket I was more able to help. You see once I understood my emotions when I was “hangry”, frustrated, upset, annoyed , you get the picture. I was able to assist with more compassion. What I found was all he needed was a cuddle and a “me too” and then half the battle was won.
When we show our child that we understand, that we’ve been there too, they start to feel less alone and more listened to. When we allow them to air their grievances with no judgement or comebacks. Just gestures of hugs and smiles, they feel less angry and more loved. More loved means safe and secure and then in return there are less grievances and more conversations. Less tantrums and more words. It's a win win on all counts.
So what has this Pandemic taught me? It’s taught me to be liberal with my love for my child. It’s taught me to show my vulnerable side because we can all see when someone is struggling and we then learn compassion and that in turn leads to a calmer household.I'm far from a perfect parent, but more conversations about what i'm struggling with have meant more conversations about how we can parent better in our household. Lessons in compassion are the best thing to have come out from the pandemic. Talk kind to you and have compassion for yourself. This has been harder than anyone can give you credit for. You've got this, love yourself for everything that you are.
I really hope this helps you in some way. If you ever need to reach out to chat #nojudgement them happy to listen. You’ve got this Mama/Dada x