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Parents anxiety and mental health during Lockdown

It’s been 21 days since you are working “from home” and “for home”. You mopped the floor and your child upturned the entire bottle of juice right after. You lose your calm and start yelling at the child who is now scared, perplexed and alarmed. Minutes later, guilt hits in and you feel all the more miserable “.

Relatable, right?

To start with, let’s all raise our hands up in the air and accept the universal truth – Parenting isn’t easy! And it’s no secret that the traumatic events around COVID-19 have had ripple effects into almost every aspect of our and our children’s life. So much has changed in such a short time that we weren’t even well prepared for it. And that’s life: Unpredictable!

So what do we do now? Crib! Complain! Cry! And then Crib a little more!

A sane person’s answer will be –NO! Life needs to move on and children are an indispensable part of our lives. We can run, we can hide, but we can’t ignore them.

It is ok to feel guilty-A a parent, it is natural to feel most guilty after losing your temper or yelling at your child. Unfortunately, parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so you have to follow your gut when it comes to managing kids. Sometimes you have to do or say or make decisions that can make you feel guilty, but you need to know that no one knows what’s best for their kid like you do. According to a study, nearly 90% of mothers report feeling guilty, and that’s a lot of wasted energy since guilt can adversely affect your parenting.

Have you ever seen an absolute saint child (if you have one, then lucky you)? Children will always be up to some or the other mischievous things. Well ask your own parents about yourself, they will go on and on about your childhood acts.

It’s ok to be confused: The current pandemic situation has disrupted normal life, being stuck at home without any house helps, loaded with office work, handling children and kitchen, every parent is struggling with the multiple roles that have been bestowed upon him or her. And they are ought to feel confused!

Whether to give that extra screen time to your child so that you can work peacefully or to make your child do homework?

Whether to take some time off work & play with a child? How will I meet the deadline, or what if my child feels left out?

We know it’s not the most pleasant feeling. But hey, there is good news, you are going to do this for quite a while now, and then things will be back to normal.

So keep that laptop aside, & take that much-needed nap.

Let your child enjoy the extra screen time because honestly speaking, the time that the children are in front of a screen does fetch the parent some downtime: a win-win situation that you shouldn’t be confused about!

And yes, let your child be bored, the power of boredom mixed with free time will help the children figure out who they are and what they like to do.

There is nothing called ideal parenting: With the onset of quarantine, we have noticed that our social media timeline is flooded with the post of art & crafts by children, parents taking up hobby classes, or children helping parents in household chores or making “Dalgona coffee”. And you are like “Seriously!! Who on the earth has so much time to whip just for a coffee”

It’s ok to sigh and say “wow they are perfect parent-child pair, wish I could do all this”

Here is a secret: not all you see on social media is true, so chill! You just caught them on their best day, trust me everyone is struggling during this lockdown. Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to decorate that recycled paper craft with your child or having made Maggie for lunch, just hug your child and say “you are perfect”.

Remind yourself that some days are going to be harder than others, and don’t dwell on the things you could have gotten done or should have done differently. Instead, try to focus on the more positive moments throughout your day.

Parenting is part of your life; it’s not your entire life: Yes it’s true that our children are home 24*7 and they need prior attention. But you are home too, what about your health, relationships or your interest and most importantly your identity. It is vital that we support ourselves as individuals first because maintaining our mental and physical health is the foundation from which we support our children during these trying times.

By taking care of yourself first you are fuelling your ability to care for others and minimizing your vulnerability to illness, irritability, and anxiety – all of which draw you away from mindful parenting.

Let go of your children for some time and check-in with your partner now. After all, a healthy-happy relationship with your partner is the need of the hour.

Parents, this is uncharted territory. No one knows the rules. We write the rules as we go along and help each other. And come out stronger, resilient and wiser with greater reserves for patience and the ability to appreciate even the littlest things. Children grow, change, and become just a tiny more independent each day. Be loving, patient, forgiving and, most importantly, just hang in there.    

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