Do you remember your early days as a parent? Do you remember those first few days at home with your newborn?
Did you know what you were doing? Were you feeling totally confident? Was it easy?
No, probably not.
It probably took several days to learn how to change a diaper with speed and agility. It may have taken days to feel like feeding the baby was going well. It may have been months before you felt like you got a good nights’ sleep again. You may have felt like you were never going to have a “normal” life again.
But you figured it out.
At least until the next change came. Teething, developmental milestones, illnesses, sleep regressions. There was always something that changed the playing field.
But you rolled with it and figured it out again.
This is what makes parenting such an amazing learning experience. You’re fine-tuning some major life skills: your ability to problem solve, to be flexible, to adapt to new situations under circumstances you can’t control.
Think about how far you’ve come since Day One. You’ve learned so much. You’ve grown and changed, and you’ve developed a routine that works for you and your family. It may not have been easy or without bumps, but you’ve worked through hard stuff and you know you can do it again. That’s resiliency.
For many of us, today introduces the next change. And it’s a big one.
Many of us are facing the new reality of being hunkered down in our homes for the next few weeks as we give healthcare workers a fighting chance to slow the progression of COVID-19. It means we’re taking care of our now-homebound children while juggling the new realities of a work-from-home situation. Everything we’ve done to create a system that works will now be upended.
And do we know what we’re doing? No, not really. We’re feeling anxious and insecure. We’re wondering how we’re going to get work done, how we’re going to keep our kids entertained, how we’re going to continue to support their education while they’re out of school. And we’re wondering how on Earth we’re going to keep our sanity through it all.
But we’ll pull out our best tools -
Giving ourselves, our partners, our children, and our colleagues grace and patience
Communicating with our partners and colleagues. Remember the wise words of listening with the intention of understanding, not just with the intention of replying? That’s going to be vital.
Being creative. You’re facing a new set of challenges, but you’ve done this before. You’ll find creative solutions to make it work.
Our web-surfing, crowdsourcing skills to see how other working parents are handling the change (Remember - some parents will do things that won’t work for you and your family. Don’t judge. Just take what works and leave what doesn’t.)
Will there be hiccups along the way? Absolutely. You can almost bet on it.
It’ll take time to adjust to the new normal. Day One may be tough, but we’ll slog through it and we’ll make adjustments for Day Two. And Day Two will be better.
Next weekend we’ll take a breath to regroup, review what worked, what didn’t, and what we’re going to change as we head into the second week.
Here’s the perspective we need to remember- everything you’ve done in your parenting journey has gotten you to this point. You’ve dealt with change and uncertainty before. Give yourself credit for all the things you’ve learned, forgiveness for all the things that haven’t worked the way you had hoped, and patience as we all find our new normal.
You can do this.