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stressed out mom with young kids

Calling All Moms – Are You Okay?

stressed out mom with young kids

 

It’s not just you – the pandemic has raised stress for all parents and anxiety is at an all-time high. Varying levels of social distancing orders are still in place, which has resulted in closed daycares, new back to school challenges and virtual workplaces. 

Parents now have to find ways to keep their kids entertained, manage a new reality of distance learning and try to find balance when kids are always around – a.k.a. no break! Throw in COVID-19 and the family all together under the same roof 24/7, and you have a recipe for a perfect storm. 

Whether you’re a professional mom, a seasoned mom of multiples or expecting your first baby, prioritizing your emotional care isn’t easy. We rounded up a list of mama lifelines to help you survive when all the odds are against you. 

Set Boundaries To Protect Your Mental Health 

Now is the time to lower the bar and give yourself grace when you simply cannot make one more meal, get through your child’s schoolwork or attend another Zoom meeting. For some moms, this may be uncharted territory. 

However, the pressure to be the perfect mom at this unprecedented stressful time could absolutely break you. Instead, pick a few important tasks to complete each day, and let the rest go! Also, here are ways to engage your child so you can catch some “alone” time:

  • Lovevery provides stage-based early learning and play essentials, up to age 3.
  • Raddish Kids is a fun cooking club for kids.
  • Flexable offers interactive, virtual childcare.

Join Forces With Other Moms 

Stay at home moms have historically been pitted against working moms. Today, parents are also at odds with teachers, who are overwhelmingly women, struggling with the very same issues, while we debate how and if school should open. 

Don’t miss the bigger picture. Moms should be sharing resources and working together to fight for expanded sick leave, fund the childcare industry and protect working parents’ livelihood. If you’re looking for communities of moms who get it, check these out: 

  • MotherNation creates spaces for Mothers to care for themselves and each other by gathering circles based on location, age of children and shared experience.
  • Mother Honestly is an online community, with resources and support for working mothers.
  • Chairman Mom is a private network of badass working women.

Ask Daddy To Step It Up

Not all households have a mom and dad, but when they do, responsibilities still fall unevenly on moms in 2020. Today, childcare and home duties have only increased, moms are picking up the slack and it’s stealing your Zen. However, couples can divvy up the work more fairly with these tools:

  • Modern Village builds the “Family Operating System” as a central place that isn’t mom’s brain to be the single source of all things family.
  • Fair Play helps couples divide up household tasks fairly, based on their needs.
  • Persistiny allows parents to track, value, and share the unpaid work to care for their families.

If you’re reading this daddy, here are some things you can do proactively to show mama how much you value her: 

  • Take on more housework. Even if it feels like you are doing your fair share, pick up one or two more tasks a day.
  • Ask her how she feels. Is she drowning? To avoid adding to her already overflowing mental load, come to the conversation with two ideas for how you could help.
  • Take the kids out of the house to give her some time to just reset.
  • Here’s a big one – say thank you! Say thank you for the things you see her doing and even the things you don’t … the empty sink, the clean laundry and the uninterrupted business call. Make it your goal to show continual gratitude.

We know this just scratches the surface. There is no silver bullet solution to such a complex situation. But, when everyone pitches in to help, moms will make it through this stronger, and our children will reap the benefits.

girl virtual learning

2020 Back to School: New Challenges for Parents

girl virtual learning

While summer is still coming to a close in some parts of the country, many states are already gearing up for a new school year. Back to school can be stressful at the best of times, but after a spring of remote learning amid the Covid-19 spread, sending our little ones back to the classroom – online, in-person or a hybrid of the two – is daunting. 

The CDC has released recommendations for schools to reopen with guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, temperature checks and alternate schedules to reduce classroom sizes. However, balancing safety with continued academic growth can feel like walking a tightrope with so many restrictions. Below are three ways to tackle the new challenges.

Make safety rules fun

You’ve probably spent the entire summer reminding your child about the everyday precautions he or she needs to take to prevent getting sick. As they go back to school, here are some fun ways to reinforce COVID-19 safety rules: 

  • Find your child a comfortable mask and reward them for the time they wear it by doing fun things, such as playing games, coloring, reading books or dancing, while they have it on. Don’t forget to use positive reinforcement when they wear a mask. 
  • You can also make the mask itself fun by having your child decorate it to make it their own. If it’s a paper mask, they can use stickers. If it’s fabric, they can use fabric paint on the outside. Find fabrics that reflect their personality, like their favorite superhero. 
  • Washing hands thoroughly is more important than ever. Tell your child to sing a song, like the ABC’s, when they wash their hands. They can sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Happy Birthday” or another favorite – the main thing is it should be a 20 second long song to get all of the germs off. 

Listen to your child’s concerns

The question all parents are asking is how will COVID-19 impact my child’s mental health? It’s important to keep an eye out for anxiety in your child that could be a result of new protocols, including changes in sleep patterns, continually seeking reassurance despite already receiving an answer and acting out. 

Parents also have a new set of challenges with managing their own stress around the pandemic and trying to remain calm while listening to children’s concerns. In order to help support your child’s mental health about the changes at school as a result of COVID-19, parents can:

  • Encourage conversations about the new school safety rules
  • Practice the new safety rules at home to reinforce success in the classroom
  • Acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings if they are scared or anxious
  • Reassure your child that a lot of adults are working hard to keep everyone safe
  • Maintain sleeping, eating, and general family household routines
  • Facilitate age-appropriate opportunities for children to make choices, giving them a sense of safety and control

Whether your child is concerned about having to wear a mask all day or what might happen if there’s a confirmed case at school, make sure you’re listening intently, empathizing often and helping your child cope with his or her feelings in a reassuring manner.

Let your parental instincts guide you

In a time when almost any activity outside your home comes with a risk, don’t be afraid to lean into your parental instinct. With many schools offering the option of online learning, you may be keeping your kids in 100% online classes this school year or semester. Knowing how important classroom learning and socialization are for your child, you may have decided that you’ve done your homework when it comes to safely sending your child back to school.

No matter what you’ve chosen, trust your own instincts and feel confident that you’ve made the right decision for your child and your family. Try to stay positive, remember that it takes time to acclimate to change and set realistic expectations. Your example is one they are exposed to more than any classroom or teacher. If your child hears you speaking optimistically about the school year, they will adopt that attitude.

Becoming a Parent During COVID-19

We are surrounded by images of blissful motherhood on social media, TV and in magazines. But many new mothers experience some distressing feelings after giving birth. That’s normal because the responsibilities of being a new parent are both tough … and exhausting. Fathers are also at risk of depression after the birth of a baby, and the risk goes up significantly when the mother experiences depression too. 

New parents need plenty of support during the best of times, but when faced with hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, new visitation rules for delivery rooms and the general uncertainty about how coronavirus affects our lives, the stakes can feel especially high.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your plans for support after childbirth from family and friends have probably been changed or may have even been cancelled. Losing your support system can make it harder to figure out a smooth transition to parenting. 

Fortunately, help is available – from family, peers and providers. However, support looks a little different now. Most providers are using telehealth visits for most of their visits, and support groups have moved online. 

Below are resources for providers, support groups and ways that we all can support parents and families during this uncertain time.

These groups and resources can offer the chance to communicate with people who get it. We hope these make the day-to-day challenges, fear and overwhelm a little easier to take.