This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. All opinions are my own.
One month ago today, we found out that our world was changing, and that Pookah would be home from school indefinitely, distance learning from home.
About a week later, CDub followed and we've all been here, 24/7…for the foreseeable future.
In the space of a few weeks, we went from having baseball practice and playdates and after school activities, to virtual learning, seeing friends and classmates on facetime and zoom and playing only in the back yard.
Our morning rush to get out of the house has changed to late wakeups and slow mornings
We've all carved out our own spaces in the house. I took over a bedroom for my office, CDub stays in his man cave, and Pookah has taken over the den with toys and gadgets and devices and a very cute homemade fort.
Screen time rules are way relaxed for our sanity and for socialization for my social only child.
There are days when I’m proud that I put my foot down and got him off of devices and out the door, and other days when I’m drowning and honestly don’t care as long as he’s happy.
Some days feel endlessly lazy and some are stressed as we all try to navigate working and school and family time and getting on each other's nerves. EVERYTHING feels stressful right now. Our routines have changed, the structure we had is gone, and now we are navigating our new reality.
And through it all, Pookah is watching me.
He is at the age where things are starting to make sense, but he still looks to us for the majority of his questions on what to think of all of this. He's always been very in tune with how I'm feeling, and my moods. But now he's watching me constantly and listening to my conversations with his Dad to see how we are really handling this.
But the problem is, we don't know how to handle this because it's our first time too. We are struggling and we don't have all the answers like we usually do. He is asking so many questions: Will we get to go on vacation this summer? Will I get to graduate from the 5th grade? When can I see my grandparents again? My friends? Will I get to play baseball this year?
Will Uncle Doodle die? ( My older brother was recently diagnosed with Clovid-19).
I was struggling to answer these questions truthfully because I honestly, I Don't know! It is so humbling to have to admit that to your child.
But Last week, I sat in on a Zoom call with Dr Ben Nordstrom, the Addiction Psychiatrist and Executive Director of Responsibility.org.
This year, I am partnering with Responsibility.org covering topics in this ranging from parents and positive role-modeling, to helping kids navigate friendships, to talking to our kids about underage drinking and responsible alcholol consumption.
Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit organization and it's mission is to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and to help adults to drink alcohol responsibly as a part of their lifestyle.
Responsibility.org partners up with nine of America’s distillers who lead with a strong commitment to responsibility when drinking.
Every April, Responsibility.org runs an awareness campaign for Alcohol Responsibility Month, and for the kickoff of the year, Dr Nordstrom shared some important coping strategies for parents right now:
10 Coping Strategies for Parents:
- Try to project calm and confidence. Kids will follow your lead.
- Remember, our kids are always watching and listening, so be careful what your kids overhear in your conversations with other adults. Kids, use “kid logic” to fill in the gaps of what they know and what they hear. So they might make incorrect conclusions.
- You should reassure your kids that things will eventually go back to normal, but be honest that you don't know when.
- When they question why we have to stay at home, help them take pride in the fact that when they do stay home, they are doing their part to stop the virus.
- Create routines unique to your family so that kids can have some sense of predictability. For example. Pookah knows we start school at 10 and that no matter what, he cannot play video games until after 3.
- Create opportunities to let each family member choose what they do so that they have a greater sense of control. I let Pookah choose the movie for movie night and the game for game night and what he wants for lunch.
- Give your kids, age-appropriate answers to their questions. Now is not the time to go deep!
- Don't make promises about things that are out of your ability to control.
- Take time for self-care!!! This helps us to cope better with whatever the day has to bring us.
- And don't model negative coping strategies to manage our own reactions to this crisis.
That last one is hard!
There have been an explosion of those “Mommy Needs wine memes and jokes” over the past month. I spoke about it last week in my Instagram post, but we have got to focus on the difference between the want vs the need. Language matters! Enjoying a virtual cocktail hour while socializing with friends is one thing, but pouring a glass of wine while stating that you need it to relax is another.
I don't want to show Pookah that drinking is a coping strategy. I'd rather him see that reading a book, taking a walk, watching a funny show or playing basketball is a better option.
Motherhood is tough right now. We are trying to manage all of the typical stressors of motherhood with an added pandemic on the side.
Our children are watching us, and parenting in the time of Clovid-19 is a challenge. I am trying to remember to use these tips and I know they will come in handy when this pandemic has passed.
How are you coping right now? Which one of these strategies are you going to use with your kids?