Building Foundations for Mental Wellness
Conversations about thriving during these difficult times
Panelists: Natalie Shepherd, LPC • Katie Gambill, Investigations Supervisor with CPS • Travis Moore, LPC
Topics Include: navigating working from home with children, signs of anxiety and depression, teens and technology
Thanks you Panelists and to all who joined us.
Here’s a link to the webinar – in case you want to use it as a resource.
Pandemic Parenting and Mental Wellness
I want to talk today about navigating working from home with your children or being a stay at home parent and creating structure but also living with grace and forgiveness for yourself.
During this pandemic, when working from home, in your role as a parent, You begin to think, am I doing enough? But also, I am so overwhelmed how can I possibly do anymore than I am doing right now?
Everyone has heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”. That is because as human beings, our children are raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, the church, our friends. So, it is completely normal to be feeling like this is too much, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you a human.
Having said that, its still important to our daily functioning to maintain mental wellness so that you can be the best parent you can be to your child and your family during this time. So, I want to talk about 4 parenting principles that can help you achieve that mental wellness during this unprecedented time.
- Your to do list (if you have one) needs to be attainable. Not what you want your best self to look like. What your actual self is.
- Sometimes there doesn’t have to be an agenda. Sometimes kids just want to play barbies and trains.
- Having a lose schedule can really help children feel less chaotic.
- Wake up at 7, get dressed, eat, play, lunch, nap, play, dinner, bath, nighttime routine, bed by 8PM.
- Structure their quiet time activities, nap, ipad time, their favorite toy, favorite movie or TV show, around your most important tasks for the day.
- Trade off parenting. From 10-11 is one spouse’s protected time. Then 11-12 is the next person’s protected time to work. Then we can both work during nap/ipad time which is a couple of hours long.
- Find a way to transition from working to being at “home” when you’re not actually leaving the house. Maybe go for a walk and come back, go for a drive, there needs to be a transition, or you might find yourself working much more now than you actually did before the pandemic.
Picking Your Battles
- When we are stressed and anxious, we have an urge to redirect every “annoying” move that the kids make.
- I know that during this time when the kids are the most rambunctious, it is time to switch up activities to allow them to get some energy/frustration out. Go outside and play, go to the playground.
- I think sometimes we are focused on achieving maximum productivity and perfection, when we really just need to be focused on mental and emotional well-being.
- Identify what is stressful for you and work to change that so that your stress doesn’t bleed over into the way you are parenting your kids which in turn creates feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
- For me, I am overwhelmed when my home isn’t clean and picked up, so I have realized I need to start my day out with a clean home to put my best foot forward emotionally for the day. It might be something else for you.
- Remember that discipline is meant to guide and teach.
- If you find yourself in a place during the day where you realize you have been yelling at the kids. Pause take a moment and reengage with them in an activity together. They are usually asking for attention.
- You are your own worst enemy when it comes to guilt and so we try and “do it all”. Its not possible. Teaching, parenting, and working are three different things that aren’t meant to be done at the same time.
- You can not assume that people know what you need. Not even your mother or your spouse. If you are at your breaking point, and you need a day away from your children, Call your mother, sister, best friend, whoever and let them know. You can not be good mother/father to your children when you are not your best self.
- If you need for your husband to cook dinner tonight because if you have to cook one more meal you are going to lose it. Tell him.
- If you need a girl’s night because you are a SAHM and all you do is talk to a 10 month old all day long, call your friends or your Sunday school class.
- Most of the time, they would be mortified that you were suffering and there was something they could have done and they didn’t know.
- Talk to your boss. If you have a 1 and a 3 year old at home you are caring for and two parents with 9-5 jobs, there is no choice but to change the expectations for how your day is structured. You might find that you have put expectations on yourself that your boss doesn’t even have for you. But they wont know it is too much unless you tell them you need to adjust some things to make it work.
- As women especially, we are really good at looking like we have it all together when we feel like we are falling apart.
- In your marital relationship, you are emotional, exhausted, impatient, and possibly even resentful. Acknowledge that each other are struggling in different ways, and create space to take things less personally.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed on a daily basis and having regular feelings of inadequacy, there is no shame in talking with your doctor to determine if you might be going through a period in your life where medication might help you through it.
- Forgive yourself when you feel you have fallen short because we all have rough days. Even our children. Be kind to yourself and know that you always get to try again tomorrow.
- Remember that children know that something isn’t right and they have cabin fever and feelings of pint up aggression just like we do but they don’t know how to express it or identify it. So, their “bad day” might look like a day of total defiance and attitude. If you know that going in, and know ahead of time that your response is to just love them through it and get through it, it makes the day a lot easier.
- This isn’t hard because you are doing it wrong, it’s hard because its too much. Just do the best you can.
- Keep in mind that when the kids are grown and they look back on this time of their lives, they aren’t going to remember their assignments or all of the failed Pinterest projects. Getting through this as a family with grace, laughter, and love is what they will remember.
If you have any questions contact Rev. Christina Hildebrand – firstname.lastname@example.org