Yep you heard that correctly. What in the actual heck?! I love being a mom and as we approach Mother’s Day I am reflecting on how difficult it is to be a parent in 2021.
I’m going to end up sounding a bit like a boomer and say that the world was just different when I was growing up. But as a self professed Gen X’er (despite my millennial birth year) I know that things change. I think the one thing that anyone born before 1992 can attest is that the complete and utterly unrestricted access to everything at the click of a button has a huge influence on the rising generations. In fact “influencer” is now a lucrative profession. Ask a 13 year old what they want to be when they grow up and I’m certain the answer would not be a lawyer or a doctor.
As a parent in the age of “all information,” whether it’s fact or fiction, I can tell that parenting sucks. Yeah yeah children are a blessing blah blah. Don’t get me wrong, they are. I adore my girls but this is the hardest damn job I’ve ever had. It’s harder than nursing school, giving birth, or driving an 18 wheeler on the turnpike. (I wouldn’t know about that last one but it looks nerve wracking) I ask my stepmom who has been a preschool teacher for 25+ years, why it is so different these days and she just tells me it’s a generational thing. Well every generation has a “thing.” But part of me thinks that parents have not evolved as quickly as the influx of knowledge from the internet has evolved our children. We simply can’t keep up with the amount of information our kids are absorbing on a daily basis. Goodness that is even more of a reason to get them disconnected.
Dale and I swore up and down our kids wouldn’t have phones or iPads. Well our youngest received her first iPad as a gift when she was 2 or 3 and our oldest has had a phone for 2 years now at 13. They have had a constant stream of information into their brains from a device for 8 solid years. That’s insane. And as a nurse I can tell you it’s also dangerous. I swear it’s not me being old and crotchety. Our mental health as a species is floundering because of devices. Technology is wonderful especially in the world of medicine. But I often wonder at what cost.
So what do we do from here? I don’t freaking know. I’d love a do-over. If you have any tips drop a comment lol.
Yep. Just like the song says. I love Disney movies but Frozen in particular is 100% on point. Lately I’ve noticed that so many people around me are trying so hard to have control on the things around them to have some sense of normalcy. I see it causing them a lot of anxiety and stress. So much so that I worry for their physical and mental well being.
I told a friend tonight that I learned long ago that not every person is good or going to be what you expect them to be. We can either accept them for who they are and be okay with what we get from them or we can choose not to. Which often means cutting off relationships. The latter is not always feasible so that leaves us with accepting people for who they are.
That’s not to say that people can’t change. Or that we shouldn’t try to express our feelings with them. But ultimately an individual does not change unless they have great self awareness. We cannot change them. They must change for themselves.
In order to find inner peace though we must be willing to let go of the expectations we have for others. The only thing we can control are the expectations we have for ourselves.
If you find yourself feeling anxious, pause for a moment and ask yourself if this is something you can control or if your are trying to control a situation or others. If your answer is that you are trying to control a situation or others then you need to take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I let go of what I can’t control.” And move on.
I know it’s difficult for many of us to not feel anxious right now. But now more than ever it is imperative to take care of our mental well being. That often entails vital self reflection and making some changes within ourselves. Fortunately that IS something we have control over.
Let’s face it, corona isn’t going away any time soon.
I know this is a difficult notion for a lot of people. And some people don’t even believe in the virus. I get it. But that still doesn’t change the state of the world.
So make your own happy place. For me that meant being able to enjoy my beautiful yard and patio. I always feel calmer outside and I wanted to create a space for me and my family so that we could feel at ease and enjoy each other’s company.
Even my husband has said, “I appreciate the space you’ve created.”
Our home is our safe place. Sanctuary looks different for everyone. I strongly recommend figuring out what speaks to you and allows you to feel respite and then creating that space for yourself.
Most of the time we are our own worst enemies. Often beating ourselves up for not being the kind of parent we thought we’d be, or not doing that workout that we had planned to do, or just plain old feeling worthless because we were tired today.
Stop it. It’s not necessary. We live in a society of extremes. Everything is taken to the “nth” degree. And it’s absolutely ridiculous. I often find myself in the same cycle of wanting to accomplish so much in such a small amount of time and then feeling worthless for not completing the goal I had in my head. It’s anxiety inducing.
And then I think “what kind of example am I setting for our girls?” To place self worth on how many aprons I sewed today? On whether or not I did that workout?
Each day is a new opportunity to be at peace with yourself. Moving forward I am going to stop placing deadlines on myself. I want to enjoy each day and not worry about what I accomplish and when. I will get there. We will all get there. But we should enjoy the journey and not stress about the end goal.
It has been a chaotic 6 months during a global pandemic.
And many people are looking for the answer to the above question.
I’m not sure there is an answer. But I know the answer for myself and my family is to take it a day at a time. We can’t change the world around us. But we can control how we react. I’m tired of feeling mad or frustrated and I’m even tired of feeling exhausted. Because I work as nurse in a bustling family practice coronavirus is a part of my every day life.
I’m over it like everyone else. But I stay vigilant about guidelines and precautions because that is the right thing to do. I’m finding ways to clear my head and ground myself. My home has become my sanctuary. Gardening has become a passion and sewing helps me clear my head. Simplicity is what makes things feel “normal.” We are all seeing a new normal. In a few short weeks our girls will be going to school in a hybrid format, 2 days a week in person and 3 days at home. They’ll wear masks and face shields and sit 6 feet apart from their friends.
So where DO we go from here???
I say we go forward. One step at a time. Side by side with our loved ones. Finding our peace. Protecting each other.
A close friend once told me “just protect your net” meaning I can’t change the things around me but I can protect my family. (We’re a hockey family if you couldn’t tell)