Parents are stressed like never before. When I made a poll on my Instagram story and asked parents on a scale of 1 to 10 how they were doing with managing their stress as they thought about school for their kids (with 1 being 'Cool as a cucumber' and 10 being 'My head is about to explode'), the average number was 9. Not one person said they were below an 8.
And I get it! Things have looked uncertain for a very long time, and for those of us who like to have things all planned out and in a neat bow, this puts us on the literal struggle bus.
School looks a bit different these days. Whether your kids are in school with masks on all day, and school supplies consist of 3 notebooks, pencils, and oh, school colored masks and these new things called covicords to keep my kids’ masks on.
And if your district has decided to go virtual for a while that brings a whole other stress level. I stopped knowing how to help with my kids math around 2nd grade. So they are on their own.
With all these changes comes lots of stress and anxiety with all the decisions. The questions from every friend, “What are you doing? Are you choosing homeschool, hybrid, virtual, in school? Will you switch after the first few weeks?’’
What choices do we make? What if we make the wrong choice? It seems like this is a new pressure we have had to face as parents. Well, it’s because we have never parented during a global pandemic.
And the conversations I hear are parents feeling like there is NO good choice. That whatever choice they decide, switching schools, doing something different than a friend, it feels like there is just NOT ONE good choice, because they all suck.
So today I want to talk about 2 things we are trying to do to change our perspective a bit.
What if we just changed the wording around. What if we said. THERE IS NOT A BAD CHOICE we can make this year. We are doing the best for our family and what they need. My decision to do in school will be different than some of my friends. But what if we all just cheered each other on in their decisions?
No judgment, just grace.
What if we looked at this year as just a blip on the radar. We will get through this, just like we did the first half of the year.
So instead of saying there is NO GOOD decision, how about saying there is NO BAD decision we can make? With so many things we don’t have control over, let’s just take the pressure off, and trust we are doing the best we can in these circumstances, and embrace these choices.
Here is the second perspective, instead of my kids overhearing me say to my mom friends, how hard it’s going to be this year, or different or awful because they have to wear masks, or because we have to go virtual this year.
What if they overheard me say? “My kids are capable, they are strong, they can do hard things.”
“This year will be a growing year for them, but I have no doubt they are going to knock it out of the park.” What if they heard me say that?
I know when my kids hear me say something enough times they start to believe it. They start to believe they can do this new thing.
My kids are also in a new town and a new school all together as we just moved here. I want them to know even with all the changes I believe they’ve got this.
Kids are some of the most resilient people; it's us as parents who maybe need to borrow some of that perseverance and determination.
Will it be awkward?
I am sure it will be.
Will it be uncomfortable?
Will we all wish it was like before?
But could it be something our kids look back on as something they are proud of overcoming. Something they were able to persevere, learn flexibility, learn how to be respectful of new boundaries, and care more deeply about others because they had to follow protocols that weren’t their first choice, but benefited the whole?
Could we as a family learn so many things this new year.
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