30 Apr
2020
Focus on the Good

Parenting Advice (part of the ‘School from Home’ initiative coordinated by the PSHE Department)

I thought long and hard about what would be an appropriate topic to write about in the ‘Parenting Advice’ section of the Weekly Bulletin. After tapping into my personal self-isolation experience and talking with parents from the Avenor community, it became clear to me that, in the avalanche of pandemic-related aspects that range outside of our area of control, there is one aspect of paramount importance that we can control: how we relate to all of it and assign meaning to it.

I am not pleading for an overly motivational speech, because I am aware that this type of approach does, indeed, put pressure on all of us to ‘be alright’, ‘think positive’ and ‘smile and carry on’. What I am pleading for is authenticity and resilience, because they will be our allies in going through this period of change.

After the pandemic is over, we won’t go back to how things were before, because we will not be the same people. Every day of self-isolation and restriction teaches you, as parents, things that you did not know you knew before all of this. The remark of one mum comes to my mind. She said that it’s quite funny that before the pandemic had started she considered herself extremely busy and now in full self-isolation and juggling roles, (personal, professional and family), she can’t help but laugh at her previous statement.

So, one thing that you as parents are learning every day, (in a boot-camp style, I would say), is that you do juggle jobs, parenting, schooling, household chores, your couple relationship, and your personal arrangements. But this comes with a huge effort, moments of meltdown and feelings of helplessness.

‘Where’s the good in all this?’ you might ask. Focusing on the good in this case can simply mean admitting to yourself and your loved ones that this is not an ordinary situation and therefore the solutions are nothing close to ordinary. So, putting in more effort is natural. Meltdowns are inherent and help you release some pressure from all of the effort made. Helplessness, although uncomfortable as it may be, let’s you know that you are human, and this human who is used to achieving has the right to feel helpless when, suddenly, achieving stops being the norm and becomes something ‘nice to have’.

I thought of some specific suggestions that might help you, parents, to focus on the good:

–    Take a moment each day, (it can be when you’re in the shower or right before you go to bed), and acknowledge at least one small victory of the day. It can range from ‘my daughter had only 3 tantrums instead of 5’ to ‘I managed to do some personal grooming without having my kids glued to the bathroom door’.

–     Look outside and let it heal you a bit. Irrespective of whether you live in a flat or a house, make a habit out of ‘relating to nature outside’. This might mean opening the window and enjoying the spring breeze on your face, taking video conferences in the garden or having a short stretching session outside.

–       Keep your healthy routines – movement, eating and sleeping. There might be days when you just do not feel like doing any sport and all you can think of is a plate full of pancakes, but try to make these days exceptions, not rules. Maintaining your routines will help you explain the new routines to your children as well and will boost your energy levels. Oh, and remember one thing: if you skip sleep constantly, everything you do will seem harder than usual.

As a firm believer in the motto ‘less is more’, I will resume to only three suggestions that will hopefully feel real enough for you to put into practice, if you are not doing this already. Until next time, stay safe and stay sane. 🙂

Ioana Botez

PSHE Curriculum Leader


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