This Feels Hard Because It is Hard
No one is crushing parenting right now. These are hard times, and what’s most critical to our mental health is how we talk to ourselves.
Join me in making self-compassion a goal for this weekend or in the futre. Things to bump down on your “goals” list: cooking that family dinner, decorating your home for the holidays, saying the right thing you want to say to your child when he is upset. Are these things important? I suppose. But let me remind you: WE ARE IN A PANDEMIC.
It’s easy to forget this important truth. We are in a time of chronic anxiety, chronic depletion, chronic “I really need a break from this,” chronic angsty kids, chronic marital stress. And what do many of us do when we feel overwhelmed? We layer on self-blame (“How did I forget to do a holiday card this year?”) and self-criticism (“I’m the worst parent.”).
When we self-blame, inflame our distress And when we add self-compassion, we don’t get rid of distress, but we soften it a bit or at least pause its growth. And honestly, sometimes that’s the best we can do.
NO ONE IS CRUSHING PARENTING RIGHT NOW. These are times to survive, not thrive. We will look back on this time one day saying, “Oh. My. Goodness. Wow. I got through that huh?” – recognizing how impossible every day felt.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We have a community of people here who are all trying to do their best *and* all struggling each day. Two things are true, right? Tell yourself this right now, “I am struggling and doing my best. Those are equally true.”
YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT HAVING A HARD TIME. That’s all I am too. I promise.
Let’s all do an exercise. How cool to imagine so many of us doing it at the same time. Try to really feel that: Place your hand on your heart and your feet on the ground. Yes, it’s normal if you start crying just by assuming this position of slowing-down and self-compassion. Tell yourself, aloud or inside your body, “This feels hard because it is hard, not because I’m doing something wrong.”
And next, shout out some friends you want to commend on their brave journey as a pandemic parent. Call someone, text someone, share kind words, maybe even suggest you take a workshop together. We are in this together.