It is hard to feel like you’re winning at much of anything as a parent right now. As a parent myself, I know the guilt that follows with every mistake we make, when our child has a set back, or especially when our kids are struggling and we just don’t know why. This guilt can really take a toll on our self-confidence as a parent and this pandemic has intensified all of the struggle and guilt and self doubt.
I am what the therapy world calls a “Strength Based Therapist”. It’s a fancy way to say I focus more on internal strengths and resourcefulness, and less on weaknesses, failures, and shortcomings. I find that a shift in perspective can make the world of a difference when it comes to our confidence as parents. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all about normalizing parenting fails as there is no such thing as perfecting parenting (nor there should be). In fact, if you would like to read about some of my epic parenting fails, you can read my article published in the January 2021 issue of Neighborhood Parent Network Magazine, Parent to Parent: #Real Talk “A Child Therapist’s Top 10 Covid-19 Parenting Fails.
But now I would like to share with you how I challenged myself to make my top 10 fails into my Top 10 Covid-19 Parenting Wins!
- In the midst of a pandemic, I knew how important structure and predictability was to my daughter, and I did my best to keep her pre-covid routine.
- I also was able to be flexible when this pre-covid routine was not working. By letting go of my high expectations of what the day “should” look like, I gave my daughter extra family time and the connection she was needing. And yes, this made for a (very) late bedtime.
- My daughter watched her mom continue to work through this pandemic and support other professionals, families, and children as they went through this difficult time too. I can’t think of a better role model!
- I was able to navigate how to work from home with small children and still show up to my professional commitments. And am forever grateful to the support and understanding of other professionals that welcomed my daughters into our zooms. It takes a village.
- Even when I felt exhaustion like no other, this heavy mental and physical exhaustion…I still took my baby outside to feel the grass under her feet and the sun on her face. She did not know her Mama just wanted to go to bed, she was exploring her world! Hopefully she also learned her lesson that bunny poop is not worth exploring orally…
- Being able to prioritize rest and knowing that allowing myself and my 5 year old to sleep in and miss “morning meetings” is needed and OK under the circumstances.
- Knowing that my daughter never felt embarrassment or shame for being late to class. And hopefully teaching her that self-care is as important as anything taught in the classroom.
- While becoming a “YES” mom has increased our plush collection, it has also allowed for creative bonding, more play, fun, and adventures with my children. In a way it has allowed me to be more childlike. Why have I said “No” to pancakes for dinner all these years?! This is my go to “I am too tired to cook” dish now!
- I make sure my girls take care of all their teeth…even the sweet ones!
- Knowing and being proud that I am a superhuman. I am working full time, being at home with my kids full time, being a teacher, being a therapist, being a wife, being a friend … all the while managing my own anxiety as I move forward during a worldwide pandemic. Even the universe sees all I do and awarded me with a shiny new laptop!
And with this I challenge you to offer yourself compassion and use a strength based approach to viewing your own parenting “fails”. You may just be able to see the strength that is truly behind them!
Click here to read more blogs from our Clinical Director, Ritamaria Laird!