The past few months have had more tantrums, more tears, and a whole host of new and unusual emotions. And we’re not only talking about the four-year-old here. We’ve all been through the proverbial mill during Lockdown 2020 and it will most certainly be a year we will never forget. Between staying home, being an entertainment guru and missing our loved ones, life with kids at home has ended up feeling like an enclosed and battered box which seemed to get smaller and smaller as the weeks went by. Worse, while juggling everything including the tense emotions of our children, we have tried and sometimes missed the mark in keeping everything afloat and running smoothly. It has been hard. So hard. A cruel and unusual punishment in many ways.
By day 5378 in the big lockdown house, many of us have felt somewhat depleted. And that is perfectly ok. We have given our all and have done our best. Even better, we have survived!
But you are not alone if you feel like crying out or running away now that lockdown has eased and we regain a little bit of freedom. It is ok to have had, and still have, intense feelings of wanting to hit the wall repeatedly or a strong urge to raid the sweet press for a sugar high to escape the frustration parenthood can bring, especially in lockdown. We have all felt overwhelmed at some stage or another by the constant demands, the bucket loads of daily snacks, the clean ups, the arguments, and the constant touching. Oh the constant touching! “Mammy! Look at me,” has been on repeat in houses across the country as we became our child’s best friend, their favourite comforter, brightest toy, and their emotional equalizer. Their entire social hub.
Now that Phase Three has opened our boundaries and granted us a little more cautious freedom, we may have the opportunity to regain a little something for ourselves again. But for many of us, easing out of lockdown is also a little frightening. Regaining a control we lost can be intimidating especially when there is still an underlying threat we are encouraged to safeguard ourselves from.
However, it is as important as ever, to look after ourselves, prioritise our own self-care, and recognise what we need to nourish our minds and bodies during these coming weeks and months. We have been consumed by a constant state of parenting which is a continual rollercoaster on a regular day. It is wise to remember that “good enough” parenting can help us ease our way out of lockdown. We don’t need to clear out the house, landscape the garden, or teach our children how to play piano or get them stuck into a coding camp all summer long. There is no such thing as perfect especially under these exceptional circumstances. Recognise the good you are doing as parent, the love and acceptance, the comfort and strength you are giving your children over this incredibly difficult period. These are exceptional days.
Remember, it is ok to feel exhausted after three months of being your children’s sole source of social interaction. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them. It means you are human.