Parenting in Quarantine: You are Enough
We all have insecurities and what we perceive are flaws. We are not perfect. In the age of social media parenting, parents are comparing themselves to other parents they follow on social media. You know the ones I’m talking about. The seemingly perfect families. They are always posting about the fun and special things that they do with their kids. This hasn’t changed with Coronavirus. Those families are still posting their fun socially-distant adventures. They’re the families who take special trips through the drive through of their favorite fast food restaurants, the ones that seem to have these never-ending creative educational activities to do with their kids.
Comparing Yourself to Other Parents
You may be thinking “How do they find this stuff?” “That would never work at my house because…” And you may feel that your family has been jipped by having you as the parent. Maybe you’re not an intuitively creative person. Maybe you’ve always relied on the network of family, friends, and community events to help you fill in fun/education for your children. If this is you, you are not alone.
“Perfect” Parents Feel Flaws Too
Here’s a little secret – those parents, the perfect ones, posting on social media displaying to the world their seemingly perfect families ALSO FEEL THEY ARE NOT PERFECT. Yep, it’s true. They see flaws in themselves just like you do. One of the top concerns I hear from parents is the worry that their children are somehow being robbed by not getting to go to school, play in the park with friends, go to museums, zoos, or do all of the fun things you had envisioned for them to be able to do.
Boredom is a Good Thing!
Here’s the thing about what we were doing to our kids by giving them everything all the time. Experiencing boredom is an important emotion to feel. This actually helps kids be more creative. Fostering creativity in your children will help them to one day solve novel problems that the world is constantly trying to figure out. Having the time to play with your kids, to have conversations with your kids, and to teach them what you know is really all your children need.
All Your Kids Want is YOU
Your kids love you. They love having you home. They love spending all of this time with you. Really, all they want is you. They probably let you know this by doing annoying, nagging, things at times. Those nags, whines, and pulls for attention are a signal to you that your child needs something in this moment. Guess what, it isn’t all the things you were going to provide them had the world not shut down. They just need you.
Guilt is Normal Too
You might be thinking that those perfect parents probably don’t ever feel exhausted. They probably also never feel like they need a break from their kids. Feeling guilty right now thinking about this? That’s a completely normal feeling to feel after having these thoughts. Again, though, those perfect parents have these thoughts, too! They just don’t post about it on social media. We tend to project only the positives and we teach our children to do the same.
Your Children are Watching
Our children learn from our behavior because, after all, they are watching us. They want to be us. Parents of teens, your kids, especially, are watching you. They are critically analyzing your every move – talk about exhausting! They’re doing this because they are trying to figure themselves out. “How do I want to be?” They are going to figure it out by watching and critiquing you. It’s the highest compliment.
Know When to Take a Social Media Break
So, turn off your electronic devices sometimes. When you’re scrolling through your social media and begin to have those thoughts about how you aren’t good enough creep into your mind, that’s the sign to put away the social media. Call a friend or family member, and do some good old fashioned connecting. The kind that involves having a real conversation about things that matter to you.
Visit chihealth.com/behavioral to connect with a CHI Health mental health provider. We offer in-person and virtual therapy sessions with our team of licensed mental health therapists.