People around the world are struggling right now. Nobody’s safe from the lockdown that’s upon us, but parents are taking a beating. Besides the obvious financial and educational issues, many parents are facing something more sinister bubbling below the surface — guilt, shame and embarrassment.
Being a parent, being responsible for another human life, is never easy. We all do it because parenting offers some of the greatest perks. The greatest moments in my life have included my child and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, but I cannot deny that having children has made this entire battle with Covid-19 much harder.
Am I A Bad Parent?
Nobody expected the effects of this current pandemic. Prior to this, we went about our days with confidence that tomorrow would bring the same thing. We went to work, sent our children to school and ran our errands. We made plans for the future; we planned birthday parties and road trips with our families. Some of us spent money on future vacations with no idea that we would fight to get our deposits back in less than a month.
Parents who lived paycheck-to-paycheck were basically comfortable because there was no reason in sight that they wouldn’t keep getting those paychecks. Then one day, without warning, that lifeline was severed. Employees abandoned, with no clear guidance on what to do next.
It’s a heart dropping thing when you’re thrown into uncertainty like that. When you have a family who depends on you to take care of them, and your only means of doing that gets wrenched away, it’s hard not to feel like a failure. It’s hard not to worry that you have somehow let your family down. It’s hard not to panic about the repercussions of that.
It’s hard not to feel like a bad parent.
Parents are now resorting to things they haven’t had to do before. They’re applying for unemployment and other benefits, while seeking help from charities and food banks. They’re silently crying at night while trying to hold it together in front of their kids. They’re getting frustrated with promises that are not being delivered or roadblocks that have kept them from getting help. They’re draining savings accounts that took years to build and having to abandon the initial purpose of that savings.
They’re falling into depression while having to pretend that everything is okay.
You’re A Good Person In A Bad Situation
I wish I could get a message to every parent who is struggling and whose life has changed because of the Corona Virus. I would tell them to remember that this is not their fault. They’re good people, great parents who have unfortunately found themselves in a terrible situation.
I would beg them to remember the importance of taking care of themselves and their mental health. I would remind them they’re human and deserve love just as much as anyone else. Including love from themselves.
Take care of your families. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. I know it feels embarrassing to ask for help. It feels like you have a giant sign on your back that says, “I cannot take care of my family.” Even though it feels this way, it’s not the case. People know this pandemic has altered every bodies lives. They’re not judging you. They’re in the boat with you.
Be kind. Be gentle. Remember your children are struggling too. It’s ok to talk to your kids about how you feel without scaring them. It’s okay to admit that you’re confused right now too. Talking to your children about how you feel will help them express their own feelings and teach them it’s okay to talk about their feelings and emotions.
Remember this will pass but in the meantime please don’t beat yourself up about something that was entirely out of your control.